home
RSS
February 16th, 2010
10:13 AM ET

When is your chubby baby too chubby?

By Caitlin Hagan
CNN Medical Associate Producer

A new study published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics has concluded that "the critical period for preventing childhood obesity...is during the first two years of a child's life and for many by three months of age." It's the first study to identify a so-called "tipping point" in a child's development of obesity. This new finding comes as first lady Michelle Obama is targeting childhood obesity in a new national initiative Let's Move.

"We've been struggling with the older kids, ages 6 to 8, who are already way overweight," says Dr. John W. Harrington of Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia. "And at that age, it's too difficult to change eating habits."

Harrington and his team set out to determine the point at which a child's weight gain becomes unhealthy and leads to overweight.

"We backtracked and said, 'When did this weight first happen?'" says Harrington. "Since the age of 3 or 4 months, these children were overweight as babies...they had normal growth but their weights were averaging well above their heights."

By identifying when the weight gain first develops, Harrington believes pediatricians will be able to intervene early to change poor eating habits in babies and toddlers on track to becoming overweight.

But the study doesn't change the old adage that a chubby baby is still a healthy baby, especially since babies need extra fat for brain, eye, and nerve development. But Harrington argues that babies need less fat in their diets than was once thought.

"Parents feel the need to feed the child; feed them, feed them, feed them" says Harrington. "But they're not watching what the child is doing."

The key for parents is to pay attention to simple cues to ensure that they're not overfeeding their baby. For example, when a baby stops suckling while being breastfed or pulls his face away from his bottle, he may be too full to want more formula even if he's had only half of his usual serving.

Another cue is to watch how frequently your baby drools while feeding. Drooling from the side of his mouth could signal he's eaten enough.

"Your baby can control their eating habits" says Harrington. "And if you allow them to do that, they can control what they take in."

Harrington suggests a feeding schedule of 2 to 3 ounces per feeding during the first few weeks of your baby's life. That should increase to 5 to 6 ounces per feeding by your baby's 6-month mark. But he also cautions that all parents should consult with their peditrician about any concerns they have about feeding practices or their baby's weight.

Do you worry about your baby's weight? How often are you feeding your child?

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. Kass

    In my experience as a infant day care provider, the vast majority of chubby babies crawl off all that extra weight as soon as they become mobile. They then proceed to be skinny little kids.

    On the flip side, I have seen more than one skinny baby end up in the hospital after they got sick and stopped eating for a week. Definitely do NOT overfeed your baby, but don't put them on a diet either!

    February 16, 2010 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. sandi kubbs

    La Leche League, a breastfeeding support group, has taught for years that babies suckle for comfort–to deal with the stresses of their lives they have the instinct to settle themselves by suckling, which can be one of the few soothers that works in the first few months of life.
    Busy or distracted care-givers can easily fall into the habit of feeding the baby every time it is needing stress relief. In the very early neonate days this can be appropriate as the milk supply is being established in breastfeeding moms, but later it may lead to chronic overfeeding. This more of a problem with bottle-feeding because the milk supply is not limited to the Mother's milk-producing capacity.
    A high-needs or difficult to soothe baby can become an overfeeder , later an obese child,and adult. In breastfeeding, once an adequate milk supply is established, using a pacifier to soothe can be helpful to avoid overfeeding. Following guidelines for ounces/feeding of formula is essential for bottle feeding. If the baby is "always hungry" and gaining too much, it is possible, though not always easy, to guide the little one into accepting a water bottle, pacifier, fingers, or even a silky stuffed animal whose ears will be enjoyed.
    Food is a comfort at all ages, even for adults, but having is as a near-addiction can be avoided by gentle attentive early training.

    February 16, 2010 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jillian

    This past summer, in an ice-cream parlor, I saw a mother with a very chubby 6 month or so infant, feeding him ice-cream, spoon after spoon. She told a friend, "He just loves ice-cream". I bit my tongue to keep from accusing her of child abuse.

