When I learned that Scrunchy Face, my then-three-month-old, was about the weight of your average nine-month-old, it got my creative juices flowing. I had every intention of writing a blog on fat baby jokes — as in, a list of “Yo Baby Is So Fat” jokes modeled after the classic “Yo Momma” jokes of yore. After all, while obesity is a serious issue, fat babies are still considered cute, cuddly and hilarious, right?
Just to be safe, before starting my Yo Baby brainstorming session, I did a little research to make sure that there weren’t concerns to be had about overweight babies. Much to my dismay, I found this. And this. And, perhaps most disturbing of all for a breastfeeding mama like myself, this — a newly released study finding that breastfeeding may not ward off childhood obesity, as previously thought.
But long before they even hit their walking and talking years, infants can apparently be considered overweight. The CDC defines overweight infants as those at or above the 95th percentile for weight-for-recumbent length on its sex-specific growth charts. Of course, eyeballing these charts is no substitute for visiting your pediatrician, but for statistics nerds and hypochondriacs, it might be worth a look.
Being an overweight baby can be bad news. Experts have found that it can lead to obesity later in life. …So after doing the requisite amount of worrying — at the 94 percentile in weight for length, Scrunchy Face was just a hair below the overweight threshold — I checked in with my pediatrician.
Unlike me, he was not panicked. Exactly how not panicked? Even he wanted to joke about it!
“He doesn’t look like a three-month-old. He looks like he ate a three-month-old,” was the doc’s assessment of my baby. Zing!
At Scrunchy Face’s age, the pediatrician explained, it can be tough to get an accurate measure of length — those darn, squirmy babies! — and a quarter inch variation either way can substantially change a kid’s weight-for-length percentile.
But beyond that, even if he is overweight, there’s not a lot we can do at his age: We’re not going to put a three-month-old on a diet, no matter how badly I may want him to squeeze into his infant skinny jeans. (Kidding. Please don’t tell me infant skinny jeans exist. If they do, I don’t want to know.)
For now, we’ll just watch him and hope he has a growth spurt (in length) that will help him even out. In other words, I’m hoping my large baby will become an even larger — just slightly more proportionate — baby. More to love!
Then, hopefully, I’ll stop worrying…and I’ll make “Yo Baby Is So Fat” jokes with abandon. Jokes like: “Yo baby is so fat, when he takes his first steps you’ll have to buy earthquake insurance!”
Or maybe I’ll just keep gems like that one to myself.
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