We’ve all heard stories, some of us have even lived them. Your newborn has lost more than 10% of their birth weight, causing concern in hospital staff. The concern is that your milk production is not adequate and you are told to supplement with formula. As you can imagine, this can be a huge blow to any new mother, often leaving them to feel like failures.
The link between a baby’s weight loss in the few days and breastfeeding can be quite flawed. When a mother receives IV fluids during her labor and birth, it can cause a baby to be over-hydrated, increasing the newborn’s birth weight. In the first 24 hours after birth, a baby’s body is regulating their hydration levels, which may make it appear that the baby has lost too much weight.
“We should reconsider the practice of using birth weight as the baseline when calculating newborn weight loss in the first few days following birth. For mothers and their breastfed babies, accurate assessment of weight loss is important. Although more research is needed, based on our findings, we would recommend using weight measured at 24 hours post birth as a baseline.” -Prof Joy Noel-Weiss from the School of Nursing at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Health Sciences