    February 16, 2010 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jaclyn

    Does this apply to exclusively breastfed babies too? A lot of BF babies tend to be heavier in the first year than formula fed babies. My older son was always a little heavier than his height and now at 2 he is even 75% for both. My younger son is 97% for weight and around 80% for height at 4 months old but he is EBF. If I can't control his intake how I can make sure he only eats a certain amount? My Pediatrician told me growth charts don't always apply to breastfed babies.
    Thank you!

    February 16, 2010 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. carole

    i am concened with this information. i breastfed all of my children at least to one year. my middle child was the chubbiest baby and gained weight quickly, yet he is tall and thin at aged 13. he wears 16 slim. yes my kids eat healthy yet also have junk food, but they are active.. maybe 3 month old weight really may not determine obesity later..

    February 16, 2010 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. me

    My son was overweight since about a month after birth. He was 100% breastfed, and I even tried minor things to get him to eat less (one breast at a time etc). He would eat and eat, once he stopped I didn't try to make him eat more, and he still would spit up all over. I wore towels. And by 3 months he still managed to be what would have been about 130th percentile and continued to be over 100 until around 12 months. I breastfed him until 18 months, originally incorporating solids around 6 months. Now at 2 1/2 he is still on the heavy side, around 75th or so. I have trouble believing I did anything wrong there. I think possibly this article should talk a bit more about breastfeeding vs. formula, as formula obviously controllable, while breastfeeding isn't so much.

    February 16, 2010 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Penguino

    We are fat, honey. And if we had a baby, it would be fat too.

    February 16, 2010 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Em

    My kids were born large – and tall. I have two boys that were 30lbs and 30 inches (or more) by 12 months. My girl was 27lbs at 12 months. All far off the charts by any measurement.

    I feed them very very carefully, but have never limited breastmilk. They do not consume processed foods and are never forced to finish meals if they are full. They get lots of physical activity.

    By age two the boys stated to thin out. My 6yr3month old is 60lbs but 4'4", which is very proportional. My 4yr8month old is 45lbs but also proportional for his height. Both are higher on the height chart than the weight chart, which our pediatrician is pleased with.

    My girl is only 20 months old and she's very chubby – she is almost 35lbs and 95% for height (much fatter than taller on the chart, though). Because I am very careful of her diet, I don't worry about how much she nurses and I have faith that she, like the boys will thin out in time and, in fact she is already starting to. She started life at only 60% for height and is steadily moving up the chart. I expect that she will become tall and very proportionally built within the next two years.

    I do not think that limiting breastfeeding for a 3 month old is the answer. I do agree that we need to be very aware of what our babies eat, including limiting excessive juice consumption and processed and calorie-heavy, but not necessarily filling foods as well as making sure even babies have plenty of exercise. Even foods marketed to infants by major babyfood manufacturers have added refined sugars, salt, non-whole grains and other undesirable ingredients – it's not hard to figure out how parents get confused!

    I do think that if a child isn't beginning to lean-out by age two (earlier if weaned), then a pediatrician needs to make some serious inquiry as to what that child is being fed and what sort of feeding philosphy the parents are following, because so many parents are extremely ignorant of basic nutritional guidelines. That combined with the low cost of cheap but nutrient-devoid processed foods and today's economic factors make feeding the average baby/toddler healthy food a true challenge for many parents.

    February 16, 2010 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Seriously?

    Seriously? Why don't you focus on parents and fast food. Do you really think that obesity starts before 1 year of age? Are you saying these 6 and 8 year old obese kids started getting obese at 3 months of age? Seriously? This has nothing to do with kids eating garbage starting as soon as they get teeth does it?

    February 16, 2010 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Zach Martin

    I wonder if this will change the attitude that doctors seem to have that any baby under the median weight needs to eat more. I really see doctors as part of the problem in this, because while you would think that they would understand things like statistics, my experience has been that they think every baby needs to eat until they are above average, as absurd as that is.

    February 16, 2010 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Lisa

    I wonder if switching them to whole milk when they are done breast or bottle feeding has anything to do with it? My daughters pediatrician was an old German doctor who told me to feed her 2% milk instead of whole milk, and never force her to eat. He always said she would eat when she is hungry, just provide healthy choices. She is now a thin and healthy adult.

