Causes Of Excessive Weight Loss In Newborns

Causes of Excessive Weight Loss in Newborns

Did you know that the newborns can lose up to 10% of their body weight during the first week itself? According to a study, babies start gaining 1 ounce every day after the first week. Well-nourished newborns usually reach the weight at birth or more within two weeks. However, many young infants suffer from weight loss which can be caused by a number of conditions including acute infection, feeding issues, milk protein allergy, and so on.


Causes of Excessive Weight Loss in Newborns

You should immediately visit the doctor in case of excessive weight loss since weight loss in newborns can be caused by a number of critical conditions such as volvulus, congenital heart, etc. While weight loss in newborns is more likely to happen because of lack of components such as water, fats, carbohydrates, or protein, significant weight loss is often caused by acute illnesses including fluid losses, gastroenteritis, etc. Severe dehydration can also lead to significant weight loss. Here are some of the top reasons that are responsible for causing weight loss in newborns.

Causes of Excessive Weight Loss in Newborns

Top Reasons for Weight Loss in Newborns

As discussed earlier, newborns can lose weight because of multiple reasons. Here are some of the top reasons that you must know:

  • Lack of Sufficient Breastfeeding: Ideally newborns must be fed at an interval of 2-3 hours. This ensures the supply of healthy milk to your baby. Since breast milk helps your baby to gain the essential nutrients and therefore weight, lack of it can cause weight loss.
  • Wrong Latch: You also need to pay attention to whether your baby is latching correctly or not. While breastfeeding, you must be able to keep your baby in a comfortable position. This will help him or her to draw a sufficient amount of milk consistently. Failure to do this might result in weight loss. Latching issues often happen with mothers suffering from flat nipples or large nipples. If you have such conditions, your baby might be struggling a lot to latch on to your breast properly. Since a good latch is essential for getting an adequate amount of milk, you need to ensure that your baby is able to latch.
  • Nipple Shield: If you are using a nipple shield, you need to use it correctly. When not used properly, a nipple shield can prevent your baby from getting a sufficient amount of breast milk. That’s why you need to use the nipple shield under the supervision of a lactation consultant unless you ace it.
  • Sleepy Baby: Sleepy newborns need to be fed at an interval of 2-3 hours. While it can be a daunting task to wake up your sleeping baby and breastfeeding him or her, you must ensure that your baby is getting a sufficient amount of breast milk throughout the day.
  • Difficulty in Milk Production: Mothers often go through difficult birth or an enormous amount of stress while giving birth to the child. Delayed milk production is often caused by one of these reasons. Even a retained placenta can also result in difficulties in milk production. This is why you need to gain an understanding of whether your breasts are filling up with milk or not. If not, your baby will not be gaining weight.
  • Low Milk Supply: Low milk supply is often caused by different physical or hormonal reasons like PCOS, hypothyroidism, PCOS, etc. It also happens in those who have already had breast surgery. If your breasts are not filling with milk even after the fourth day of giving birth to the baby, you need to consult a doctor.

What Can You Do to Prevent Weight Loss in Newborns?

Starting breastfeeding at the right time is the key to preventing weight loss in newborn babies. You must master the art of identifying any issues that are preventing your baby from getting the right amount of nutrition from breast milk. If your baby is still losing weight despite your efforts, here is what you can do to prevent excessive weight loss:

  • Evaluate Latch: While it might not appear to you, a trained professional including a doctor or nurse will be able to tell you if your baby is latching correctly or not.
  • Identify Hormonal Issues: It is best to consult a doctor to know more about whether you are suffering from physical or hormonal issues which might be responsible for the reduced amount of breast milk supply.
  • Medical Checkup for the Baby: Once your baby starts losing weight, visit the doctor as soon as possible. A child specialist will be able to recognize if your baby is suffering from any infections or newborn issues.
  • Track Bowel Movements: To track the weight loss of your baby, you must keep an eye on the number of wet diapers and bowel movements as well.
  • Longer Breastfeeding: If your baby continues to lose weight consistently, you should run each breastfeeding session a little longer.
  • Address Low Breast Milk Supply Issues: If you are getting a low supply of breast milk, try to use a pump to increase it. You can also talk to your doctor regarding the foods that you can consume to maintain a healthy breast milk supply.
  • Supplements: Depending on the health of your baby, your doctor might be prescribing a few supplements to be fed along with breastfeeding. This often helps in helping the baby gain weight.
  • Nursing Supplementary: Resort to nursing supplementary to understand if your baby is receiving a sufficient amount of milk or not.
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Dr. John Augustine received his BA from Harvard College magna cum laude in 1987 and his Ph.D. and MD degrees from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1992 and 1993. He was then an intern and resident in Internal Medicine at the Yale-New Haven Hospital from 1993-1995. From 1995-1998, John was a clinical associate at the National Cancer Institute. He joined the faculty of the Duke University Medical Center in 2008 as Chief of Rheumatology at the Durham VA Hospital, a position he held until the end of 2017. He served as Chief of Rheumatology and Immunology at Duke from 2003-2008. He has conducted basic and translational research in the field of autoimmunity. He was focusing on the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and the immunological properties of nuclear macromolecules, including DNA. More recently, he has investigated the immune activities of HMGB1, a nuclear protein with alarmin activity, as well as microparticles. These studies have provided new insights into the translocation of atomic molecules during cell activation and cell death and the mechanisms by which cell death can influence innate immunity.


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