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Why Do New Born Babies Lose Weight?

Your baby was born fluffy and weighed 3 and a half kgs. You obviously felt maternal pride looking at your chubby little newborn. But suddenly, your baby undergoes weight loss! It is natural for any mother to be alarmed if her new born baby loses weight. But you can be assured as weight loss of a newborn baby within 48 hours of birth is normal.

How Much Weight Has Your Baby Lost?

A baby can lose 5 to 7 per cent of its birth weight in first 48 hours of birth. If the mother was put on a lot of intravenous fluids or if it is a premature delivery, the new born baby's weight may go down by 10 per cent. If the baby loses more weight than this, either he/she is sick or is not being breastfed properly.

Why Does A New Born Baby Lose Weight?

1. The Strain Of Labour: The baby needs to be 'padded up' to survive the added strain of the labour. Most new born babies have that extra fat covering to help them push through a difficult labour period.

2. Water Weight: Most pregnant women have increased water weight. During pregnancy, water retention in the body may increase due to several hormonal changes. As the baby is floating in the amniotic fluid which is literally 'water', this extra water filters into the baby's body too. This excess water is let out immediately after birth from the new born's body.

3. Intravenous Fluids: Often, the expectant mother is put on intravenous fluids to induce labour pains. This extra water too results in increased water weight for the neonatal baby.

4. Reserve Fats: A new born baby has weight reserves to sustain it for at least 3 days. This is because the mother's milk does not obtain its fatty nutritious composition from the very first day. For the first 48 hours after birth, the mother secretes colostrum, a yellowish fluid that is mainly an immunity food. So, the baby uses up its fat reserves for the first 2 days as it gets no nutrition from the mother's milk. This results in weight loss for the baby as it is only using up stored fats and not gaining any further nutrition.

5. Wrong Feeding Procedure: If the baby has weight loss that exceeds the given limits, then maybe you are not feeding the baby in the correct way. Babies often swallow lots of air while feeding. This fills their stomach quickly leading them to get very little nutrition. Also, many lazy little babies, especially caesarean babies, fall asleep while feeding. This will limit the nutrition supplement. You have to ask an expert to show you the right way to breastfeed and also, wake up the little one if he/she sleeps during feeding time.

A new born baby can lose weight but make sure it is within the acceptable limits. Share your experiences of neonatal weight loss in infants with us.

Story first published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 14:26 [IST]
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