    February 16, 2010 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Going to far

    My son was one of the fattest babies, way above the 95% percentiles. His rolls had rolls but now at age 17 he's 6 ft tall and skinny as a rail. How can theysay that if your baby is fat at 6 mos old or even 2 years old that he is going to be overweight as a child or adult. It's just more hype for Drs.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Diane

    Now we are putting babies on diets? We are going to become as crazily obsessive about our babies weights as we are about our own – will we soon be all in a tizzy about babies not getting enough nourishment because their parents are worried they will be fat? Most people grow out of baby pudgy. If, of course they are steered away from MacDonald's and towards fruit, milk and other healthy snacks. Please, lets focus on proper eating habits for adults. Our children learn from our example.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paula

      I loved what you said Diane. This world is so freaking obsessed with food and being fat. Healthy food is the answer and our example as adults is so important for our children. It shouldn't be so hard.

      December 10, 2010 at 21:15 | Report abuse |
  14. A New Mom

    Great. Another thing breastfeeding moms need to worry about in the early months when you are just trying to make it work.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Em

    Zach, actually that's so true. As fat as my babies were, my friends who had naturally slim babies were "counseled" to the point of harrassment about their thin babies being too small, several were frightened into prematurely weaning their thin babies "you aren't making enough milk, you must feed her formula." Two were put through a battery of tests to make sure they had no terrible health condition, which scared their parents terribly.

    Were any of these babies evern sick or underfed? No – they are perfectly healthy preschoolers with perfectly healthy weights. Most are naturally small, like their parents were as children. Obviously there is some concern when a child drops off his or her personal growth curve, but the rush to push formula formula formula is almost always unnecessary if the mother wishes to breastfeed and has been doing so successfully. It would be nice for physicians and other health care providers to accept that "average" is a complilation of varying but perfectly healthy sizes, not necessarily the optimal size.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Annoyed

    Really? Age 6 to 8 is too late to change eating habits? Then why should adults even bother with diets and exercise?

    And what about exclusively breastfed babies? Are you really going to limit a 3 month old's intake of breastmilk?

    Give me a break. This is ridiculous.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. WhitneyD

    To Seriously? There are understandably problems with some babies and obesity- though I would say more from bottle fed children, rather than breastfed. With breastfeeding, the only cue you have on how much your child has had is whether or not they seem satisfied. With bottles, you see how much is left and automatically feel as though your child should have an entire bottle when typically they would have had less breastmilk. If you're already trying to override your child's sense of being full by trying to get them to finish a bottle- you're predisposing them to eating more than their body requires.

    But yes, I'd say that it's more critical when children are eating table food- if you're constantly trying to get your child to finish their plates, they're going to use a plate as a guideline for portion size rather than going by whether or not they're actually full. And yes, that is important.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. CINDY

    It is my understanding that a 100% breastfed baby versus a formula fed the findings will be totally different. Breast fed babies cannot be over fed. Seems to me that wriiting this article will tell breastfeeding moms to monitor their baby's feedings, this is the wrong message. Formula fed babies will become obese if over fed. Please look into your findings. Breastfed chubby babies are a good thing

    February 16, 2010 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Serenity

    Seems like a dichotomy to, in one paragraph, tell parents to watch their baby's cues in eating, and then in the next paragraph, to limit the feeding to 2-3 ounces and then 5-6 ounces when they're six months of age. I do not believe that limiting feedings when babies are little is the answer, either.

    Babies have the ability to self-regulate. They feed when they're hungry, and they stop eating when they are full. It's when those same babies are toddlers and preschoolers that parents begin to teach those children to override that self-regulation. Giving a toddler overprocessed food. Not being vigilant about the juice and snack intake. Cajoling a child to take another bite or two when they say they're full or done with dinner, instead of letting them learn how to listen to their bodies.

