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Baby Fat

If you're concerned about your baby's weight, consult your baby's doctor. Growth, development and weight are expected topics to discuss during routine well-baby exams.

During infancy, the doctor will plot your baby's growth on charts that show weight for length. Later, your baby's doctor may calculate your child's BMI. You can use the charts to track your child's growth trend and to compare your baby's growth with that of other infants of the same sex and age.

Remember, babies need a diet high in fat to support growth during infancy. A baby who's exclusively breast-fed gets about half of their daily calories from the fat in breast milk. As a result, calorie restrictions aimed at reducing weight are not recommended for babies 2 years and under.

Excess fat and calories can still be a concern, though. For example, being too heavy can delay crawling and walking - essential parts of a baby's physical and mental development. While a large baby may not become an overweight child, a child who is obese often remains obese as an adult.

To keep your baby at a healthy weight:

  • Monitor your weight gain during pregnancy. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can increase a baby's birth weight. Research suggests that as birth weight increases, so does the risk of childhood obesity.

  • Breast-feed. Brest milk is high in fat, so consider this when giving your baby other solid foods and drinks.

  • Limit sugar-sweetened drinks. Juice isn't a necessary part of a baby's diet. As you start introducing solid foods, consider offering nutritious whole fruits and vegetables instead.

  • Experiment with ways to soothe your baby. Don't automatically turn to breast milk or formula to quiet your baby's cries. Sometimes a new position, a calmer environment or a gentle touch is all that's needed.

As your child gets older, continue talking to their doctor about weight and nutrition. For additional guidance, you might consult a registered dietitian as well.

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