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Is My Baby Too Fat?

By Esther Haynes |

Hazel with toy

Chubby Hazel at 5 months

Or have her cheeks just taken over her face?

When I took my daughter to the doctor for her four month checkup last month, she weighed 15 pounds and was 25.5 inches long. “Is that crazy fat?” I asked the pediatrician. She just laughed and said it’s normal. But I had to ask … because people had started to make comments.

When a friend came up from Washington DC, he took one look at her and said, “Wow, she’s a little chunk!” And later that week, when I showed baby photos to a former coworker who also has an infant, she said, “Oh, what a cute porker!” Seriously, the word “porker” was used about my beloved baby daughter.

Maybe I caused this. Hazel was born a normal baby weight, at 7 pounds 12 ounces. But a week later, she weighed only six pounds 14 ounces, which meant she’d lost slightly more than the 10 percent of baby fat that newborns typically lose in the first week. When our lactation consultant warned me that Hazel needed to gain weight, I started feeding her breast milk “on demand,” and she quickly fattened up. Did I go too far? Hazel now has little rolls of baby fat on her thighs—we have to put Vaseline in the creases to avoid “chub rub.” Last week we already had to break out the six-month-old clothes, even though she’s not quite five months old. And Hazel’s cheeks have inflated drastically. But who doesn’t love seeing a chubby-faced baby?

I know that childhood obesity is a serious issue, but I would never even dream of putting a breastfed baby on a diet. Not even if my insurance cut off her coverage, like what happened to that fat baby in Colorado. I definitely wouldn’t want my worry to sink into Hazel’s subconscious and give her issues with food (is babyrexia a problem yet? Just wait!). But I’m starting to wonder: Will this ruin her chances at being a baby model?

Thank goodness for Baby Spanx.

More Posts from Esther:
5 Surprising Things About New Motherhood

More on Babble

About Esther Haynes


Esther Haynes

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13 thoughts on “Is My Baby Too Fat?

  1. Kali says:

    don’t worry about it, some babies are just big. Yes childhood obesity is a huge problem, but i wouldn’t worry about it until she’s at an age to, you know, eat solids.

    My family is a big baby having family, and my husband’s is too. Us two short people have breed babyzilla. A 14 month old, 30 lb, up to my hip monster. He’s as big as a 2 yr old and some short 3 yr olds we’ve met. When I was little they called me Jabba the Baby, it was an apt comparison. Our pediatrician is saying the same thing mine said to my mom when I was a baby, that we need to put him on a diet. And don’t get me wrong, I could use a few more trips to the elliptical machine but I turned out ok and I’m sure Hazel (and my Jack) will too.

  2. El says:

    My kids were all 90% for height and weight until about a year, then they dramatically fell off the curve and have settled into about 50% for height and 30% for weight. Ebf babies gain weight differently, heavier up front then slim out as they grow. Nothing to worry about at all. In fact, imjust commented to my husband I miss my little girls fat rolls on her legs I used to rub as she fell asleep!

  3. PlumbLucky says:

    I can’t imagine that a pound is going to put her over the 100% mark at four months (Babe the Younger was squarely at the 50%ile mark at her four month checkup at 14#). And we’re already in 6 mo. clothes because she is so.darn.LONG with short little leggers.

  4. Amy K says:

    Abby is 14 lbs at her 4 month checkup and that put her at 50%, just like PlumbLucky’s babe. People just say what they say. Babies are supposed to be chunky because they grow so quickly, but people have been trained to think all fat = obesity.

  5. Heather says:

    People LOVE to call little babies fat! It’s a positive thing to most people because a chubby baby= a happy baby. My terrible uncle told me my daughter was just like her mom, a chubby one. Ummm… WTF, I have no idea what he thought he was saying! With a 37 week ultrasound during my pregnancy, the ultrasound tech told me my baby had chubby cheeks which was very true. She looked very chubby because of the cheeks for her first 9 months even though she was 25% for weight and 35% for height. Basically this taught me that people have NO idea what they are talking about when they say your baby is chubby or fat. How can they say a 25% percentile baby is fat? When a baby is bundled in a diaper, clothes and blanket there is no way to tell how big a baby is.

  6. Naomi says:

    Ummm…yeah….Fuzzball is not even 4 months and I’m pretty sure he’s at least 17lbs. My other son was like this too. Both EBF. Now the older one is 2 1/5 and in the 50%tile for weight. Definitely don’t stress about it. They tank up and then once they start moving they slim down.

  7. Naomi says:

    that’s 2 1/2 not 2 1/5!

  8. Jen says:

    My oldest was 19 pounds at 4 months. He was huge, arm rings and thigh rings. But, he was BF exclusively and the doctor was totally unconcerned (obviously he’d gained well all along) because of the breastfeeding. He’s now a totally normal weight, fit 19 year old.

  9. Devora says:

    First of all your daughter is beautiful and no one should use the term porker to describe that cute little face. Maybe you should describe said person as Dumbass to get that point across. My 10th month old Noah has the same little Cherub cheeks and gets the chunky comment all the time. His aunt nicknamed him her chunkster. But according to his pediatrician he is progressing normally. So enjoy her little chunky self and don’t worry.

  10. Lee says:

    My son changed onsie sizes every month for his first four month (completely breastfed on demand). He was massive. And now, at almost two years, he’s perfectly average. He’s actually a little on the skinny side. Babies gain weight when they need it and lose it when they grow. And they grow in their own way. Don’t worry.

  11. tam says:

    You CANNOT overfeed a breastfed baby, She is just what she is supposed to be. The charts pediatricians use are usually based on formula fed babies. In comparison, breastfed babies may be bigger in the early months and then even out when they get closer to a year old. Don’t worry about a chubby breastfed baby!!

  12. Jennifer H. says:

    Hehe, don’t sweat it. You can’t overfeed a breastfed baby. They self regulate their food intake (one of the perks of bfing, they learn to stop when they’re full, not when the bottle is empty). Feed on demand, delay solids till after 6 months (we’re starting at 7-8 months and following recommendations to skip cereals at first and always breastfeed before offering any solid food). At any rate, my boy is chunky too, as were my siblings and I. Then we became string beans! We ran it all off in toddlerhood, LOL. The thing with bf babies – they chunk up from the get go and then thin out once they start walking well. They need that chubble and it evens out.

    Everyone says our baby is chubby too, he’s in the 50th range on about everything. My friend’s son was in the 90′s and better, as is his little sister. He’s right on track at 3 years old, not chubby *at all*, and I bet you his sister will be the same way. Baby chubble is so cute, love it while it lasts!

  13. Ash says:

    This post hit home for sure! My TWO month old is 13 pounds. Looks about the same as your sweet baby girl. I went through my daughters closet and moved all the 3-6 months to the other side (ready to wear section) to be left with 4 items that will not fit her in the future. 4!!!!
    While I’m thinking to myself OMG MY CHILD IS GETTING SO BIG! It’s completely normal. I like to thank the breast milk for that. I only feed her every two and a half to three hours ( neutritionist suggested schedule) we get the comments as well (fatty, chunky, so on) but breast milk is mother natures magic and is the way god intended us to feed our children. Formula may hold them off longer but doesn’t have the awesome long term effects.
    To the modeling thing, a healthy baby is a beautyful baby. I work in retail and know a baby 9 months old wearing a size 3 girls. Having a healthy baby is nothing to be worried about. As for the health insurance, they are the governments way of controlling us and telling us how to parent.
    I enjoyed reading your blog!

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