    That's the real issue – is that people don't know how to listen to their OWN bodies, so they teach their children the same bad habits. And instead of limiting calories in the early months, the emphasis should be on watching your baby's cues.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. hmmm

    I think it has more to do with parents overfeeding their kids...which can start at a very early age. Everytime th baby fusses, rather than picking her up, the parent gives it a bottle....etc. I see it all the time. Some puggy fat faced baby/toddler being pushed in a stroller with a bag of cookies and a cup of juice. RIDICULOUS! With breastfeeding, I think its different. The baby will take as much as she wants and will stop when satisfied. I would never deny an exclusively breast fed baby. My baby started out in the 95th for weight and the 50th for length...by 9 mos she was 10th for weight and 75th for height. She was exclusivel BF'd and ate like a horse every two hours...but she was just super physical and active. Dr. was not at all concerned...and still isnt. She's three and still not 30 lbs. in her words...there is no shortage of thin children in this country. She is meeting or exceeding all of her developmental milestones....she's just thin.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Charlie's Momma

    I say that's a load of crap. My son weighed 8+ lb at birth 20lb at his 4 month WELL visit. He was a back-breaker for sure! Now at 8 yrs old, he is non-stop motion, and skinny as a rail. Controlling a baby's instinctive urges to breastfeed as often and as much as he needs is NOT the answer.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. tas20036

    I suspect that the real issue here is that as soon as a child is congnizant enough to tell you when he is full or hungry, you can start limiting how much he/she eats to healthy levels.

    A baby only a few months old won't be overly fat under all but the most extraordinary circumstances.

    On the other hand, feeding a 6 month old spoonfuls of ice creem is more than just a little bit ridiculous.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Ivana

    This is ridiculous. At 3 months babies are not eating any solid foods, which I think most people would agree are the primary reason for obesity (which is not to minimize the unhealthy drink choices, e.g. soda).
    To imply that babies' weight and "eating" habits at 3 months of age is important for preventing obesity is irresponsible and it does nothing to illuminate the problem of obesity and role of nutrition and healthy food choices.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. cheeks

    Every time I see a baby with huge pillowy cheeks, I am disgusted. I can't understand how any parent would tolerate having a blob of fat as a baby. I think it starts before the baby is born when mom pigs out and puts on more than 30 lbs before the baby is born. When mom is fat, the unborn baby is fat. When mom developes gestational diabetes, the baby gets really fat and then mom passes a 10-12 lb bowling ball. I also think fat moms with high-fat diets secrete fatty breastmilk, which is bad for the baby. Parents control 100% of what goes in baby's mouth so it's the parents who need to get a grip. It's hard for adults to diet but you'd think parents would have the spine to control what their kids eat. My parents did and my brother and I were thin growing up. My brother didn't get fat and then obese until he had left the nest after 18.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michelle

      Cheeks, your ignorant generalizations are not even worth the time to refute. I hope you do the world a favor and don't procreate. If you do, let me know so I can have my fat "ugly" daughter (who happens to be gorgeous *no bias*) kick the crap out of the scrawny kid that you will likely starve.

      Depriving babies of the nourishment that they need for healthy brain development so that a 3 MONTH OLD's weight is within the societal norm is despicable. No, I'm not a doctor but common sense tells me that my fat, 7 month old breastfed baby will not be fat forever because she will be provided healthy food choices and learn the importance of a balanced diet and exercise.

      Maybe Jenny Craig should start an infant program? What a joke.

      September 28, 2010 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
  25. Carl

    I do not have a son/daughter myself, but several of my closest friends have had babies within the past 18 months, and it's been the same for all of them.

    Their babies have been chubby until they can crawl and walk. At that point, the weight starts to come off, on top of the baby continuous growing that is happeneing.

    Now, if a two year old is eating a big mac at McDonald's....

