Gryff had his two week pediatric appointment yesterday, and he’s grown so much! He’s up to 9lbs4oz, from his birth weight of 8 lbs. Three days after birth he was at 7 lbs 5 oz, which was already impressive enough. Let me ‘splain.
Okay, here’s the breakdown, as I understand it. Newborns who are exclusively breastfed will often lose 15% of their birth weight before they start gaining again, while infants fed formula will only lose 10%. Sometimes this can cause some problems for breastfeeding moms, as their doc may see the weight drop below that 90% of birth weight mark and think the baby isn’t getting sufficient nutrition. Then they push formula, trying to get the baby to gain, and the mother might not end up breastfeeding as much as she had been, which deprives the baby of all that goodness. It’s a nasty deal. So if you’re breastfeeding exclusively, don’t worry about your baby dropping a little more weight-wise. Our pediatrician, who is a huge advocate of breastfeeding, ran us through all of this before Gryff was even born, just so we didn’t get worried.
That’s how he likes to sleep, incidentally. All stretched out like that. Anyway, it turns out, we wouldn’t have had reason to get worried anyway because Gryff eats like a champ and is growing crazy fast. Here’s his breakdown:
Birth weight was 8.0 lbs. That’s 128 oz. Three days later at his first pediatric appointment, he weighed 7 lbs 5 oz, or 117 oz. Unfortunately, we don’t have any weight info for him between those two, so I don’t know if the 72-hour weight is the lowest he ever was or if he had been lower and had already started regaining by that point. In any case, it’s the lowest measurement I have, so I’m going to treat it as if it were his lowest weight. Cool? That represents about a 8.5-9% weight reduction from birth. The following day we took him back to the doc (they were a little concerned about his bilirubin, and wanted to retest) and he weighed in at 7 lbs 9 oz.
That first weight was good, as it meant that he either wasn’t losing rapidly, or was regaining weight quickly. With babies, weight gain is really important. As long as the baby is eating, pooping, sleeping and gaining weight you can feel pretty confident that all is right with them. In fact, weight gain is the primary way for nursing mothers to know that the baby is actually getting enough milk. So that was good. The second weight was kind of unheard of. Here’s a link to Dr. Sears’ website talking about growth rates for breastfed babies: How Much Weight Will My Breastfeeding baby Gain? In there, he says 4-7 oz. per week for the first four weeks. So you can see why we’d be excited about a 4 oz weight gain in one day. Given how much the boy eats, it’s not really all that surprising though. Dude is like a machine.
Okay, so we’ve got an increase of 20 oz in two weeks since birth, essentially. Really, more like 31 oz, since his two week appointment is closer to being two weeks from his first pediatric visit than his birth. That’s right, he’s gaining nearly a pound per week since he bottomed out after birth and has started regaining. That’s about twice the maximum expected rate for breastfed babies (rule of thumb is 1 oz per day or 7 oz per week as a good goal). If he hadn’t been checked out and declared perfectly healthy by the doc a couple times already, I might almost be worried about it, you know? But he’s doing all the baby things, and just seems to want to grow like crazy. Maybe it has something to do with being 41+3 when he was born? No idea.
He also measured in at 21 1/4″ long, up from 20″ at birth. Again, Dr. Sears gives a ballpark of about an inch per month in length gain for the first 6 months. Gryff is doing about double that rate, too.
Okay, please forgive while I geek out. Any of you who read my other blog know that I love to play with charts and numbers, so I’m going to indulge myself for a moment. I’m looking at the WHO growth charts, here: Child Growth Standards The reason I’m looking at the WHO charts is that they’re taken from breastfeeding babies, rather than formula-fed ones like the CDC charts. Based on those, Gryff appears to have been close to the 50th percentile on his “Weight-for-length” chart for boys at birth (3.6 kg to 50.8 cm) and has pretty well stayed there (4.2 kg to 54cm puts him right on the green line) as of two weeks. This is an indicator of how well-proportioned he is, rather than how his size compares to others of the same age. His “Length-for-age” chart puts him closer to the 70-75th percentile at birth (50.8 cm at 0 weeks) which is higher than we thought it would be. We’d been told originally that 8 lbs and 20″ long was right down the middle of average for babies, so I was expecting 50th percentile on those. His “Weight-for-age” chart at birth shows him at about the 70-75th percentile as well (3.6 kg at 0 weeks). As of his latest checkup, he looks like he’s much closer to 75-80th percentile for length (54 cm at 2 weeks) and about the same for weight (4.2 kg at 2 weeks). What does all of this mean? No idea! Mostly I just love quantifying things and looking at charts. Essentially, he’s a good-sized boy, he’s gaining weight very well, he’s gaining length very well, and all is as it should be. What this makes me think is that the growth rates specified by Dr. Sears (and many others, as his are very similar to those we’ve heard and read from other sources) are fairly conservative, and that it isn’t unusual for breastfed babies to grow much faster than those rates. If it were, Gryff would by skyrocketing into higher percentiles, and he simply isn’t. So that’s good to know. He’s growing, but he’s still well within the norms of other breastfed babies. He just seems like he’s growing so much faster because we were looking at his objective gains based on estimated gains for a given timeframe, rather than checking the growth charts to see where he stands.
Anyway, that’s a pretty thorough geek-out, I’d have to say. Good for me. Maybe someone learned something? I did, at least. Okay, anything else?
Oh yeah, I also wanted to talk feedings and diapers real quickly, since it’s sort of a related subject. We were told that Gryff should eat 8-12 times per day, which works out to every 2-3 hours throughout the 24-hour period. He actually does this very well, without much prompting from us. It’s very rare that we have to wake him up for a feeding, but we like to make sure he’s getting enough. It would be nice for us to have him sleep through the night, for sure, but that would mean he’d be missing out on 2-3 feedings, or we’d have to compress the time between feedings more during the day. I’d rather get a little less sleep and make sure he’s getting all the food his little heart desires, and my wife feels the same way. I think that might be part of what’s helping him to grow so well, too.
Also, diapers. We were told to expect 10-12 per day from a newborn, and thought that sounded like a lot. We’re actually getting more like 16-18 every day. Probably because he eats so much, I’m guessing. Anyway, it’s not all that bad, really. We’re using a mix of cloth and disposables, mostly for convenience. We originally got the disposables to handle the meconium, but he was actually already producing transitional stools by about three days in, and was all the way done with meconium by the 4th or 5th day. We had also heard that the meconium would likely last for 10 days, so we stocked up on a bunch of disposables. So now that we’re two weeks out, I think we’re doing maybe 1/3 cloth and 2/3 disposables? I’d love to increase our ratio, just because disposables are so freaking expensive, and we already made the investment in our prefolds and covers. Honestly, the prefolds and covers don’t take that much longer to put on him than the disposables, and we have fewer leaks with them, it seems. I’m hoping to get converted over to cloth during the day for all changes and only doing disposables at night, and then eventually move to all cloth all the time. We’ll see how it pans out.
Here’s Gryff in one of his Thirsties Duo Wrap covers:
Here he is in a Bummis cover (I’m pretty sure). Look at that little belly!
Okay, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading!