NORMAL GROWTH IN BREASTFED INFANT

Appropriate growth in a breast-fed infant is comparable to appropriate growth in a bottle-fed infant. An infant who gains steadily is usually not of concern. However, a normal breast-fed infant may lose 5% to 8% of birth weight in the first few days of life and not begin to gain until the fifth to the seventh day, with birth weight being regained at 10 to 14 days. If weight gain is evaluated from the point of regaining birth weight, the curve is a steady one, with a total gain of two pounds in the next four weeks. Infants fed formula often lose only 1% to 2% of body weight and regain birth weight by the first week. A breast-fed infant whose mother is a primipara may lose more weight because the volume of milk does not increase until the fourth day post partum whereas a multipara's milk comes in sooner (in inverse relation to her multiparity).

Ideally, the breast-fed infant gains two pounds per month in the first three months, one pound per month in the second three months, and one-half pound per month for the next six months. The birth weight is doubled at four to five months and tripled at one year. Some available growth curves are based on formula-fed infants, a group that includes a greater number of obese infants.

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