    February 16, 2010 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Emma96

    My baby was born hungry. That first night in the hopsital all she did was eat. She was a little over 8lbs when born and has been off the chart since. She is now 5 and the TALLEST in her class (about the height of a 2nd grader). She's not a bad eater in terms of junk food – we don't allow it all the time – special occasions only. Very little pop, she loves broccoli, grilled chicken, baked potatoes. etc. We eat low carb, low/no sugar and fresh veggies over canned when we can do it. She takes karate 3x a week and is in constant motion. Problem? She's 110 lbs and the docs don't know why. Been taking her to our local Children's Hospital for 2 years to be sure her health is monitored. Found out from a family member that she must have the "family gene". When i asked what that was I was told that she wil be very plump until puberty then BAM...Hoping and praying so.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Momof3

    Ridiculous! Limiting a newborn's food intake? This is absolutely laughable. There are enough things for a new parent to worry about, this shouldn't even be on the radar. Breast or bottle fed a newborn will eat until they are full and then stop, unless there is a physical/neurochemical abnormality. Suckling for comfort, as any woman who has breastfed can attest to, consists of a latch, brief suckle then sleep, They are not gorging themselves. Give me, and all the other struggling parents out there, a break.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Cynthia Gerhardt

    My babies were both chubby. My girls weighed about 27-28 lbs by the time they were a year old but today at 3.5 and 2 years of age they weigh 35 lbs (43 in) and 33 lbs (38 in).

    They stated walking and they both slimmed up. My 3.5 year old is a skinny rail and wears a 4 slim pant to get the needed length but in shorts can still wear a 2T. My 2 year old is a bit shorter but still wears a 2T.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. MREll

    Unfortunately, this article focuses solely on the feeding of infants and young children as a cause of too many overweight kids and toddlers. At about 2-3 months, when some of the problematic eating patterns begin, infants are also beginning to socialize and interact with the world around them. A number of parents, trying hard to be good parents but lacking the awareness or skills to interact with this emerging personality, simply feed the kid. The infant is looking for stimulation and interaction, and the primary response of the parent is "they must be hungry." Soon the kid equates eating with attention and security, and it goes from there. As a therapy assistant in a peds rehab hospital 20 years ago, I cared for an 80 lb.s 2 year old and a 100+ lb 4 year old. Both mothers could feed the kids, but had never read them a book!

    I agree with Zach Martin that too many doctors support the idea that the kids need to weigh above average. They are all taught about failure to thrive – which is very rare in this country. And, insurance will pay for "weight checks" and extra appointments for growth issues. The doctors rarely know how to respond to overweight children (and parents). And, insurance will not reimburse for care in trying to reduce weight. We have three pediatricians in the family, and I have had to "educate" two of my kid's pediatricians about the correct use of growth charts. My two kids have always been in the 35 – 40% range and are doing wonderfully. I guess some parents need to also learn that their are some things with which your children really do not need to be above average.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Nancy

    cheeks: Its obvious you've never had a child because you don't have a CLUE what you are talking about.

    Thin mothers can have 12lb babies and overweight mothers can have 6lb babies. It has nothing to do with the mother. Gestational Diabetes is not caused by overeating but by metabolism that gets messed up during pregnancy. I ended my 3rd pregnancy 2 pounds LIGHTER than I started it, but I had Gestational Diabetes. My daughter is now 5 and comfortably at the 60% for height and weight. My first child was FAT her first year, lots of rolls everywhere, and now she is a 5'4" 13 year old with thin long legs and can't keep her pants on because she's so thin.

    I think the obesity problem has very little to do with the first year of life, but more once the child is eating "people" food instead of baby food. Our society has made it ok to over eat, and to graze eat all day long and these are both terrible habits to be in. Schedule your meals and snacks, make them well balanced, introduce treats occasionally (but keep them out of the house otherwise), and close the kitchen otherwise. Get the kids out from in front of the television and doing something and they won't be obese – none of this has to do with their first year of life.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Jackson

    I don't believe it. My kids were all above average weight the first year, maybe even two.. now at ages 14, 12 and 10 they are all thin and fit. mind you we only eat take out maybe once or twice a month, the rest of the time I cook healthy meals and they aren't in front of the TV or video games all day either.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. amy

    Turn off the video games and that will end childhood obesity!!

