An overweight baby is one with a weight gain far out of proportion to height gain. An overweight baby looks fat. Such a baby is not necessarily a healthy one. The infants who continue to be overweight as children and adults usually have parents, siblings, or grandparents who are overweight. Any infant with a strong family tendency toward obesity needs help. Overfeeding teaches a child to overeat. Some physicians wait until such a child shows signs of being overweight before making any alterations in the diet, but prevention is easier than treatment.
If someone in your family has a problem with easy weight gain, consider the following dietary precautions to prevent your baby from becoming overweight. If your child is already overweight, these guidelines will also be helpful. The goal for growing children is always slowing the rate of weight gain (not weight loss).
Caution: Also don't underfeed your infant. Don't put your baby on low-fat milk or skim milk before 2 years of age. Your baby's brain is growing rapidly and needs the fat content of whole milk. While overfeeding is more common than underfeeding in infancy, underfeeding is more harmful.
During regular hours if
Instructions for Pediatric Patients, 2nd Edition, ©1999 by WB Saunders Company.
Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, pediatrician and author of Your Child’s Health, Bantam Books, a book for parents.