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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why is my baby not putting on weight?

    Hi my 12 week old daughter is dropping % in all areas weight/height/head circ, since birth she has been heading down in all areas and is now under the 3% in all areas, she has only gained under 1.6kg since birth has been formula feed since birth..

    She was born a healthy weight at 3.2kg and at 12 weeks is now 4.7kg, we struggle to get her to drink 120mls of formula every 4 hours

    I am being dismissed by my GP, all he tells me is she is little and a newborn, she is not my first child, I've never had a child go down in % every time they are weighed, measured, and head circu done.

    I am worried.
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    Joy Anderson

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Joy is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist, as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has a special interest in … View Profile

    This does sound concerning. If you are not satisfied that your GP is taking your concerns seriously, perhaps see another and ask for a referral to a paediatrician. It may be that all is OK, but it is certainly worth having her checked out thoroughly.

    In my experience, mother's intuition about their babies is usually pretty reliable.

    Note that a baby's birth weight, etc are a reflection of intrauterine conditions and they spend the first 6-18 months moving on the charts to where they are meant to be. If they go up, everyone is happy, but if they go down, usually everyone panics. However, with any baby going down consistently like it sounds like for this one, it is always a good idea to look closer. A paediatrician will be able to assess the baby other than just looking at the numbers.

  • I am an energetic Nutritionist with experience in nutrition research, childhood obesity, eating habits, non-communicable diseases, food labeling, regulations, nutrition education and training. My main … View Profile

    Hi Mommy

    Yes, agree with Joy and Linda.

    A constant decline would be something to worry about, and if you could see a good reliable paediatrician, you could get reassurance and find a solution to the slow weight gain.  In some cases babies who are teething would refuse milk and you will see a slight decline in weight in that period, but it should not be continues.

    You have mentioned that the baby is formula fed?  Not that you should swap and change formulas regularly, but it could be that your little one might be preferring another formula? It would be good to discuss the type of formula your baby are using with the paediatrician as well.

    Good luck

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