Is there such thing as a too chunky baby? That is the question at hand. It doesn't seem very possible when a simple search for chunky baby's is done on google. They all look perfectly well perfect. If we are to pretend the premise that it's possible to have a baby that is too chunky is true. What things would signal that?
That is what we are gathered here today to answer. That and hopefully to see some fantastic pictures of some pudgy babies. I will admit that I fully didn't want to admit that there was such thing as a too chunky baby. I set out writing this article to prove that fact. Then once I did some reading I found that chunky babies are not just sweet rolls and tootsie roll arms. There are sometimes health consequences if they have too much body fat. This is not about looks. As you will be hard pressed to find a pudgy baby that I am not in love at first sight with.
We are not shaming babies here. Unless you count shaming them for being too stinking adorable for words. This is purely educational. Unfortunately the health risks of the baby do not go down if I think that their 2nd chin is really cute (and I do.) Only you and your baby's doctors can make determinations when it comes to the health and size of your baby. This article is not mean to imply that your baby is too chubby.
15 The Parents Are Overweight
If the parents are overweight it is more likely for the baby to also be overweight. This could be because of the genetics that cause the problem to begin with or it could be the habits in the house that cause the weight gain. This is not meant to be hurtful point to those of us that are struggling our best to lose the baby weight or just struggling to lose any weight. Trust me, I know this struggle and would never want to make any one feel worse. This is something to keep in mind when looking at the health of your child though. Maybe this can help motivate a change in the family. If everyone is working towards modelling good behaviors for the baby to grow up healthy and strong. There are many things that go into healthy habits and I don't want to imply that everyone has equal means to achieve their goals here. Also don't want to imply that the love a parent has for their child is somehow related to how small their waistline can get.
14 Gestational Diabetes
Gestational Diabetes can be a predictor of a chubby baby. It can also be a predictor of a greater struggle with weight and or obesity throughout the baby's life. If the mother dealt with gestational diabetes and the baby appears to be carrying some extra weight, this may be a sign that the baby is too chubby. In this way chubby is more related to the type of fat the baby has. Normal baby fat is not a concern, however when risk factors starts stacking up than it's time to take a second look at that baby fat because it now has a more ominous meaning. In this circumstance studies show that 31 percent of babies whose mother's suffered from gestational diabetes were obese by the age of 11. This hits very close as a gestational diabetes sufferer myself. This study makes me feel a little bit guilty, but I know that we can make choices that will hopefully counteract the risk.
13 Growth Curves Jumping Out of Whack
A big predictor in if a baby is too chubby is their growth chart. It's not whether their weight is in the 90th percentile or not. It's whether their weight and length stay pretty parallel to each other. If the baby has a length in the 90th percentile and a weight in the 92nd that is a pretty proportionate divide. The problem comes up in two ways. If there weight goes from 25th to 95th between visits that is a concern that the baby is getting a little too chubby. Also if the baby starts to fall out of their growth chart. In other words. Their weight stays in the 90th percentile, but their height is now in the 20th percentile. That signals that there could be something worth taking a look at. You want them to follow their growth chart and stay on a steady path there.
12 They Don't Like To Move
They are physically able to move, and you've seen them try it out. They just refuse to do it. If there is no limitation on why they shouldn't move, and they seem to refuse to give it a try. They may be a little too chunky. The tricky thing is that once they start moving they likely will lose some of the baby fat. If your baby is not really wanting to move one thing to try is to put them on their tummy. They might do some work on pushing up or put the toys a little bit out of their reach. Obviously stay there in case they don't push themselves up and need a hand. If you can think of some different ways to get them moving comfortably try that. Maybe a bouncer where they can do some jumping and kicking that will get them a little more active.
11 They Can Only Be Calmed With Food
This especially is something to watch when you are formula feeding. It seems that if they are only be comforted by the bottle at night that they may be more likely to have weight problems in the future. This means that you should try some different things to soothe. With breastfeeding the correlation isn't as strong because breasts offer comfort as well and they don't necessarily suck to be fed. Will your child suck on a pacifier. Is your child maybe bored and not hungry. Will rocking them do anything to calm them? To be clear: if they truly are hungry than you absolutely should feed them. That is without a doubt. It doesn't hurt to try to see if there is anything else wrong before popping in the bottle though. It's an easy first thing to try and maybe it should be the last thing to try for awhile.
10 They Started Solids Early
There seems to be a lot of pressure to start solids early with baby's. I'm not sure why. I remember it happening with mine. It could be the "promise" of a longer sleep if their belly is full with solids or it could be a wive's tale that I'm not familiar with. The typical timeframe that is approved by most pediatricians is 6 months of age. Some green light as early as 4 months. If you start your baby on solids before that time frame they may not have the proper stomach developed to handle those foods yet. Also if they are heavy to begin with it's generally not a good idea to start the solids. This could compound the problem in the future. No matter when you start the solids, make sure that you are paying attention to when the baby is full. Do not push more food when the baby turns their head away.
9 They Finish That Last Ounce After Signalling They Are Full
This could be more predominate in formula feeding, but you should not continue to push them to eat when they are full. That last ounce if they have decided they are at a comfortable place is not worth forcing on them. This eventually could impede their ability to decide when they truly are full. This can happen with breastfeeding too, but from experience when I could see in the bottle how much was left in there - I felt more likely to try to get them to eat every drop. Especially if there was a standard amount that the baby generally ate. That was the "goal" amount for feeding. Hoping that if they were satiated they would sleep just a little longer or be happy just a little longer when we go out and about.
