Newborn not gaining Weight: 15 Interesting Reasons!
Some newborns don’t follow the standard growth curve and end up with the failure to thrive as they should. This can be a cause for concern and mothers ask why newborn not gaining weight. But it’s not always a sign of something serious. There are a few things you can do to help your baby’s weight gain healthily:
- Not gaining enough calories
- Premature birth
- Congenital heart defect
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Metabolic disorders
- Kidney problems
- Genetic factors
- Maternal depression
- Birth defects
- Limited knowledge and resources about nutrition
- Medications and surgery
- Psychological disorders
In this article, we’ll discuss all the above mentioned reasons of why newborn not gaining weight in detail so mothers can get benefits!
It’s not unusual for a newborn’s weight gain to slow down after a rapid initial weight loss. By the end of the first week, most newborns have regained their birth weight. Baby weight gain often slows down during the second week.
- Newborns may lose up to 7% of their weight during the first few days after birth, but they should start gaining weight by day 5 or 6.
- During the second week, they typically gain around 4 ounces (113 grams) per day.
- By the end of the third week, they usually weigh at least 5 pounds (2.3 kg). Most babies double their birth weight by 3 to 4 months old.
A weight gain pattern that falls outside of these norms can be a sign that a baby isn’t getting enough milk or that there’s another problem.
Reasons for slow weight gain in newborns
There are different reasons for a newborn’s failure to thrive. They may fall both under the medical and social domains:
1. Not gaining enough calories
Calories are units of energy that we get from the food and drinks we consume. Our bodies need calories for many different functions, including:
- Fueling our metabolism
- Keeping our hearts beating
- Regulating our body temperature
- Helping our muscles work efficiently
Newborn babies need a lot of calories because they are growing and developing so rapidly. However, if they do not consume enough calories, they will not gain weight as quickly as they should. This can lead to a number of health problems, including:
- Slower growth rates
- Weakened immune systems
- Decreased muscle mass
It is therefore important for newborn babies to consume enough calories so that they can grow and develop properly and gain sufficient weight.
Illnesses can lead to gaining weight slowly in newborn babies for a number of reasons.
- First, illness can cause decreased appetite and poor nutrition, which can lead to slower weight gain.
- Second, illness can also lead to increased energy expenditure and higher metabolic rates, which can also contribute to slower weight gain.
- Finally, illness can also disrupt the body’s natural hormone balance, leading to slowed growth and development. All of these factors can contribute to slower weight gain in newborn babies who are ill.
3. Premature birth
Parents often dream of the day they will finally meet their newborn baby. But for those who experience a premature birth, this moment can be fraught with anxiety and uncertainty. Not only are premature babies at risk for a host of health problems, but they also tend to have difficulty to gain weight.
In fact, studies have shown that slow weight gain is one of the most common complications associated with premature birth. There are a number of reasons why premature babies may have trouble putting on weight.
- First, premature babies have smaller stomachs, so they can only consume small amounts of milk at each feeding. This is true for both breast milk and bottle feeding.
- Second, their immature digestive systems are not yet able to absorb all the nutrients from the milk they drink. This affects baby’s calorie intake and baby cannot gain enough weight.
- Third, they tend to burn more calories than full-term babies because their bodies have to work harder to maintain their body temperature and breathe.
- Fourth, they may have medical conditions that slow down their metabolism or interfere with their appetite.
4. Congenital heart defect
Congenital heart defects (CHD) are abnormalities of the heart that develop before birth. CHD can lead to a wide range of symptoms, including slow weight gain in newborn babies.
This is because the heart is not able to pump blood as efficiently as it should, which can result in a decrease in the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are delivered to the body. Babies with congenital heart defects often require special medical care and may need to be fed through a feeding tube or IV to ensure that they receive enough nutrition and attain healthy growth.
5. Gastrointestinal problems
Slow weight gain in newborn babies can be caused by many factors, one of which is gastrointestinal problems. Gastrointestinal problems can cause a decrease in the amount of nutrients and calories that are absorbed by the body, leading to slowing down of weight gain.
These problems can also cause vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and further weight loss. In some cases, gastrointestinal problems can be severe enough to require hospitalization. Certain food allergies and food intolerance can also cause problems.
