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Weight Gain and Newborns

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About the Author

Claire Martin is a parenting writer at the Denver Post. Her writing has won national and regional awards, and has appeared in publications such as the St. Petersburg Times, Good Housekeeping, and Sunset magazine. She lives in Denver with her husband and two daughters, both of whom were breastfed.

From THE NURSING MOTHER'S PROBLEM SOLVER by Claire Martin. Copyright © 2000 by Claire Martin. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

This article is an excerpt from "The Nursing Mother's Problem Solver" by Claire Martin.

Q: I breastfeed my 3-week-old whenever he wants to nurse. He's gained about 1-1/2 pounds since birth. My pediatrician is concerned that he's gaining too fast and wants me to limit feedings to every 4 hours or so. I tried, but I can't stand hearing him cry. He wants to breastfeed more often than ever. Is it possible for a breastfed baby to gain too much weight so fast?

A: Not really. Most newborns are expected to gain about half a pound a week, although since many babies lose a little weight during their first week, they may not hit that target as dependably as your son did.

Your son's increased hunger may be a sign that he's hit his first growth spurt, when some babies seem to nurse constantly. Denying him the chance to nurse on demand not only deprives him of the milk he needs to get through this spurt but may decrease your own ability to produce as much milk as he needs. Ask for a second opinion if you want to continue breastfeeding.