Helping your baby steadily pack on the pounds during her first year of life can be tricky. Here’s what to know about your baby’s weight gain, how to make sure she’s meeting doctor recommendations for food and weight in the appropriate month ranges, and how to keep her healthy and satisfied in the process.
Newborn (1 to 4 Weeks Old)
Right now your baby is more delicate than ever. According to Michelle LaRowe, author of Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists, don’t be too concerned if Baby loses a few ounces just after birth — most babies do. A healthy baby regains his birth weight within 10-12 days.
Baby Should Eat:breast milk or formula. Consult your doctor if Baby seems to have allergic or sensitive reactions because it might be a result of something you are eating or the type of formula you are using.
1 Month Old
Baby Should Eat:breast milk or formula.Feeding times will be unpredictable and it’s impossible to determine how much milk breastfed babies consume at each feeding. Babies at this age should be fed eight to 12 times a day or about every two to three hours.
2 Months Old
Baby should be steadily gaining weight each week. If you’re concerned, meet with a lactation consultant or your pediatrician to find out how to help make sure Baby is eating enough. In some cases, babies may not be suckling correctly, or you may not be giving enough milk, according to Michelle LaRowe, a professional nanny and author of Nanny to the Rescue.
Baby Should Eat:breast milk or formula. Don’t attempt to introduce solid baby food until he is at least 4 months, and preferably 6 months. Doing so too soon can cause digestive problems for your child, says Dr. Joanna Dolgoff, a childhood obesity specialist.
3 months old
At this stage, your baby will start to move away from a steady gain of about 6 ounces per week to a little less than 4 ounces. This means that she will gain roughly 2 pounds this month, and every month following until seven months old.
Baby Should Eat: breast milk or formula . Feeding frequency will decrease to between five and eight times a day, with breastfed babies likely eating more often than those who are formula fed. Your baby will probably still also be waking at night for feedings, but not quite as often.
4 months old
Toward the end of this month some babies may start showing signs that they are almost ready for solids. Some indicators are: He can hold his head up steady, he can sit while supported, and he’s showing an interest in what you are eating. The transition from liquid to solids is a delicate one, so don’t force Baby to eat if he isn’t ready.
Baby Should Eat:breast milk or formula . The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, so try to hold off on solids for now, unless your baby is showing signs of not being satisfied with his liquid diet. If that’s the case, consult your pediatrician.
5 Months Old
Baby should double her newborn weight by this month. Ask your doctor what height and weight percentile she’s in at her checkup to make sure she’s on track. If Baby is at risk for being underweight, find out what you can do to help her gain more.
Baby Should Eat:breast milk or formula , and solids for some infants. If your pediatrician agrees that it’s time, go for it. There are no strict rules about which foods to start with, as long as it’s a puree or infant cereal thinned to an almost liquid consistency with breast milk or formula (choose whole grain cereals over white rice). If Baby’s clearly not interested yet, wait a week and try again.
6 Months Old
Starting at 6 months, a baby will grow about half an inch a month and gain 3-5 ounces a week.
Baby Should Eat:breast milk or formula . plus solids. If you haven’t introduced them yet, now is the time. It’s best to wait about three days in between each new food Baby tries. If an allergic reaction occurs, it will be easier to identify the culprit. Diarrhea or rashes are indicators of food sensitivity. (Note that a baby often needs exposure to a food up to 10 times before she will acquire a taste for it.)
7 Months Old
Baby’s weight will steadily increase by 2 pounds a month. Consult your doctor if he gains less, or if he gains more than 6 pounds in a month, says Dr. Dolgoff.
Baby Should Eat:breast milk or formula try blended meat, vegetables, and fruits. If you make your own baby food, don’t be afraid to experiment with seasoning. He’s used to different flavors in your breast milk!
8 Months Old
Baby should be gaining additional weight to triple his birth weight by age 1.
Baby Should Eat:breast milk or formula chunkier purees, and some finger foods. Try scrambled eggs and small bite-size (about a half inch) cubes of well-done pasta, vegetables, meatballs, cheese, and ripe fruit.
9 Months Old
To maintain weight gain, feed your child a light snack between breakfast and lunch and again between lunch and dinner.
Baby Should Eat:breast milk or formula , chunkier purees, and lots of finger foods. Feel free to let her anything that’s on your plate as long as it’s not a choking hazard.
10 Months Old
Baby likely will be crawling all over your kitchen floor and may be trying to stand up and cruise with the aid of tables, chairs, or your leg. Crawling burns a lot of calories, so weight gain may start to slow a bit now.
Baby Should Eat: Finger foods he’s already comfortable with. Also try to introduce green vegetables, tougher fruits such as apples cut small dices and small noodles, Dr. Dolgoff says.Your baby is still drinking breast milk or formula at this stage.
11-12 Months Old
These two months hold the biggest rewards for all your hard work. By your baby’s first birthday, he will have tripled his birth weight will likely have tripled her birth weight and will soon take her first steps as she heads into toddlerhood!