    February 16, 2010 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. KImberly

    I breastfed my daughter for 22 months–she never once had a drop of formula. I watched her cues for hunger, and responded appropriately. I also allowed her to have a pacifier to suck on for those occasions where she wanted to suckle but didn't need to eat.

    One of the benefits of breastfeeding is that you can't really "passively" feed your kid. You're intimately attuned to how much she's eating and when she's done. Too many parents feed their kids passively, just handing them a bottle and ignoring them, without paying much attention to the amount the child is eating or even if he's hungry; the kid cries, they give him a bottle to shut him up...even if the bottle wasn't really what he needed.

    She's at the 95% for height, but only 70% for weight. She's very tall and lean.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Christy

    Both of my kids were formula fed and were what I would consider "fat" babies. They were usually proportional for height and weigh, but they were always at the very top of the charts for both height and weight. In fact my first was always off the chart for both, and my second was always 97th percentile. My second child's legs were so fat she could hardly fit them in the leg opening for our exersaucer! Both of my kids were "healthy" eaters as babies and I never limited them or worried about their weight. But I made a point to limit sugary foods. Now my oldest is 7 years old and is a complete bean pole! She is so skinny and I can't fill her up. She eats constantly all day long (good foods....her favorite is strawberries). My second is now 22 months old and has only gained 1 pound in the last year (while shooting up in height). This information is misleading. Babies are likely going to be fat until they are mobile...that is the way it is suppose to be. If they don't start thinning out after they start walking, THEN maybe a problem should be addressed, but 3 months is too early.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Nicole

    @cheeks – Mom's weight gain is not the sole determinator of a baby's size. When pregnant with my first child I was average weight, gained 35 pounds and had a 9 pound baby. Second child, I was overweight, lost 25 pounds during the pregnancy and once again had a 9 pound baby.

    To limit the food intake on a baby is ridiculous since they instinctively know how much they need to eat. My first child was averaging 40 ounces of formula a day that I had to supplement with cereal (with my pediatrician's blessing) when he was a month old because he was so hungry. He is now over 5 feet tall and barely 90 pounds, not remotely obese. My daughter is also a very healthy height and weight and eats everything in sight, including vegetables some adults don't like such as cauliflower and asparagus.

    If you offer plenty of healthy food choices, limit the junk food and make sure your kids are active and not spending hours on end in front of the TV they won't tend towards obesity unless they are genetically built that way.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Nate

    There is a big difference between breastfed and formula fed babies.
    Breastfed babies have faster growth (i.e. can get quite chubby) in the first few months, (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/110/2/343). but this growth slows and studies show that breastfeeding for 7 or more months significantly REDUCES obesity later on in life as compared to formula feeding – some studies:
    von Kries R, Koletzko B, Sauerwald T, von Mutius E, Barnert D, Grunert V, von Voss H. Breast feeding and obesity: cross sectional study. BMJ. 1999; 319: 147–150.
    Gillman MW, Rifas-Shiman SL, Camargo CA Jr, Berkey CS, Frazier AL, Rockett HR, Field AE, Colditz GA. Risk of overweight among adolescents who were breastfed as infants. JAMA. 2001; 285: 2461–2467.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Em

    Cheeks: "Every time I see a baby with huge pillowy cheeks, I am disgusted. I can't understand how any parent would tolerate having a blob of fat as a baby."

    Two of my babies were 10lbs at birth (due to genetics, not gestational diabetes). I'm so sorry you think they were disgusting newborns, but that says much more about you than them.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. ACinCincy

    I find two things rather amusing about this article:

    #1 – They stop short of saying what constitutes an "unhealthy" weight to height ratio in infants. So – where's the meat of the article? Also, I agree with the daycare teacher who commented that most "chubby" babies crawl or walk off the extra weight when they get to be more mobile. Inducing parents to worry about an "overweight" baby at 3 months is just ridiculous.