6. Metabolic disorders
Metabolic disorders can lead to slow weight gain in newborn babies for a variety of reasons.
- One reason is that these disorders can cause problems with the way the body breaks down and uses nutrients from food. This can lead to malnutrition, even when a baby is getting enough calories because he is not absorbing calories properly.
- In addition, metabolic disorders can interfere with the body’s production of energy, making it difficult for a baby to maintain a normal growth rate.
- Lastly, these disorders can also cause problems with how the body stores fat, leading to slower weight gain.
7. Kidney problems
Kidney problems are a common cause of newborns not gaining weight. The kidneys play an important role in keeping the body’s fluids in balance and filtering out waste products. When they are not functioning properly, babies can become dehydrated and may not have enough fluid in their bodies to support normal growth. Additionally, kidney problems can cause problems with absorption of nutrients from the digestive system, further preventing your baby to gain weight.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can cause a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, and rashes. It can also lead to poor weight gain in newborn babies. When lupus is present at birth, it is known as neonatal lupus. Neonatal lupus is a rare condition that can occur when a mother with lupus passes the antibody to her child.
The exact mechanism by which lupus leads to slow weight gain is not fully understood, but it is thought that the autoimmune response may interfere with the baby’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Additionally, lupus may also cause inflammation of the gut, which can further impede nutrient absorption.
9. Genetic factors
Studies have found that some newborn babies are born with a genetic predisposition to slow weight gain. This means that their bodies are less efficient at converting food into energy, which can lead to slower growth and development. While this is not a health concern for most babies, it can be a problem for those who are born small or who have other medical conditions.
Poverty is one of the leading factors in preventable hospitalizations in the United States. One of the most common complications associated with poverty is slow weight gain in newborn babies.
- Poverty puts infants at a higher risk for malnutrition and poor health, which can lead to slower growth and development.
- Stress related to poverty can interfere with a mother’s ability to produce breast milk, further compromising an infant’s nutrition.
- Poverty also increases the likelihood of exposure to toxins and bacteria, which can lead to infection and illness.
As a result, poverty-related problems often have a cascading effect on infants’ health, resulting in slower weight gain and greater risk for disease.
11. Maternal depression
Mother’s depression is a common complication of pregnancy and can have a profound impact on the developing fetus. Studies have shown that maternal depression is associated with slower weight gain in newborn babies. Additionally, maternal depression has been linked to a number of other adverse outcomes, including preterm birth, low birth weight, and dysregulated cortisol levels in the newborn.
12. Birth defects
Birth defects are a leading cause of slow weight gain in newborn babies. The most common birth defects include heart defects, neural tube defects, and cleft lip or palate. These birth defects can cause problems with a baby’s ability to suck, swallow, and digest food, as well as impairing their ability to absorb nutrients from food. As a result, babies with birth defects often fail to thrive and may experience slow weight gain.
13. Limited knowledge and resources about nutrition
Many mothers lack the knowledge and resources to properly feed their infants, leading to slow weight gain and other health problems. According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, nearly one-third of all mothers are unsure of how often to feed their newborns and more than half do not know how much formula or breast milk their babies should be consuming.
In addition, many mothers are unaware of the importance of nutrition in the first few months of life, when a baby’s brain is rapidly developing. As a result, they may not realize that their child is not getting enough nutrition.
14. Medications and surgery
Medicines, be it in the form of antibiotics or painkillers, are given to newborns quite often and these medicines have several side effects. One of the main side effects of medicines is that they reduce the baby’s appetite. As a result, the baby doesn’t eat as much as he or she should and this leads to slow weight gain.
Surgery, on the other hand, slows down the baby’s metabolism. This is because during surgery, the body is subjected to a lot of stress and this stress leads to the slowing down of the metabolism. As a result, the baby doesn’t burn as many calories as he or she should and this leads to slow weight gain.
15. Psychological disorders
Disorders such as Down’s Syndrome causes difficulty for the baby to suck and swallow. Their mechanisms are not at all similar to those of normal babies. Therefore, they are more prone towards slow weight gain.
All in all, the question of why newborn not gaining weight is not always a serious concern. Every newborn develop at his/her own pace. Parents just need to track their growth rates. If things appear very serious, consulting the pediatrician will help a lot.
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