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Have you heard about weighted feeding before? This term is quite popular among breastfeeding moms with newborn. Curious to learn more?
In this article I'd try to explain what weighted feeding is, who should do it, the pros and cons and its accuracy.
This post is part of BREASTFEEDING 101 series. Feel free to check other articles in this series:
- 5 Common Breastfeeding Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Milk Supply
- 5 Tips To Prepare for Breastfeeding
- 12 Actionable Tips for Preparing Breastfeeding During Pregnancy
- Should I Attend A Breastfeeding Class Before Birth? Is It Worth It?
- 10 Breastfeeding Myths and Facts That You Should Know
- How Do I Know If My Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk
- Weighted Feeding for Breastfed Babies | What It Is And How It Can Help You
- 10 Tips To Breastfeed in A Baby Carrier
- Best Baby Carrier for Breastfeeding
- Top 5 Breastfeeding Books for New Moms
- Postpartum Depression and Breastfeeding | Use These 7 Practical Tips
What Is Weighted Feeding
Weighted feeding, also known as test weighing, is a method to find out how much breast milk an infant takes during one breastfeeding session. This is done by weighing your baby right before and right after breastfeeding. No clothes / diaper removed during the weighing process.
The difference in weight is the amount your baby got during breastfeeding.
RELATED: 20+ Things I Did To Boost My Milk Supply (Includes Efficacy Score!)
Why weighted feeding may be needed?
A lot of moms are concerned that they cannot measure their baby’s breast milk intake by direct latch.
When the baby’s weight gain is concerning (e.g. baby didn’t gain enough weight as expected), then a weighted feeding may help to get a rough picture on baby’s breast milk intake.
I have a story to share here. My third baby was hospitalized due to dehydration and the pediatrician requested me to supplement her with formula while I tried to increase my milk supply. The doctor’s calculation requested close to 60 ml per feed (which is quite a lot for a baby less than 1 week old). Fortunately, a lactation consultant came to help. She helped me to do a weighted feeding. From there, we knew that she still got some of my milk. And armed with this information, I was able to request the reduction of formula supplementation. Until finally we got rid of formula milk altogether.
SEE ALSO: Need to boost your milk supply with pumping? Don't forget to check out my PUMPING 101 guide.
How to do weighted feeding
First, it is recommended to do a weighted feeding with a certified IBCLC. This is so that the consultant may help to interpret the result correctly and give any suggestions as needed.
You need to use a high-precision baby scale like this. Normal scale that only has 100 gram precision won’t do.
When you are about to breastfeed, weigh your baby and record.
Nurse your baby until done
Weigh your baby again and record the second reading
The difference between the readings is the amount of breast milk your baby took while nursing.
Is weighted feeding accurate?
Weighted feed is a great way to collect data when there’s feeding problem. However, you need to know that this is only representing the amount of milk taken during that breastfeeding session.
As we know, the amount of milk moms produce throughout the day varies, and thus, the amount of milk baby takes varies, too. A baby can take more milk in the morning and less in the evening. So if the weighted feeding is only done once in the morning, the result may be too reassuring. In the other hand, a weighted feeding done in the evening may revealed a worrying result.
It may be better if you could do several weighted feeding on different times throughout the day to get a better picture on how much your baby is taking throughout the day.
But please don’t rely on weighted feeding alone. You should also monitor other parameters such as:
- dirty diaper counts (healthy babies should produce at least 3 dirty diapers and 6 wet diapers since they are 4 days old)
- Baby’s overall behavior and normal breastfeeding cues.
RELATED:10 Breastfeeding Myths and Facts That You Should Know
If you are worried about your baby’s nursing pattern or weight gain, I highly recommend you to make an appointment with a certified lactation consultant. I myself felt grateful to have a lactation consultant visited me during my early breastfeeding days. She certainlyhelped to boost my confidence in breastfeeding (although at that time we had to supplement with formula).
If you don’t have any local consultant, you can opt for e-consult via video call. Some lactation consultants have this option and it certainly makes things easier for new breastfeeding moms.
I hope this article about weighted feeding for breastfed babies helps to clear up some confusion that you may have about weighted feeding.
Have you done any weighted feeding before? Do you recommend it? Share your story in the comment section!
Hallo there Rina,
My wife had the same situation with our first kid and we wanted to get a solution for this problem completely. Our kid also had dehydration and one of the nurses recommended weighted feeding so that we would know how much milk the baby was having.
But she didn’t give us details on it because she was in a hurry.
I told my wife I would do more research on this type of feeding because she was too exhausted. Thank you for detailed explanation. Your post has shed the most light on this topic than other posts I’ve seen.
I’ll show this to my wife when she wakes up. It’s simple to understand and I’m sure she’s going to love it. We’ll also try it out and see how it works out.
I’m glad this post is helpful for you. Yes, please continue supporting your wife. The first few weeks of breastfeeding are usually tough and mothers need a lot of support from family.
I had never heard of weighted feeding before reading this article so I found it pretty interesting. I have a 7 month old daughter who is still breastfed. Luckily we didn’t have any weight issues with her, but a lot of times I still wondered if she was getting enough milk. This would have definitely been good information to have during those early weeks.
Hi Briana, you are lucky that your baby didn’t have weight problem, so you didn’t need to do a weighted feed. And yeah, breastfeeding is different with bottle, so we cannot see how much milk babies has consumed easily. And that’s why weighted feeding would be a useful method for mothers who need to find out their babies’ breast milk intake.
Thank you for such an informative post. I am sure my two friends who have just had their babies can use this information. This is the first that I heard of weighted feeding. I am glad that you found the person who can help you out with and you can quit the formula all together. I am not a big fan of formula, all my siblings when they were an infant they were all allergic to the formula so that told me something that it isn’t good. Anyways, thanks again 🙂 Will look into the scale and suggest it to my friends.
Indeed, I was very lucky to meet the lactation consultant who suggested to do weighted feeding. If I didn’t meet her, perhaps I would give up on the idea of exclusive breastfeeding sooner.
Thank you for this. Im curious, how much weight should a baby put on after one feeding session to know its getting enough? Does 1g of weight equal 1ml of milk?
The amount of weight typically corresponds to the baby’s milk intake, and this differs according to the age. You can refer to Kellymom’s article that discussed this in details. And I think I need to emphasis one more time, this weight indicates the amount of milk the baby gets, which could be affected by two factors, baby’s ability to latch effectively and mother’s milk supply. Thus, I feel it is important to do this with a lactation consultant so that we do not conclude things incorrectly. Yes, 1 gr equals to 1 ml.