Here are the facts! Weight loss in the first three days is NORMAL! Actually, weight loss of up to 10% is expected.
Most mothers’ confidence drops when they see weight loss. Thoughts such as; “not feeding my baby enough” or “just doing something wrong” creep in. It can be a shock!
Knowing what to expect is your first step over this hurdle.
Why Does Your Baby Lose Weight?
Well, it is because of two reasons and they are linked. I’ve explained below:
The first reason your baby loses weight is – You need to time to make milk.
Let me explain, you have colostrum (your first milk) in your breasts from 16 weeks of pregnancy. This is amazing super food for your baby!
Colostrum comes in small amounts, about a teaspoon per feed! It’s role is to protect your baby rather than fill your baby up to put on weight. So your baby is more inclined to lose weight.
But hang tight! Your milk will come in around day 3! This ties in perfectly with your baby and the next point!
The second reason is linked to the first! Your baby and your body are super smart! Let me explain, your baby prepares for the small amount of colostrum by putting on extra fat towards the end of your pregnancy. Especially around their shoulders.
This is called brown fat and is an excellent energy source. Your baby will break down this fat and use it for energy. So your baby WILL lose weight due to this fat break down process. AWESOME!
But don’t worry, as you breastfeed your baby will put the weight back on! So let’s head to The plan to get your baby’s weight back on track!
Helping Your Baby Put Weight Back On
Your baby will put this first weight loss back on in approximately 2 weeks. Or, if your baby has lost more than 10% of weight by day 3 it may take 3 weeks to get back to birth weight! (Check out my blog – Baby Lost More Than 10% Of Their Weight? – What To Do).
So whether your baby has lost up to 10% or over 10%, this list of steps will do the trick!
Step #1 – Wake your baby
This may seem silly and you may have heard the phrase, “don’t wake a sleeping baby!” But I am saying wake your baby!
You see, a baby under 6 weeks can get very tired and sleep for long periods of time. Anything over 4 hours you need to think about waking your baby. They need food often to use as energy which helps them wake up!
So wake your baby to breastfeed every 3 hours during the day and 4 hourly at night. If your baby is waking sooner that is fine, just breastfeed as soon as they wake.
You can reassess the waking when your baby is putting on weight. It may be up to a week or just a few days of waking. If you are unsure just give me a call.
Step #2 – Check your latch
Next up is latching. If your baby is latched well then they will get the maximum amount of milk with little energy. So check your latch is right with the three points below:
- Assess pain – you may feel pain for the first minute of the latch. Then the pain should subside. You will feel a tugging or pulling.
- Your baby sucks with lots of power and keeps going in a rhythmical manner. You will see their jaw drop down and see movement at their temple.
- When your baby comes off your nipple is round rather than squished to a point or flat on one side.
If you can tick off these three points then you have a great latch! If you are not sure head on over to my blog 7 Steps to Latching Success – this is a step by step guide to latching!
Step #3 – Hand expressing
Over the first week your baby is learning how to suck AND you are learning a new skill. This means latching is not always going to work and your baby will take less milk.
So while your baby is learning my advice is to hand express after EVERY breastfeed during the day.
Don’t worry about the amount. Most mothers hand express small amounts such as 0.1ml or nothing. Just keep hand expressing, this will tell your breasts to make more milk. You can check out my video on hand expressing to get hooked up!
So practice hand expressing as often as you like and you can give your expressed breastmilk to your baby as a little extra.
DONE! These first steps will get you over the initial weight loss and put the power back in your hands!
If you are past this initial weight loss and now have slow weight gain, DON’T PANIC! Head over to my blog on Slow Weight Gain.
Alternatively give me a call and we can delve into your world and create the RIGHT plan for you and your new Bub!