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How much weight should an infant gain?

11/2008, 21.05.2008

The recommendations of the National Breastfeeding Committee for the weight gain of infants are available online

Breast milk is the optimum food for infants. Many mothers are, however, unsure whether they have enough milk and their babies are getting enough sustenance. These concerns can be resolved by looking, for instance, at an infant’s weight gain. In order to be able to judge this more reliably, the National Breastfeeding Committee within the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment  (BfR) has now published recommendations for the weight gain of infants which are intended for parents, doctors, midwives and hospital staff. In its recommendations the National Breastfeeding Committee points out that most breastfed infants lose weight during the first three days of their lives because breast milk only forms slowly. Following this temporary weight loss exclusively breast fed infants gained more weight during the first three months of their lives than bottle-fed infants. By contrast, later they were leaner.

The recommendations on the weight gain of infants contain concrete information on weight gain during the first few days of their lives. They indicate when supplementary formula may be necessary. For instance the weight loss of an infant during the first days of its life should not amount to more than seven percent of its birth weight.

The National Breastfeeding Committee is of the opinion that the weight gain of breast-feed infants in the first year of their lives should be assessed on the basis of the reference curves published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2006. The reference curves are attached to the recommendations of the National Breastfeeding Commission.

The recommendations “Gewichtsempfehlung gestillter Säuglinge” are posted in german language on the BfR website (


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