Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Neonatal weight loss in breast and formula fed infants
  1. P D Macdonald1,
  2. S R M Ross1,
  3. L Grant1,
  4. D Young2
  1. 1Southern General Hospital Neonatal Paediatric Department, South Glasgow University Hospitals NHS Trust, Glasgow G51 4TF, Scotland, UK
  2. 2Research & Development Department, Yorkhill NHS Trust, Glasgow G3 8SJ
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Macdonald
    Neonatal Paediatric Department, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow G51 4TF, Scotland, UK;


Objective: To define the range of neonatal weight loss in a population relative to feeding method.

Design: Prospective observational cohort study.

Setting: Maternity service providing geographically defined, community based newborn follow up.

Participants: 971 consecutive term newborns of birth weight ⩾ 2500 g during the first 2–3 weeks of life; 34 excluded (inadequate data). 937 included: 45% breast fed, 42% formula fed, 13% breast and formula fed.

Outcome measures: Maximum weight loss and timing, age on regaining birth weight.

Results: Median weight loss: formula fed 3.5%, breast fed 6.6%. Upper centiles for maximum weight loss differ considerably (95th centiles: breast fed = 11.8%, formula fed = 8.4%; 97.5th centiles: breast fed = 12.8%, formula fed = 9.5%). Median time of maximum weight loss: 2.7 days for breast fed and formula fed. Recovery of birth weight: breast fed median 8.3 days, 95th centile 18.7 days, 97.5th centile 21.0 days; formula fed median 6.5 days, 95th centile 14.5 days, 97.5th centile 16.7 days. The time taken to regain birth weight correlates with both the degree and timing of initial weight loss for all groups.

Conclusions: Early neonatal weight loss is defined allowing identification of infants who merit closer assessment and support.

  • breast feeding
  • formula feeding
  • growth
  • weight loss

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


Linked Articles

  • Fantoms
    Ben Stenson