Baby Fat

Those chubby cheeks and chunky thighs are cute, but should parents be concerned that a bigger baby could be at higher risk for childhood obesity?

Experts say there is no information to support the belief that babies who are chubby are more likely to be heavier later. In fact, parents shouldn’t worry about the weight of a child under the age of two.

Your child’s pediatrician will keep track of their weight starting from their very first visit. That’s one reason why it’s important to attend well-check visits once a year. Tracking a child’s growth and development can help find any problems before they become serious.

In order to give your baby the best possible start in life, here are some healthy habits you can start now to support their health and wellness as they grow:

  • Breastfeed exclusively for the first six months. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about six months and can be continued for as long as both mother and baby desire it. 
    • Babies who are breastfed for the first 6 months tend to be leaner. One reason is that breastfed babies only eat when they are hungry, not when encouraged by parents.
  • After six months, continue to breastfeed along with supplemental foods until age one or longer as desired by mother and baby. 
  • Unless instructed by your child's healthcare provider, don't encourage your baby to finish every bottle.
  • Offer more fruits and vegetables, and less cereal and grains. Continue to offer fruits and vegetables as finger foods are introduced.
  • Give only breastmilk or formula in bottles, unless told otherwise by your child's healthcare provider.
  • Avoid introducing fruit juice or wait until your child is a toddler. If you choose to offer juice, give no more than 4 ounces of 100% juice daily.
  • Don't give your child fruit punch, soft drinks, and other sweetened drinks.
  • As parents, eat well and stay active. Your children will model what they see you doing.

As babies grow, they will get more active as they learn to roll over, move their heads, crawl and walk. Their growth typically slows between the ages of 12 and 15 months. If you have any concerns about your baby’s rate of growth, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician. 

If you need a pediatrician for your child, San Juan Health Partners Pediatrics is accepting new patients. Call 505.609.6700 to schedule an appointment. 

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