    #2 – They cite an "expert" as saying by the age of 6 or 8, it is "too hard" to change a child's eating habits. HELLO? Aren't the PARENTS responsible for the grocery shopping? The kid eats what he or she is served, or they miss the meal (no one ever starved from missing one meal). End of discussion.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Amber

    Bah, this article is ridiculous. Kids get fat because the entire family eats/drinks crappy junk food. Parents gotta change first. My girl is a tall, skinny weed of a kid. When she was 18 months old, a kid she was playing with (who was a tubby little butterball) started drinking one of those gawd-awful blue drinks out of a plastic tube and my kid asked for water. Genetics AND food habits, it's all the parents.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Stacy

    This doesn't apply to babies that are exclusively breastfeed until 6 mos. of age. I would recommend LaLecheLeague for more info. No solids at all until 6 mos. with breastmilk still making up the majority of the baby's diet until they reach 1 yr.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Kristy

    I would like to see the statistics for babies born to overweight mothers and males vs. females, because I bet there would be a vast difference. My 23 month old son is only 25 pounds and is an active, strong thin little boy. He eats healthy, because I feed him well-balanced meals. He very, very rarely eats junk food. However, I do believe that genetics play more a role than anything. I'm 31 with an almost two year old and am 5'3" tall and weight only 110 pounds. I don't work out and eat what I want, when I want. So, I know why my child is also thin and active. It's because I am! As is my husband. Some things cannot always be attributed to an outside cause, although I do believe that many, many parents do not instill good eating habits in their children.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. DisgustedbyCheeks!

    Dear Cheeks:
    You are BEYOND an ill person! I am disgusted by your comments. I am 5 8 and 125lbs. I ate organic, healthy, worked out through out my pregnancy. Only gained 26lbs My BEAUTIFFUL PILLOWLY CHEEKED baby girl was born 8lbs 6ozs and is now 18 lbs at 5mos. Eats 30 ozs a day and plays all day. She has the CUTEST large pillowy cheeks.
    I bet you are have an eating disorder.
    To call a baby disgusting! What is wrong with you?!?!?!?

    February 16, 2010 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Momof3

    Funny to read this.... I get equal grief from medical professionals from both ends... fat and skinny. Explain this all you critics of those bad feeding habits forced onto children by the horrible mothers..... My preemie is now 10 and considered overweight after they demanded I feed him, "anything I could get into him." That lasted 7 years because of the allmighty chart. Year 8, yeah now we are perfect... good mommy. Jump to year 10, they want me to "help him make better choices." Switch, time to wear the bad mommy hat. My other two children are given medical test, after medical test to cover doctor rearends because one is a 48lb 9 year old, and a 17lb 16 month old. Hysterical to go to the pediatrician with all three. So I must be the ultimate bad mom, as some comments suggest, since apparently the "heavenly chart" says I both starve and overfeed my children at the same time. News flash... everyone is different. What is this need to always make future predictions about weight and health based on what anybody looks like from year to year? My "overweight" son hates ice cream, and my skinny children love it. I guess I would be an ok mom to some onlookers if I only stuff it into my skinny children? Good, then I'll have the skinnest little girls with cholesterol problems, and an "overweight" child without one. Bottom line... my skinny, very athletic and overly concerned with his health father dropped dead of a heart attack at 60 even though he had standard cardiac workups for his age and branded "healthy as a horse" since he followed every single health hoop the medical community can throw at us. He even started drinking red wine despite his religious beliefs because "that's a good thing right now." Doctors and studies cannot predict the future... go ask anyone lucky enough to be alive in old age and they'll tell you how many times "medical must dos" have flip flopped. So please, lets not start taking all this pointless, medical forecasting out on the poor little chubby kids.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Denise in Ft. Worth

    I would love to see a study following the weights of babies from birth to age 18 for those breastfed the first year and those receiving formula. I think the results would be eye-opening. My two children were born somewhat small but were breastfed. By 12 months, they were plump. Now as young adults, both are slender. They also had fewer illnesses than formula-fed babies. Only one ear infection, very few colds, strep throat and no allergies or asthma.

