Since you cannot “see” the amount of milk your baby is ingesting it is normal to face some anxiety and concerns about how much your baby is eating when breastfeeding. Most breastfeeding moms won’t have the need for a hospital grade baby scale at home. However, when there is a medical need for accurate weight measurements at home or if you would like to track how much your baby is ingesting during breastfeeding, knowing how to do accurate weight measurements is important. Though it is normal for babies to lose 5-7% of their birth weight, a weight loss of 10% or more calls for a medical evaluation and visit with a lactation consultant. Generally, around day 5 the baby will stop losing weight. Normal weight gain is 1 ounce every 24 hours until 3 months of age and then it drops down to every 24 hours.
The Motherhood Center not only rents medical grade baby scales, but we also provide a complimentary scale in the center for moms to weigh their baby. Anytime you are going to weigh your baby he/she should be naked and weighed before feeding. The following are directions on how to use the scale here at The Motherhood Center:
1. Be sure the scale is level. You can look for the red circle on the right-hand side and be sure the
bubble is in the middle of the circle. If not, the scale will need to be adjusted until level.
2. Turn on the scale and wait until it shows zero. Put a blanket and clean diaper on the scale, wait
until it takes weight of these items, then hit the “zero” button. You should now see 0.000 on the
scale. Take the diaper off the scale and you should now see a negative reading somewhere
around -0.06 depending on what the diaper weighs.
3. Now place the baby on the scale in a clean diaper only. Wait until the scale beeps and hit the
“before nursing weight” entry button. This will save your baby’s weight in the scale. This is your
baby’s naked weight for the day.
4. You can now nurse your baby as usual and then put them back on the scale. Now hit the
“reweigh after nursing” button. Wait to hear the beep again. That is your baby’s weight after
feeding. You can hit the “intake” button to determine the amount your baby ingested after
5. Remember not to change the diaper or use any other blanket on the scale, as this will alter the
weight gain. If you must change the diaper during feeding, get a weight with the diaper on to
determine the baby’s intake at that point, then get a new start weight after changing the diaper.
Babies do take in different amounts at different feedings, but consistent weighing can give you a
good idea of your baby’s intake during feedings. Most importantly, you want the baby to be gaining
weight normally and following their own growth curve. If you are having difficulties with your baby’s
weight gain, a lactation consultant can be extremely helpful in determining the reason and working on a
plan to get things on track.