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What's Wrong with Taking Baby's Birth Weight?

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Image of Baby Scales

Where do I begin with this one...aside from the fact that it's an unnecessary stress to the baby as soon as it comes out of the cosy womb, it also doesn't take into account factors that can inflate the weight, like fluids mother received in labour or maternal conditions like gestational diabetes. Even just waiting like 12 hours would be way more beneficial than straight as baby comes out, but then that wouldn't be conducive to the streamlined "get everything done all at once" birth machine.

One of my biggest issues though is that this potentially skewed number then becomes the single biggest marker, the determining factor, in how feeding will look just 3 days from that point. Say What????

Yup. Because in 3 days another weight will be taken and it will then be decided from that number, whether you will be "allowed" to continue exclusively putting your baby to the breast, or whether you will need to introduce a bottle of supplemental milk. Now from the perspective of many outsiders, introducing a bottle of expressed milk isn't that big a deal, but here's what generally happens at this point...

👉 parents lose confidence in their ability to breastfeed

👉 they struggle to express so introduce formula

👉 due to the aforementioned point, milk supply drops

👉 it can impact baby's latch and suck at the breast

👉 parents begin to lose sight of their baby and use quantifiable markers to judge things (in some cases obsessively)

Sometimes excessive daily or every other day weight checks can begin, further inducing anxiety in parents. In most cases, there will be NO ACTUAL FEEDING SUPPORT GIVEN! Feeds will not be observed to determine intake, alterations to increase intake without a bottle are rarely undertaken, and in some cases unnecessary unskilled information will be given that can be even more detrimental.

While I will consider the birth weight in my notes, I NEVER make a decision based slely on that. And I ALWAYS look at the full picture of how baby is feeding and whether other factors may have impacted weight and introduce elements to get intake up while still breastfeeding.


If you would like to hear more on this topic, you can listen to my interview with Helen Thompson at First Time Mum's Podcast Episode 123

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1 Comment

Helen Thompson
Helen Thompson
Jun 09, 2023

J'Nel it was great to speak with you on the First Time Mum's Chat podcast about this so important topic. I'm sure my audience will get some great insights to help them in their birthing journeys. Helen😀

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