How often should you weigh your baby?
Is your baby too thin or a little more on the chunky side? To know for sure if her weight is in the healthy zone for her age, you should weigh your baby regularly
"Why is your baby is so skinny? Are you giving her enough milk?"
"Wow! Your baby is so chubby! I think you are over-feeding her"
We've all heard these comments before from well-meaning family members and friends, and as parents we will naturally worry about our little one's health and development.
But when you hear others commenting about your baby's weight, it can sometimes make you feel even more concerned and you may start to question whether you are feeding your bub too little or too much.
However, your baby's growth cannot be determined simply by physical appearances alone, so a more accurate gauge would be to regularly weigh your baby, as this will allow you to make note whether she is growing as expected.
But just how often should you weigh her and how exactly can you do it accurately?
How much should a baby weigh?
The Department of Neonatal & Developmental Medicine of the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) says that most healthy newborns weigh around 2.5kg to 4.5kg, and a low birth rate is anything less than 1.5kg.
According to KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), this is the rough guideline for your little one's normal growth according to average weight:
3 months - 5.5kg
6 months - 7.5kg
9 months - 9.0kg
12 months - 9.5kg
3 months - 7.5kg
6 months - 7.5kg
9 months - 9.5kg
12 months - 10.5kg
How often should you weigh your baby?
Don't add unnecessary stress to yourself by getting obsessed with weighing your little one every single day.
A tiny baby's weight may fluctuate daily due to how much milk she's had right before the weigh-in, or even how much she's pooped!
You should only have her weighed at certain times according to her age:
- Two weeks to six months - Only once a month
- Six months to 12 months - Once every two months
- Over 12 months - Once every three months
Your baby's doctor will be weighing her at each scheduled visit anyway, so you don't really have to worry too much about keeping track of her growth by weighing her every morning.
3 ways to weigh your baby
If you want to know just how well your little one is growing, there are three easy ways for you to determine her weight:
Schedule a visit at the clinic
Singaporean babies are required to get vaccinated and go for regular health check-ups at a family clinic, polyclinic or a paediatric clinic -- so when you are there, your baby will get measured and weighed to keep track of her growth.
If you are not scheduled for a visit but would like to find out your baby's weight for that month, you can give the clinic a call to schedule an appointment, or some places will provide the service for free.
Pros: Very accurate; Can be done free of charge at most clinics.
Cons: Hassle of scheduling an appointment and having to travel all the way down to the clinic.
Get a baby scale
You've seen the fancy looking baby scale at the clinic and have probably wondered if you can get your hands on one to keep at home so you can weigh your little one as and when you want.
Well, you'll be happy to know that it is possible to buy a baby scale for personal use and this method of weighing your baby is probably the most convenient one of all!
Pros: Very accurate; Convenient for you and your baby.
Cons: Expensive investment; Bulky item which takes up space at home.
Use your own weighing scale
You probably already have a weighing scale at home anyway, so this is quite a convenient (and cost-efficient) way to weigh your baby.
You simply have to weigh yourself first, take note of the weight (for example, it is 60kg), then weigh yourself once again while carrying your baby as well (you might get something like 65kg) and the excess weight (in this case, it is 5kg) is how much your little one weighs.
Pros: Free or cheap method; Your baby is less likely to fuss while being weighed since she is happily in your arms.
Cons: Not 100% accurate.
Is a heavy baby a healthy baby?
Most babies born in Singapore weigh around 2.8kg to 3.5kg and any neonate weighing more than 4kg at birth is considered as large.
Dr Christopher Chong, who owns Chris Chong Women and Urogynae Clinic at Gleneagles Hospital, says that the weight of newborn babies in Singapore has increased by nearly 13 per cent compared to that of newborns 15 to 20 years ago.
"Women have better food, nutrition and supplements, so their babies tend to be larger", he explains.
But experts warn that if your baby is too heavy, this might delay crawling and walking, and even though a large baby may not necessarily become an overweight child, a child who is obese has a higher chance of growing up to be an obese adult.
On the other hand, according to SGH, having an underweight baby who had a low birth might also pose a lifetime of health challenges as they are generally more prone to diseases such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease as adults.
It's no wonder parents get so anxious about their baby's weight -- being too heavy can lead to obesity and developmental delays, but being too light might spell other serious health issues!
Don't worry too much about weight
Dr Jay Gordon, MD FAAP from the UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the medical consultant for CBS TV, reassures parents that as long as your baby is nursing, peeing clear urine and wetting her diapers well in the first weeks of life, she will probably turn out fine.
His advice to parents is to go through this checklist:
- Is your baby eager to nurse?
- Is she peeing and pooping well?
- Is her urine either clear or very pale yellow?
- Are your bub’s eyes bright and alert?
- Is her skin a healthy colour and texture?
- Is your baby moving her arms and legs vigorously?
- Are her fingernails and toenails growing?
- Is she meeting her developmental milestones?
- Is your baby generally happy and playful?
- When your baby is awake does she have periods of being very alert?
If you have answered yes to the above questions, you should also ask yourself: How tall is mum and how tall is dad?
Besides comparing your baby to the average weight according to the growth chart, you also have to consider a range of factors which will affect her growth, such as height, bone structure, ethnicity, duration of her gestation period, genetics, whether she drinks formula or breast milk, and more.
"I cannot recall seeing a baby for whom slow weight gain in the first 2 to 6 weeks was the only sign of a problem. Older babies, 2 to 12 months of age, grow at varying rates. Weight gain should not be used as a major criterion of good health", he says.
Dr Gordon adds that your baby's developmental milestones and interaction with you and others are more important than her weight.
But if you do have any concerns about your little one's growth and development or other health issues, remember to always seek professional medical advice.
Which method do you use to weigh your baby? Do you think that it's better to have a heavier baby? Tell us by leaving a comment below.