How Much Should a 6-Month-Old Weigh?
Every baby grows differently, and a specific weight is not as important as is her overall rate of growth, according to HealthyChildren, a website associated with the American Academy of Pediatricians. Your baby's weight gain depends on different factors such as her diet, genetics and overall health. Your baby's doctor can help you determine if her weight is appropriate by looking at her overall growth pattern since birth. Contact your child's doctor if you are concerned about your baby's weight.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the median weight, or 50th percentile weight for a 6-month-old baby girl is approximately 16 pounds. The weight for a baby boy is approximately 17 1/2 pounds.
According to HealthyChildren, your baby will continue to gain another 1 to 1 1/4 pounds until she is 7 months old, at which time, growth slows a bit.
According to BabyCenter, your baby's growth chart plots your baby's measurements--length, weight, and head circumference--and allows her doctor to compare her growth to the national averages. Your baby's doctor is interested in the pattern of his growth over time and wants to see it follow a steady curve.
BabyCenter urges parents to focus on a baby's overall rate of growth and not a "magical" number. Babies grow at different rates and have lulls and spurts, which affect their measurements.
"The Baby Book" by William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears reiterates focusing on your baby's overall growth. One reason for this, according to the authors, is that growth charts do not differentiate between formula-fed babies and breastfed babies. Babies who are breastfed are often leaner, especially between ages 4 and 18 months.
According to Sears, not only does what your baby eat during the first 6 months affect her weight, biology does as well. Babies tend to inherit a tendency toward "fatness or leanness."
Babies typically tend to have their parents' body types. A baby with two obese parents is 80 percent likely to become obese. A baby with one obese parent is 40 percent likely to become obese. If neither parent is obese, that baby has a 7 percent chance of obesity.
Encouraging Healthy Growth
Most babies will begin to thin out around 6 to 8 months of age, according to "The Baby Book." This is due to increased activities such as rolling, sitting and crawling. KidsHealth reminds you to provide your 6-month-old with plenty of time in an open, safe area so she can practice moving around.
By 6 months, your baby may be starting her first tastes of juice and pureed foods. KidsHealth recommends no more than 4 ounces of juice per day for your baby. Additionally, feed her foods without added sugars, such as fruits and vegetables, avoiding desserts or foods with "empty calories." The bulk of her nutrition is still coming from formula or breast milk.
Babies this age are good at monitoring their own intake. Watch for cues that she is hungry or full, and even if you think she needs to eat more, respect her desire to end her meal.
- KidsHealth: Growth and your 4-to-7-month-old
- HealthyChildren: Physical appearance and growth: 4 to 7 months
- Centers for Disease Control: Growth Charts - Clinical growth charts
- BabyCenter: Growth charts: Understanding the results
- "The Baby Book"; William Sears and Martha Sears; 2003