    Moms, breastfeed your babies. It's easy, convenient, pre-mixed, pre-warmed, sterile, loaded with the proper nutrients, full of antibodies and inexpensive. It also helps YOU get rid of those post-pregnancy pounds.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Amy

    PLEASE don't limit breastfeeding!!! There is nothing more beneficial for your baby. I breastfed my three children until the age of 2+ and they are all very thin. I do think infants may be genetically predisposed to be bigger or smaller. The added weight come once they start to eat solid foods loaded with sugar, salt, fats, and additives. I have rarely seen a very fat child who had thin parents so I tend to think the extra weight can be blamed on the diet of everyone else in the home. If the rest of the family is eating a healthy lowfat diet, then it's hard to imagine how the children are going to plump up. Moderation is key–if you never let your child have ice cream or french fries, they may overdo it once they are old enough to make their own food choices at school. But once in a while isn't going to make them obese. Too many parents seem to either not monitor at all or they become so obsessive about everything being ultra-healthy that kids tend to view candy and soda as "treats" and rewards–stuff you get for being good. Moderation keeps everything from being too loaded emotionally.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Follow Cues

    My husband and I have noticed that our 8-month-old loves to eat. He will continue to suck on an empty bottle after he finishes 8 oz. of formula and can happily eat two jars of baby food without stopping. However, we don't refill the bottle, and we only give him one jar of food because we don't want him to eat just because he likes to. Don't get me wrong – we will feed our child if he is hungry, and his pedi is very pleased with his growth. But if he's not crying for more food, we stop feeding him once he's eaten a healthy amount. Much like adults, you shouldn't allow your baby to keep eating until he's stuffed at every meal. Just because they'll take it doesn't mean you should give more.

    February 16, 2010 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Montana

    Cheeks, it has nothing to do with weight gain in the pregnant mother. I only gained 26 pounds in pregnancy and gave birth to a 7 pound 6 ouncer. I then lost all the weight (plus some) by 6 weeks post-partum, at the same time growing a baby who at 6 months is now 20 pounds!

    And my baby has beautiful, pillowy cheeks that I am proud of, as is my pediatrician.

    February 16, 2010 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. graciegal

    By the way.. formula is soy.... as in soybean... as in what we use to make our pigs and cows fat. You want to talk about obese infants, talk about WHAT the "formula" actually is. . . and don't forget to mention all the female growth hormones those little babies are getting with that formula, too....

    One more thing: My parents required us to finish our plates.... one serving of meat, one or two of veggies and one of starch. No milk, no juice at dinner. In my family (the kids are all in their late 20s/30s now) we are all thin, parents included. Telling a child to finish a plate does -not- always lead to obesity. That's a ridiculous statement I hear many of you saying.

    February 16, 2010 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Hilda

    My son was born in the normal range. I couldn't breast feed him due to complications. He was a what with what is called: huge pillowy cheeks but full of energy and fun. I never forced him. he started crawling when he was 6 monhths old and was walking when he was 11 months. Once he started crawling/walking all that melted out. He is still a big toddler to his age but not weight wise. His dad is 6 foot 4 inches and his uncles are all in that range, but they are healthy. However, I am overweight and was overweight before I got pregnant. Was so scared to have obese baby with all what we heard. But did not gain much weight in my pregnancy. To determine children's future physic at the age of 3 months old is somehow strange. I saw many babies who were chubby and once they started walking and running all the fat melted away. My son is 3 years now he is 42 inches and 40 pounds. Very active, full of energy. Does not stop running and jumping and very very healthy.

    Last time he had a simple cold was more than a year ago. I think they should concentrate on being healthy

    February 16, 2010 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. BMom

    This is scary stuff. My sister and brother in law are dramatically overweight and so is their six-year-old daughter. When visiting my mother-in-law (who cares for the daughter when not in school) I started to see why...every time she turns around she is given bread, cookies, juice, macaroni and cheese, etc and is allowed to eat as much as she wants even when she's clearly had enough. I've already had to lay down the law about how she feeds my toddler when we visit. The family is shocked that my son doesn't drink juice and shuns bread and rolls...while eating plain yogurt, fruit, etc. But it's not so surprising when you consider that he learned to prefer all this by the example that we've set.

    February 16, 2010 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.