In this era of induction and cesarean births we are seeing babies with higher weight loss percentages than in years past. Having worked in lactation for over 16 years I have seen these expected percentages change over the years. In the 1990's a 7% weight loss was what was considered "normal." Somewhere along the way it became 10%. I now consistently see babies losing 10% and sometimes more. My colleagues and I work with mothers who are on IV fluids, pitocin and epidural drips for 24 hours or more. That is a lot of fluid being taken on by the mother and in turn the baby. A few days after an induced or cesarean birth the mother usually finds her legs are swollen up like tree trunks and her feet won't fit into anything but flip flops. Where do we think these fluids go for baby?
According to the authors of the study of the 108,907 exclusively breastfed newborns, 83,433 were delivered vaginally and 25,474 were delivered by cesarean. "Differential weight loss by delivery mode was evident 6 hours after delivery and persisted over time. Almost 5% of vaginally delivered newborns and >10% of those delivered by cesarean had lost ≥10% of their birth weight 48 hours after delivery. By 72 hours, >25% of newborns delivered by cesarean had lost ≥10% of their birth weight."
We regularly tell parents that their pediatrician will expect their baby to be back up to "birth weight" at the two week appointment. We will see if this study will change these guidelines or if they will stay the same. Either way we at The MILC Group will continue to support the families of our community in feeding their babies.