Abnormal Baby Weight Gain

by Candice Coleman

    Most infants will follow a predictable pattern of growth after birth, though this growth rate may be faster or slower in some children. A pediatrician can advise worried parents on whether or not a child's weight gain is appropriate. Parents can also do plenty to keep a child from gaining or losing too much weight.

    While you may worry that your baby is putting on too much weight, your infant's weight gain may be a part of normal development, according to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. During the first three months of your baby's life, he should gain between 4 and 6 pounds, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Some children may grow faster or slower than this average, and a pediatrician can determine whether or not your child's weight gain is abnormal. From months 4 to 7, your bouncing baby should gain an additional 4 to 5 pounds. By baby's first birthday, he will likely triple his birth weight. Weight gain slows throughout the child's first year of life, and especially after your baby discovers how to crawl and walk.

    While some infants may gain too much weight too quickly, other babies may not gain weight quickly enough. Failure to thrive may describe babies who do not double their weight by 4 months or triple it by a year, according to KidsHealth. After three consecutive months of little to no weight gain, a pediatrician may administer tests and ask parents about the child's food intake. Medical problems, poverty, trouble absorbing milk proteins and other factors may play a role in a child's stunted weight gain. Doctors may suggest medications, diet changes or surgery to correct problems causing failure to thrive.

    If you feel that your baby has gained too much weight, a pediatrician can confirm your suspicions through the use of growth charts. Babies may gain too much weight because they have not yet learned to walk or crawl, or because feedings are too frequent. Breastfed infants are less likely to become overweight or obese than infants who drink formula, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A pediatrician can provide you with a feeding schedule and the amounts to feed your child. Parents should never attempt to restrict a baby's calorie intake without a doctor's input.

    Thyroid problems could cause excessive weight gain or abnormally low weight gain in infants, according to KidsHealth. About one in 4,000 people is born with hypothyroidism, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Infants with thyroid problems may have dry or brittle skin and hair, as well as constipation. Infants diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which may cause a child to easily gain weight, may need to take medications to solve the problem. Babies who have hyperthyroidism may also need to take medication if they have problems gaining weight, according to KidsHealth.

    About the Author

    Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

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