Slow or Poor Infant Weight Gain

It is necessary for a newborn to gain weight in the initial few months. Adequate weight gain is one of the signs of good health. But some babies may not attain the correct weight for their age. Slow or poor infant weight gain could be due to multiple reasons. Dont be stressed if your baby is not gaining the required weight. Let us learn what the reason for slow weight gain is and how it can be improved.

Last Updated: 23 October 2020

Slow or Poor Infant Weight Gain
Slow or Poor Infant Weight Gain
Determining slow or poor infant weight gain

The average weight of a full term newborn is 2.6 to 3.8 kg. It is normal for a newborn to lose weight initially and then regain the weight naturally. Every baby has a unique growth pattern. Some babies may reach correct height and weight according to their age. While some infant may grow at a slower rate when compared with other infants of the same age and sex.

Babies who are gaining weight slowly may be healthy but the poor weight gain may be due to their growth pattern or any other unidentified factors. To find the reasons for slow weight gain, you and your baby should be checked by a physician and a certified lactation consultant.

Causes of poor weight gain

Here are few causes if an infant faces poor weight gain issue.
If the mother followed poor nutritional pattern during pregnancy, a baby may be born with low birthweight
If the baby is born premature, he may not be able to eat well
If the child has any digestive system disorders, he may not eat properly and digest the food
If a child has any infection, illness or problem with metabolism
Lactose intolerance, means a child cannot digest the lactose in milk  

"Natural" slow gainer Vs slow-weight-gain problem

There are few differences between a baby who gains weight slowly and a baby who has a problem with weight gain. It’s important to learn the differences.

A baby who is a "natural" slow gainer still gains weight steadily, though slowly:

·         Stays on a particular growth curve

·         Maintain optimum height and head circumference

·         Physically active and alert

·         Follows a normal breastfeeding pattern (8 to 12 times in a day)

·         Frequencies of urination is as normal as a faster-growing baby


Infants who have poor weight gain problem has the following features:

·         Doesn't gain at least a half-ounce (15 g) a day by the fourth or fifth day after birth

·         Unable to regain birth weight by 2 to 3 weeks after birth

·         Failure to gain at least 1 pound (454 g) a month for the first 4 months (from lowest weight after birth vs. birth weight)

·         Has a dramatic drop in growth rate (in terms of weight, length, or head circumference) from his or her previous growth curve


How I can increase my baby’s weight?

1. Breastfeeding: Make sure your baby is able to latch well and get adequate milk. Feed more often. Increase your nursing sessions (8 to 10 minutes on each side). If you have a low milk supply, you can increase the production with right diet. Also use breast massage and breast compression techniques.

2. If your baby is less than six months, do not give any solid foods, as this has fewer nutrients than breast milk.

3. If breast milk is not sufficient, you can start formula diets (after consulting a paediatrician).

4. After six months, you can start solid foods. Observe the swallowing pattern and take care of food allergies.

5. Give the right amount of protein and carbohydrates.

6. Spend the required amount of time to feed your child.


Every child may follow a distinct eating pattern. Parents and healthcare providers may help the infants gain the optimum weight for their age.






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