Frequently Asked Questions
Why Rent a Newborn Scale?
A newborn scale gives peace of mind between pediatric visits and can catch problems early on. Tracking baby’s weight can answer common questions like:
- How much milk does baby get during a breastfeeding session?
- Am I making enough milk?
- Should I supplement? If so, how much?
- Can I stop supplementing?
- Can I let baby sleep or should I wake to feed?
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What is a Test Weight?
A test weight tells us how much breastmilk baby got at one breastfeeding session. Baby is weighed before and after latching and we calculate the difference in those weights. Babies often eat slightly different amounts at different feedings. The test weight tells us how much milk was transferred at that feeding.
Test weights can only be done with highly sensitive, highly accurate scales like the Professional Scale (Tanita BD-815U), which is sensitive to 2 grams. Test weights are typically included in postpartum in-home consults for mothers who wish to latch baby. The IBCLC will do test weights during an in-home consult with the same Professional Scale that is available for rent.
How do I use the Professional Scale for Test Weights?
Test weights weigh baby two times- before and after breastfeeding. Test weights can also be called Pre and Post Feeding weights. The difference between the two weights indicate how much baby got at that one breastfeeding session. You can check how much baby ate from each breast, or from both sides overall.
PART 1: FEED AND WEIGH
first weight → feed baby → second weight
PART 2: CALCULATE GAINED WEIGHT
second weight – first weight = gained weight
PART 3: CONVERT GAINED WEIGHT INTO MILK
Convert gained weight (in grams) into ounces or mL of milk
- Ensure scale is on a hard, flat, safe surface. If no pets or older children are around, the floor is best (no carpet or rugs). You may choose to use a changing table or dresser – never leave baby unattended while on the scale.
- Put baby into a clean diaper. Baby will wear this diaper during the entire feeding and for both weight checks. You can have baby dressed or not. Keep baby dressed the same for both weight checks.
- Plug the scale in.
- Press the blue “on” button.
- Press the grey “g/lb” button until a “g” is on the screen so you are measuring in grams.
- Make the scale read zero before weighing baby. Press the blue “zero” button. If you want a blanket on the scale, place blanket on the scale and press the blue “zero” button again to subtract the weight of the blanket.
- Take your first weight. Weigh baby in grams before feeding. Scale will beep when reading is complete. WRITE THIS NUMBER DOWN.
- Breastfeed baby
- Take your second weight: weigh baby in grams again (either after one breast or both) WRITE THIS NUMBER DOWN.
- Calculate the difference:
SECOND WEIGHT-FIRST WEIGHT=GAINED WEIGHT
11. Send test weight results to your lactation consultant or pediatrician- they will determine if/how you need to change your feeding plan.
What’s included in the rental?
Rental cost includes doorstep delivery and pick up by Flow Lactation within our service area in Charlottesville & Crozet. If you live outside of the service area, we can meet you at the edge of the service area (see “What if I live outside the Flow Lactation Service Area?”).
What if I live outside the Flow Lactation Service Area (Charlottesville & Crozet)?
We can meet you within the service area for drop off and pick up.
- North of Charlottesville: meet at Target in Charlottesville
- South of Charlottesville: meet at Wegman’s in Charlottesville
- East of Charlottesville: meet at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville
- West of Crozet: meet at Harris Teeter in Crozet
Do I need a consult if I rent a scale?
Scale rental alone does not include a professional Care Plan. Please work with your IBCLC or pediatrician to understand your baby’s weight trends and adjust your feeding plan as needed.
In-home consults with Flow Lactation include a test weight with the Professional Scale. Both In-home consults and Virtual Consults include a Care Plan and 1 week of follow-up by email. Scale rental may be recommended by your lactation consultant (IBCLC) or pediatrician as part of an evidence-based feeding plan.
What should I look for when I track baby’s weight?
It’s important to know if your baby is meeting these normal growth milestones:
- Birth to 4 days old: baby loses up to 7% of birthweight but not more
- By 5 days old: baby has started gaining weight
- By 14 days old: baby is back to birthweight
- From 2-12 weeks old: baby gains approximately 4-7oz. per week (or more if catching up from initial slow weight gain)
- Baby continues to grow along their own growth curve on the World Health Organization growth charts
If any of these are not met, it’s important to meet with an IBCLC and/or discuss with your pediatrician. Consults with Flow Lactation include a care report sent to your pediatrician.
Which scale is right for me?
Your IBCLC can make a recommendation during a consult, or you can contact us. Each family’s feeding goal and plan are unique.
How do I request a scale?
Complete the Scale Rental Request Form. We will respond within 24 hours with availability and will email you an invoice, payable online. Rental is finalized when the Scale Rental Request Form AND payment have been received.
Will insurance cover the scale rental?
No, typically insurance will not reimburse for scale rentals. Payment is required before renting.
How do I arrange delivery or pick-up?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any specific instructions regarding parking, or if the scale will be somewhere other than by the front door. Please secure any outdoor pets during the pick-up and drop-off times.
How long should I rent the scale?
Each family’s needs and preferences are different. Typically the scales are only needed for about 1 month.
Can I return the scale early or extend my rental?
Please contact us to request an earlier pick up. We will try to accommodate your request. We cannot refund you for a partial rental.
If you want to extend your rental, please contact us. You can request an additional week (Professional Scale) or an additional month (Standard Scale). If no one else has reserved the scale you’re welcome to extend your rental.
How do I store the scale when not in use?
Please keep the scale on a flat, stable surface where it cannot be dropped or jumped on. Keep the scale away from older children, toys, and pets. If the scale is returned damaged you will be charged for the cost of the repair. If the scale is too damaged to repair, you will be charged the purchase price.
If I rent a scale can I skip a pediatrician’s appointment?
Please keep your regular well-baby visits as scheduled. Use of a newborn scale is not intended to replace a well-baby visit.
If your pediatrician would like to keep a close watch on baby’s growth and has suggested extra weight checks, it may be possible to track the weight from home and save you trips your provider. Please discuss your situation with your provider.
How do I use the Standard Scale?
- Place scale on a hard, flat surface (not carpet). If you don’t have pets or older children nearby, the floor is best. You may choose to use a changing table or dresser – never leave baby unattended.
- Press “ON/OFF”- scale will display 8888
- Wait until the display shows 0:0 or 0.00
- 0:0 means the scale is set to pounds and ounces
0.00 means the scale is set to kilograms/grams.
- Press the “LB/KG” button to choose pounds (0:0) or kilograms (0.00)
- You can weigh baby naked, or in a diaper and/or on a blanket. If you want to subtract the weight of a diaper and/or blanket, first lay the diaper and/or blanket on the scale, then press the “ZERO” button. Now the scale will not count the weight of that item and you will get an accurate reading of baby’s naked weight
Are the scales cleaned and calibrated?
Yes and yes. Equipment is sanitized before and after use with Lysol or Clorox wipes. You are welcome to use a blanket between the scale and your baby – just press the “zero” button after you lay the blanket on the scale so that you subtract the weight of the blanket from your measurement. We calibrate the scales according to manufacturer recommendations.
- American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics. 2012 Mar;129(3):e827-41. Epub 2012 Feb 27.
- World Health Organization Child Growth Standards, 2006. Available at: https://www.who.int/childgrowth/en/.
- How much weight should I expect my breastfeeding baby to gain?by William Sears, MD
- Breastfeeding your newborn – what to expect in the early weeks by Kelly Bonata, BS, IBCLC