Fat Baby, Thin Baby

Mother and Children Reading Together

In our unfortunately image conscious society, there is a great deal of pressure on mothers to have children that conform to the correct image of how a baby should look. Some mothers worry a great deal about their daughters chubby thighs while others stress and fret about the lack of meat on their son’s bones.

We worry that the chubby baby will grow up obese and the thin one is lacking nourishment. Casual observers point out that we need to “fatten that baby up” or “cut back on the cream” As if worrying about your own baby fat wasn’t enough, you must also worry about the amount of fat your little one is sporting these days – or do you?

Baby Fat

Babies who are fed the right amount of nourishment will look exactly the way they are supposed to – according to their own little systems and DNA. That means the chubby baby and her adorable rolls is likely just right and the thin baby with his long limbs is just as fine. If your child is having trouble eating or is not growing and gaining weight steadily, there is reason for concern, however.

Speak with Your Doctor

Your first step to gauge your child’s health is to speak with your paediatrician. Your doctor keeps careful records of your child’s growth over the weeks and months and this track record is what matters. Ask your doctor to show you your child’s growth curves. You should see a steady climb in both weight and height. The actual percentage of the numbers (5% or 95%) doesn’t matter – that is just an indicator of how your little one measures up to 100 other babies.

From your child’s birth through now there should be a consistent pattern. Some babies grow at a tremendous rate while others grow more sedately. Remember, most babies start out within a few inches and pounds of each other, but by the time they are in kindergarten, there will be huge differences in size. The differences between classmates will be even more pronounced by high school. The differences in size and shape between your baby and another are likely just indicators of how much growing your child is destined to do.

Feeding for Comfort

Very young babies start off rather lanky but then fill in quickly to round out there little arms and legs. Some babies do indeed get rounder than others and unless milk or formula is being used as a pacifier rather than just for nutrition, it is likely just that baby’s particular growth pattern. Track the time your child nurses (meaning how long she actually eats at the breast, not just nuzzles for comfort) or how much formula she drinks during the day. If you’re feeding her every time she whimpers, you might be unintentionally fattening your baby up by comforting her with food when she’s not really hungry.

Age and Mobility

Another factor in your child’s appearance is his age and mobility. Young babies round out quickly and continue to gain weight at a rapid pace until around six or eight months. This is the time that things begin to change not just in your baby’s appearance, but in her mobility. In what seems like a matter of days, your little one goes from sitting around or laying around to crawling, cruising and then walking. All this activity helps to speed up metabolism and slow weight gain.

Growth Spurts

Your baby’s growth looks steady on a growth chart, but many parents discover rather quickly that baby’s growth is anything but smooth. Most babies grow in noticeable spurts. Your child might go through a period of what looks to be starvation. She nurses constantly and screams with hunger after finishing what would otherwise be a normal meal. She eats and eats and you begin to wonder if there is a problem with your little one. Then suddenly, she’s not particularly hungry any more and she’s sleeping better than she has in weeks.

One day you’ll look at your baby and realize that her little thighs are longer and don’t have as many adorable folds. She’s grown into some of her roundness and as she lengthens even more into toddlerhood, you’ll continue to notice the softness distributing over her new form.

Fulfil Baby’s Appetite

You should feed your baby when she’s hungry and find other means of comfort when she’s not. You might have a very hungry baby or one that is content with what seems like a snack. If your child is showing a healthy growth pattern, it doesn’t matter what you or your mother think about how much she’s eating. Given free reign, your baby will eat as much as she needs to fulfill her own appetite. So relax and enjoy your baby – there is enough to worry about without stress over every kissable and adorable roll.

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