Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Breastfeeding: Baby's Poor Weight Gain
Most infants lose up to 10% of their birth weight in the first week.
A baby's weight decreases from the normal loss of fluid, urine, and stool.
Babies also get few calories from early breastfeeding patterns. Their bodies
have special fat stores for this early time. Normally, feeding sessions in the
first few days, although frequent, are short. Feedings gradually get longer and
the baby gets more calorie-rich milk. After 2 weeks, most infants have gained
back the lost weight and continue to gain weight steadily.
Poor weight gain is when a baby:
Poor weight gain in an infant may be due to:
Typically, more frequent breastfeeding (every 1½ to 2 hours) usually
solves the problem. If it does not, ask your doctor or a lactation consultant
for help. Sometimes extra feedings with formula are recommended. Formula
feedings for breastfed infants are often given through a specially designed,
thin plastic tube (supplemental nursing system). The tube is placed next to the
nipple during breastfeeding. If supplementation is necessary, it is best to
use methods other than bottle-feeding. Also, pump your breasts several times a
day to help keep up and increase milk production.
A baby usually only needs to be hospitalized for poor weight gain if
he or she is severely undernourished, is dehydrated, or has other health
Other Works Consulted
Furman L, Schanler RJ (2012). Breastfeeding. In CA Gleason, SU Devaskar, eds., Avery's Diseases of the Newborn, 9th ed., pp. 937–951. Philadelphia: Saunders.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMay 30, 2016
Current as of:
May 30, 2016
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Send Us Your Feedback
North Kansas City Hospital