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July 7, 1917


JAMA. 1917;LXIX(1):42. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590280044018

The first days of life are attended by a loss of body weight which is ordinarily regarded as a "natural consequence." The extent of decline, which ceases as a rule after the third day, averages from 150 to 200 gm., though the figures for the individual are highly variable. Whether or not an attempt should be made to combat this loss of weight has been debated. On the one hand, it is maintained that the intake of enough food to avert the loss should not be attempted until the newly born organism can grow up, so to speak, to the capacity of digesting and assimilating added nutriment; others find no occasion to delay prcmpt gains in weight so long.

An examination of the precise reasons for the usual early loss of weight may help to furnish enlightenment in the questions under dispute. The essential facts are assuredly not new; Talbot