Dear Bundoo: Is my child obese?
One mom details her feeding schedule for her 6-month-old infant and worries that—based on her pediatrician’s comments—her son may be suffering from obesity. Is he really overweight? See what our expert says.
My son will be 6 months old tomorrow and weighs about 20 pounds. He was 7 lb. 7 oz. when he was born and gained weight steadily the first four months. At 4 months of age, he weighed 13 lb. 7 oz. Then all of a sudden, over the next two months he gained four more pounds, and now he weighs 20 pounds. When my pediatrician saw how much weight my son had gained, he mentioned obesity and diabetes if I didn’t get his weight under control. I haven’t increased how much my son eats. I’m feeding 16-22 oz. of EBM a day, plus one jar of baby food at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Should I be concerned?
Dear Weight Worrier,
With the rise in obesity in the US, parents and pediatricians alike are understandably concerned. Obesity at a young age puts children at risk for diseases previously only seen in adulthood, such as Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Breastfeeding is one of the ways to prevent obesity in babies, so you should feel great about that. In addition, we recommend beginning solid foods at age 6 months, never putting cereal or other foods in a bottle, and watching for signs that a baby is full to avoid overfeeding.
If you are doing all of those things, then your baby is gaining according to his genetic code and therefore there is no need to worry. Continue EBM and feeding healthy veggies, fruits, and protein. Avoid juice and simple starches like cereals. Your son will be weighed again at his 9- and 12-month visits, and you will likely get a better idea of his overall growth. If obesity is an issue in your family history, discuss that with your pediatrician as you begin feeding your son more foods. Together you can make sure you are feeding your baby what he needs to grow and thrive without putting him at risk for obesity.
Answered by Dr. Sara Connolly, Bundoo Pediatrician
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