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.
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.
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.
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.
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!