Chubby babies are cute – no doubt about it. And with each trip to the doctor we’re looking for continued signs of healthy, steady growth. But how much is too much?
Here in Cleveland Dr. Laura Caserta, director of the ADHD clinic at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital recently wrote an article addressing this for the Plain Dealer. Dr. Caserta went on to say:
if a baby’s weight continually climbs the weight percentile curve, it could be something for the parents and the baby’s pediatrician to monitor closely. Studies have shown rapid weight gain during infancy can be a predictor of obesity later in life, as well as overweight parents and bottle versus breastfed. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to be overweight teens and adults – one possible explanation is breastfed babies tend to stop eating when they are full, whereas parents feeding their baby from a bottle have a natural tendency to encourage their baby to eat until the bottle is empty.
It would seem that again, our American habit of over-consuming gets in the way of our health – even for our little ones. Obviously, one way to counter over-feeding your baby is to look for indicators that the child is full, rather than going until the bottle is empty. Some other important tips are:
- Avoid sugary juice drinks (including 100% fruit juice). It is much healthier for babies to eat fruits and vegetables than to drink fruit juice as it contains the natural fiber that helps move the sugar out of the system. If juice is given, wait until the baby is at least 6 months and limit the amount to 4-6 ounces per day.
- Feed your infant a variety of fruit and vegetable baby food.
- Keep your baby active with regular playtime. Encourage your baby to crawl/scoot/roll and explore his surroundings in a safety-proofed environment opposed to confined in a crib or play pen.
The article makes it clear that “chubby” doesn’t necessarily mean future obesity. It is natural for a baby to have extra fat during this nourishing phase of life. But as with everything, a balance of everything is best to ensure healthiness – proper diet and exercise are essential to the child’s future well being. Also of note is that Pediatricians do not start using the Body Mass Index until age 2, and so its not until then that you can even determine if your child is overweight.
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