8 They Are Formula Fed
This is based on percentages and averages. This doesn't mean that your baby falls into this. It isn't a comment on breastfeeding vs. formula feeding in practice. In fact, we fed my babies formula, so I don't love reading this. Studies show that formula fed babies are more likely to develop obesity later in life. Scientists have found that there are compounds in breast milk that help regulate appetite and body fat in babies. This obviously is extremely helpful to the baby as it develops. Additionally babies tend to take only as much milk as they need when breastfeeding. This is because it's hard to measure and therefore the parents are less likely to try to get one more ounce or two out for the baby. Once the baby signals being full, it's likely that the mom is ready be to be done too.
7 They Get Snacks When They Show Impatience
This might be controversial, but you do not need snacks for your baby every where they go. What ever happened to just letting them look around? Or chatting with them while you shop? We never started the snack thing. This means that when we stop at the store we don't have to worry about meltdowns over snacks because we never gave them the idea that they can earn food that way. We have done a lot of things wrong in this parenting game, like a lot. This one is not one of them. There are going to be parents coming to tell me that their kid has a special condition that requires snacks and yadda yadda yadda. In that case of course you bring snacks and take care of that condition for your kid. You ignore this idiot on the internet's opinions and do what works. However if your kid is really young, my suggestion stands to never start this.
6 Their Mom Smoked
If the mom smoked during pregnancy the baby is likely to grow up and be overweight in the future. I know, that seems opposite to everything we know. Let me finish though, if the mother smokes while pregnant the baby will be born small, this we know. That small baby will than grow up to be a larger than average baby. They will eat more and pack on the pounds at an unusually higher rate than babies' whose mom's didn't smoke while pregnant. This is according to Matt Gillman, a pediatrician at Harvard Medical School. Just saying this seems like he would know. When trying to give some risk facts for babies being overweight and pointing out that it is possible for a baby be too chubby, he lists this as one of the things that can contribute to this.
5 They Don't Sleep Well
There is a correlation with babies not sleeping well and gaining weight. This might be related to the fact that when a baby wakes in the night, parents often go to the bottle to soothe them back to sleep. This sure is what we did around here. Until about 10 months when my baby was still getting up in the middle of the night. At that point instead of feeding her, I rocked her. Come to find out that often times I could get her to go back to sleep with no bottle. She wasn't hungry, she just missed me. Who could blame her? All this to say, as tempting as it is to stick the bottle in and be done, this can have repercussions. And those repercussions are not "sleep for the parents." There is a danger that this will lead to weight problems in the baby later on. Be mindful of teaching that food is a soother. That is so hard I know.
4 The Doctor Says So
If your doctor has concerns than you should be concerned too. They should review with you the growth chart at every appointment. During that time they will typically talk about how many ounces that they usually eat, how often and when they should start eating solids. Also don't be afraid to approach the doctor with any questions you have your babies weight. Doctor's don't really look too hard at the growth charts until about age 2 or after. At that point than they can legitimately have a little bit of a label as overweight. The baby fat should be starting to dissipate at that point. Again the doctor should be your partner in dealing with this. If you are concerned that your choices are not benefiting your child, don't be afraid to ask if there is a nutritionist that they would recommend of resources to check into.
3 Born Heavy
If your baby was born heavy they are likely to have a higher BMI later in life. Here are things to know about that, it's based on the averages. There is always outliers that go into those figures. That means that there are people that do not fit into the boxes so easily. Your kid could be one of them. Don't freak out. Another thing to consider is that your baby have more muscle than the average baby. Muscle weighs more than fat. That means the weight can be a healthy thing. We also know that BMI is not completely accurate when you are using it on a muscular person. Here is an exception as we previously said if you had gestational diabetes, than it does need to be monitored a little bit more. Preventative measures are pretty key when we are facing an obesity epidemic.
2 They Eat Only a Couple Foods (No Veggies)
This is tricky to know at the baby stage, as they are drinking and not eating their food. This means they aren't like to have a lot of variety. Once they are able to try some veggies it's important to continue to offer these to them. Even if they start to turn into a pick eater that turns up their nose at the option you provide. Studies show that you should keep offering it and making them try it. Even when they whine and cry about how gross it is. See if you can get them to try a few bites. They will eventually start to like it or at least tolerate it. Try to find some fun ways to make them better. Realize that as I type this I have two daughters that refuse to try 80 percent of what we cook at home. It feels very hypocritical to even try to tell you this.
1 They Eat On Schedule
We as parents tend to want to be able to anticipate the needs of our offspring and to be able to fix their problems. This extends to their eating and when they are babies we will often try to set a schedule for their eating and predict when their stomach starts to say "get in my belly." This in theory is a good idea. Where it falls apart is that a baby might not be hungry at the same time every day. Are you hungry at 3 hours to the minute from the last time you ate every time? Then why do we expect this from our babies? Why do we force them to eat on a schedule that way? This can go back to trying some other soothing techniques before doing the bottle. Your baby might want some attention instead of food.