The literature is filled with many theories and facts regarding the loss of weight in new-born infants during the first few days of life. The ultimate summary of both theories and facts seems to resolve itself into the practical fundamental we daily observe; namely, that the output over this period is greater than the intake. Bailey and Murlin1 demonstrate, however, that, in addition, there is a combustion of carbohydrates and fats during this period. They show from their studies of new-born infants that the respiratory quotient rises as high as 1.0 on the first day of life, which indicates the combustion of carbohydrates. Thereafter, it drops to 0.67 on the second day, and remains in the neighborhood of 0.70 for the full two days, indicating a condition of starvation and the combustion of fat.
Invariably, the statement brought forth by these clinical and scientific observations is that this is