As most parents know, consistent weight gain is a key sign that your baby is getting enough nourishment and developing well. Most babies lose some weight after birth but should regain that weight within 10 days, and then continue to gain an appropriate amount of weight each week/month. At each visit to your doctor, midwife or early childhood service, your baby will be weighed. However many parents like to weigh their babies each week, especially in their first 6 months, just to keep an eye on their weight gain. There are a number of different methods for weighing your baby.
Having a baby scale at home enables you to weigh your baby at your leisure. Baby scales are available for purchase in a variety of different styles and prices. It is important that the scale registers weight in increments as little as 10 grams to ensure an accurate measurement. Purchasing your own scales can be an expensive option and unless there are options for reuse among family and/or friends, may not be particularly cost effective.
As an alternative, Pregnancy Birth and Beyond offers baby scales for hire, delivered to your door. This enables you to access a high grade scale without the inconvenience of having to travel, or the expensive of purchasing your own. PBB scales measure your baby’s weight to the nearest 10 grams, giving you a highly accurate measurement. Learn more about our baby scale hire service here.
Some paediatricians will allow you to drop in periodically to weigh your baby, although they may ask that you call first. Similarly General Practitioners and medical centres sometimes have scales available for use by parents wishing to weigh their baby.
While it used to be common practice for pharmacies to have scales available, often with a Baby Health Nurse in attendance one or two days to offer advice, due to lack of use many pharmacies have abandoned this practice. Even if your local pharmacy does not appear to have baby scales in evidence, it always pays to ask as some may still have their scale and be willing to bring it out for you to use.
The PBB Health Centre offers drop-in early childhood clinics, on Monday to Thursday each week, staffed by registered nurse midwives. This can provide a simply option for weighing your baby and also discussing any concerns you may have in regards to their development.
By far the least effective method, using adult scales to weigh your baby has obvious drawbacks. Firstly adult scales generally only measure to the nearest kilogram or at most the nearest 100 grams. While this is acceptable when weighing an older child or adult, it is insufficient to obtain an accurate weight for an infant. In addition there is the safety consideration of weighing an infant on a scale simply not intended nor fit for the purpose.
If you have no other option in the way of a scale, the safest method by which to way your baby using an adult scale is to first weight yourself. Make a note of your current weight then pick up your baby and step back onto the scale. Subtract your own weight from the measurement you obtained for both of you and that will give you an estimate of your baby’s weight.
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While parents have every right to weigh their own babies, they need to be given the information to help them interpret the findings. The percentile charts contained in child health records given to parents are very useful for mapping this progress. A quick lesson from a midwife, doctor or well baby nurse in using these charts would be advisable if parents are going to hire or buy scales.