What Is Weighted Infant Feed?
Weighted infant feeding is a feeding method that involves using a precise scale to weigh your baby before and after breastfeeding to estimate the amount of milk they have consumed. A baby's weight gain is an indicator of whether or not they are getting enough milk to meet their nutritional needs. It is crucial to note that it should not replace a comprehensive lactation appointment but as a tool to help us understand how much milk the baby is transferring during a typical breastfeeding session. **Reminder a weighted feed is a snapshot in time. Every feeding may look a little different with your baby.
Why Consider Weighted Infant Feed?
A weighted infant feed is helpful if there are concerns that the baby is not getting enough milk when breastfeeding. Perhaps the baby is not gaining well or you are concerned about your milk supply. A mom can have a great milk supply but an infant can still struggle to gain weight if they are having trouble removing that milk due to oral dysfunction and or a tongue tie.
Doing a weighted feeding can also provide reassurance for a breastfeeding mom who is having anxiety about how much milk their baby is getting at the breast. Unlike bottle-feeding, we don’t have a clear measurement of how much a baby is getting with each breastfeeding session. It is very important to remember that a weighted feeding is ONE MOMENT IN TIME. It is a snapshot and one piece of the puzzle and should be used in conjunction with a full lactation assessment.
A quick note on how signs your baby is getting enough milk
So what is normal intake anyways?? We do the best we can with the information we have at the time. Knowledge can be one way you can set yourself up for success with breastfeeding. One area I am continually going back to with parents is…what is a normal intake, and how can I possibly know that without measuring each ounce or getting a weighted feed??
Let’s break down the overall signs of adequate infant intake.
Pees and Poops
- Day 1 of life you can expect on average, 1 pee and 1 poop.
- Day 2 of life…3 pees and 2 poops.
- Day 3 of life…4 pees and 2 poops.
- Day 4 of life…5 pees and 3 poops.
- Day 5 of life…6 pees and 4 poops.
- After the first five days, the normal number of wet and poopy diapers (6+ wet, 3-4 poopy diapers in a 24/hr period).
Back to weights….Can you use any scale?
To perform an accurate weighted feeding you need a scale that is VERY accurate (to 2g) and calibrated correctly. These scales are very expensive, usually well over $1000 dollars and are usually only available at hospitals or lactation clinics. The scales that are available to parents are not accurate enough to do a true weighted feeding. However, your IBCLC will likely bring a scale to your appointment or allow you to use theirs at a breastfeeding support group. Also, some IBCLCs, lactation clinics or hospitals will rent baby scales for parents to use for weighted feedings.
While this scale will not replace the accuracy of the scale I use with clients and DOES NOT replace the advice of an IBCLC, I do recommend using the Hatch Baby Scale at home for mamas looking to keep a closer watch on their baby’s gains.
The Benefits of Weighted Infant Feed
- A snapshot into feeding: A weighted feed is a way to measure how much milk your baby is getting when they nurse at a typical feeding. This can be particularly helpful in the first few weeks when babies’ feeding habits can be unpredictable, and you may not be sure if they're getting enough milk.
- A part of the puzzle: a weighted feed can be a part of the puzzle to help resolve feeding issues. If you're finding it challenging to breastfeed, a weighted feed can help you know whether your baby is getting enough milk or not. Moreover, a weighted feed can also help to diagnose any issues such as a tongue or lip tie, which can cause pain and discomfort when feeding. It is essential to identify and address any breastfeeding issues early on to ensure continued breastfeeding success and a happy nursing relationship between you and your baby.
- Tracking growth: weighted feeds can aid in tracking your baby's growth with an added level of precision. A weighted feed can help you monitor if your baby is gaining weight at the recommended rate or if they need more milk or need to eat more frequently. It is a great tool to help you and your healthcare provider determine if your baby is meeting their growth milestones.
- Easing anxiety: a weighted feed can help to calm any anxieties or concerns you may have as you navigate feeding your baby. It can be challenging to determine if your baby is getting enough milk, particularly if you are navigating latching, supply, and transfer challenges. A weighted feed can provide you with the reassurance you need and confirm that your baby is getting the right amount of milk.
- Building confidence: a weighted feed can improve your breastfeeding confidence. Breastfeeding can be tough, and sometimes it may feel like you're not doing it right. However, a weighted feed can provide you with tangible proof that you are doing an excellent job and give you the confidence and motivation you need to continue breastfeeding.
What are the steps to a weighted feed?
To do a weighted infant feed, a precise scale will be used, preferably one that can weigh in grams or ounces. Your provider will weigh your baby before and after breastfeeding, noting the time interval between the two. The weight they gain is the amount of milk they consume during feeding. It is important to allow your baby to have a full feeding to get an accurate picture of how many ounces they are transferring.
Not all feedings are created equal. While a weighted feed can be helpful to give you a picture of a typical feeding, not every feeding will be the same for your baby. If you notice your baby is extra fussy, sleepy or otherwise struggling with the feeding, it may not be an accurate representation of how much they are transferring during feedings that go well.
A weighted infant feed can be an excellent way to monitor your baby's feeding pattern and ensure that they are getting enough milk. It is a fantastic option for breastfeeding moms who want to track their baby's weight gain and feeding frequency. However, it is crucial to note that it should not replace regular doctor appointments and physical examinations, as these are still crucial in monitoring your baby's overall health. We hope this blog post has given you all the information you need about weighted infant feeding, and we wish you happy parenting!
To wrap up, weighted feed is an important tool for pregnant moms, especially those who are breastfeeding. It provides a wide range of benefits, including helping to resolve breastfeeding issues, tracking your baby's growth, calming any anxieties or concerns, and improving your breastfeeding confidence. As a pregnant mom, utilizing a weighted feed under the guidance of a lactation consultant can help ensure that your baby is getting the essential nutrients they need and that you are a confident and successful breastfeeding mom!
Need more help today?
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