If your baby had a low birth weight or you have a premature baby at home, you’re likely wondering about the best methods for weighing your baby.
While it’s normal for babies to lose a percentage of their birth weight, I can understand your concern if your baby isn’t gaining weight.
I constantly went to the pediatrician with my first, getting weight checks because he kept losing weight. So I’d feed him and pray he didn’t poop before the check, because I would get so discouraged at his lack of gaining.
The drives to the doctor’s office got tedious as I was still learning how to juggle life with a brand-new baby. Newborns are these fascinating, beautiful beings that easily suck the life out of us and other tasks seem impossible.
If only I could do the weight checks at home, I thought. I was renting baby scales from the local hospital, which involved a drive and carrying both a baby and a scale. I won’t even get started on how I couldn’t figure out how to unfold my stroller the first time, and I was lugging the car seat and scale within days of giving birth.
However, when I realized I could add a baby scale to my online shopping cart, my life got a whole lot easier. So while my opinion should never take the place of what your doctor says, I can tell you some easy ways to weigh your baby at home.
As a note, if you are interested in weighing your baby between breastfeeding sessions, you want to weigh them initially, and then in between each breast.
There are different methods of weighing your baby at home, and some involve scales you likely have sitting around your house, so let’s take a look at four easy ways to weigh your baby at home.
1. Buy a Baby Scale
Something you likely didn’t put on your registry but may end up needing is a baby scale. A baby scale offers accurate weights at home, so it gets an A rating from me. I highly recommend a baby scale if you want to see how much your baby feeds while breastfeeding.
If you breastfeed your baby, you know it’s impossible to know how many ounces they ate. Typically, this is a moot point, because if they are growing, they are good. However, in my instance, my baby wasn’t growing, so I was eager to know if he was getting anything while nursing.
For the record, he wasn’t. Turns out he had a swallow latch, inhibiting from getting enough milk. Once I realized the issue, he started nursing like a champ, gaining the weight he had lost.
I recommend the Greater Goods Smart Baby Scale if you decide to go this route. First, I appreciate that you can keep track of your baby’s weight on your smartphone instead of writing them down. In addition, the scale has a lip on each side, ensuring wiggly babies have nowhere to go.
You can also use it as your child grows; it holds up to 66 pounds (~30 kg), but hopefully, you aren’t worrying about their weight that long.
Since you won’t need the baby scale forever, you can pass it along to a friend who could benefit from it.
2. Use Your Bathroom Scale
One of the easiest ways to weigh your baby at home is to weigh yourself holding the baby and then weigh just yourself. Then, you will subtract your weight from the combined weight to determine your baby’s weight. Remember, it may not be precise, depending on how exact your scale is.
I used this method for all three of my children, particularly when I wanted to weigh my babies on a whim and didn’t want to go downstairs to the baby scale. While some may doubt this method, it relies on your scale’s accuracy.
For example, if you know your scale gives you various weights, you likely won’t be the best estimate of your baby’s weight.
I’d rate this accuracy as a B because you may not get down to the ounce, and sometimes that’s what you are looking for when weighing a newborn.
If you are in the market for a new scale for yourself and your baby, I like the RENPHO Smart Scale because you can send all data to your smartphone. Similar to the baby scale, it allows you to easily track your baby’s weight gains.
However, like most at-home scales, it measures in increments of .2 lbs, so your newborn’s weight likely won’t be accurate on the scale.
3. Use a Postal or Kitchen Scale
This may sound strange, but you can place your baby in a large bowl and sit it on top of a postal or kitchen scale. You will want to ensure you tare the weight before placing your baby in the bowl. Also, never perform this method on the countertop and always do it on the ground surface.
I rank this method a B because when kitchen scales were created, they likely weren’t anticipating newborn babies being weighed on top. However, it can help tell you your baby’s weight without venturing to the doctor’s office or buying a baby scale.
Remember, most kitchen scales have a weight limit, so you likely won’t get much use for your baby after they hit about thirteen pounds, but hopefully at that point, they are steadily gaining weight.
However, if you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, you can find a higher limit that gives a more precise weight, like the KOIOS Food Scale, which has a weight capacity of 33 lbs. In addition, the scale is longer than most, so there is plenty of room to fit a bowl full of babies.
Again, ensure you press the tare button after you put the bowl on top but before you place the baby inside.
4. Use a Hanging Luggage Scale
So, this method is a little tricky and works best when they are newborns, but you can use a hanging luggage scale to weigh your baby at home.
However, you must also own a baby sling, like the RosaBaby Baby Carrier, to ensure it’s done correctly. Although you can also tie the ends of a baby blanket together, using a sling with hooks is more secure.
First, you can purchase a Portable Hanging Baggage Scale to attach to your sling. I recommend doing this method as close to the ground as possible since your precious little one will be inside. However, you are golden if you secure the hook to the sling.
If your luggage scale doesn’t let you take out the weight, write down the weight it displays for the sling, so you can subtract it from the total weight once you place your baby inside. Next, you will want to lay your baby on the sling and hold the hanging scale to determine your baby’s weight.
Remember, most portable luggage scales can hold up to 100 pounds, so they can hold your newborn.
The reason why I like this method is that portable luggage scales are inexpensive and don’t take up much space. However, since it’s a bit complicated, it gets an overall rating of C+ from me.
Kelly is a mom of three who finds joy in writing about her parenting experiences and filling in others about the must-have products and the ones you can leave on the store shelf. With a bit of humor, Kelly tries to laugh off the messy side of parenting and, instead, focus on the beautiful moments it brings. Originally from South Florida, she now calls Northern Virginia home and looks forward to connecting with readers through The Place for Parents.