“You need to bring your baby back for a weight check in a couple days.” Those are words I never wanted to hear! However, infant weight checks are WAY more common than you may think. Here is our experience with weight checks, why they happen, and why it does not make you a bad mom!
Weight Checks are Common
I am by no means a doctor, so I obviously can only go off of my personal experience. However, when your baby is born, you are expected to have them gain a certain amount of weight each week. Generally, babies are expected to gain 5-8 ounces a week after they are born.
It is super normal for babies to lose weight during the days after they are born. They can lose 7-10% of their birth weight as long as they gain it back within those first couple weeks. However, if you go to your doctor for the first visit and your baby has lost more than that 10% or has not gained any weight since your hospital weigh in, they might ask you to come back for a weight check.
I will tell you right now, it will immediately make you feel like you are a failure as a mother. Trust me when I say YOU ARE AMAZING. You literally just created a human, birthed it, and are now keeping it alive off of sleep deprivation and limited sanity. All the same, it still makes you feel as if you are doing something wrong.
I happened to have this experience with both of my daughters. Funny enough, they were both huge newborns. The first was 9.5 pounds and the second was almost 9 pounds. Both my daughter had an initial drop in weight, and that we even with formula feeding. So, all I could wonder is “Where am I going wrong??”
Weight Checks are Common
While it is hard to rationalize this when you just had a baby, please just keep in mind that your doctor is just trying to look out for your baby, and if they are really amazing, they are looking out for you. It is very common for moms to think they are giving their babies enough milk through breastfeeding, but in reality, their baby is getting very little. Their latch could be bad, supply could be low, etc. Also, some babies are lazy eaters, and if you are new to all of this, you might not realize how to encourage your baby to eat.
So again, do not take it as a personal attack! Your pediatrician is there to guide you to whatever is best for you baby. With that being said, there can be some very TACTLESS pediatricians. Please do not settle on a doctor because it is who you saw first. We immediately changed our pediatrician with our second daughter after the way the doctor spoke to me. You don’t deserve to feel belittled. It is usually pretty clear when the doctor is asking probing questions out of concern vs. judgment. Our pediatrician with our first baby was absolutely amazing and made me feel so much better about the situation.
As I said before, both my daughters were bottle fed. I was pumping and knew the exact amounts they were getting. We also ended up supplementing with formula to ensure they were getting enough. I know this is a very personal decision, but my mind state at the time felt like giving formula was worth it if I knew my baby was not hungry.
My first daughter was just a lazy eater. We wound out that we had to get her naked, rub diaper wipes on her, and really wake her up before we fed her. Otherwise, she would sleep through every feeding. We did this for a few days and by the time we went to our weight check appointment, she had gained more than expected. We never had to go back for another one and learned something new as parents! However, our second was a disaster…
Weight Checks for Months
When our second daughter was asked to come in for weight checks, we were not overly concerned. We assumed we just needed to work a little harder on getting her to eat and it would be fine. WRONG. The child was a horrible eater. She essentially would eat what she wanted and refuse anymore.
We were instructed to feed her every 1.5 to 2 hours. This is super hard, especially in the middle of the night. Also, it is even harder when the baby is sleeping longer stretches. You are so sleep deprived you don’t want to wake them up. We still did it though, and really thought we were doing a great job.
We went back the next week and she had gained around 2-3 ounces. Not horrible, but not great. So, we were instructed to come back again in a few days. Again, she gained very minimal weight. At this appointment they suggested a formula change. We tried a version that worked well on our oldest daughter, and it did not seem to make a huge difference.
We also found that if we went over a certain amount of ounces, she would throw it all up. This is extremely frustrating after you just worked so hard to feed your baby, and then they throw it all up. So, it was always a balancing act of giving her “just the right amount”. Yet, when we went back for the check, she was still barely gaining weight.
After about a month of weekly weight checks, the doctor began discussing next steps. She was concerned there could be a medical issue and began discussing testing to ensure her bowels were working properly.
The only odd part is that she displayed zero signs of discomfort, fusiness, being hungry, sick, etc. She was perfectly happy and content. My oldest daughter who was also a huge baby ended up being pretty small and petite. She was always in the bottom percentiles. So, our pediatrician did keep that in mind.
We also discussed the spitting up further. We came to the conclusion that she might actually have something called “silent reflux”. It is essentially where milk bubbles up enough in their throat to be uncomfortable, but not enough for them to actually spit up constantly. It made sense why she would eat so little and want to stop.
Our pediatrician ended up prescribing a reflux medicine and also recommended a formula change again. We moved over to our formula with “added rice starch”. Essentially, it is a formula with a much thicker consistency so it settles better in their stomach. We did have to buy a formula mixer that mixed it really well and made it easier to pour. Highly recommend it and have it linked here or you can visit our product page!
Would you believe it? It actually began working. After a month of doing this, we began to see much steadier weight gains. They were not huge, but again, Logan was still thriving. She was hitting every other milestone. The pediatrician began to lean on the side of “that is just her genetic make-up” versus her having a medical issue.
Logan is now a thriving 1.5 year old. She is still an itty bitty little thing. We constantly get comments on how light she is. However, she eats more food than her toddler sister half the time!
Weight checks are super scary, frustrating, and punch in the stomach. You feel like you should be able to feed your baby, and sometimes, it just is not that easy. I will say, it does get better. I also want to tell you to trust your gut. If you feel like something is wrong, make sure to speak up! We never felt like something was actually wrong with her, but we obviously would have done whatever our pediatrician recommended.
I hope that if anything, this post brings some momma a little bit of peace. Infant weight checks are common. You are doing a fantastic job and just know that everyone has your baby’s best interest at heart.