fat baby= adorable? or fat for life?

This just in: your baby’s delightful rolls of thigh fat are the latest thing you should be panicking about.

An article in the New York Times this week suggests that our war on obesity in childhood is not succeeding as it should– because we are not starting soon enough:

More and more evidence points to pivotal events very early in life — during the toddler years, infancy and even before birth, in the womb — that can set young children on an obesity trajectory that is hard to alter by the time they’re in kindergarten. 

In other words, mom-to-be, it’s already too late. You and your fatty-fat pregnant self have already ruined your future child’s life. Nice job.

I hate these kinds of articles, the ones that tell you the problems facing your children are 1) the mother’s fault and 2) too late to change. I also hate when, in their rush to sensationalize the problem, they leave behind any attempt to be reasonable. Yes, an obese baby should be treated. But a deliciously fat eight-month old can grow up to be a super-skinny seven-year-old, and I have the pictures to prove it. Baby fat is normal and healthy. EVERY fat baby is not going to face a lifetime of obesity. Of course not. But that doesn’t make a good headline.

If there’s a mother out there who will stop feeding her obese toddler Cheetos every afternoon after reading this article, that’s great. But there is probably also a mother out there who will cut back on her healthy baby’s pureed pears today, because she read this article and thinks her baby is too fat. Nowhere in the article is there a voice of reason, saying that most babies who can sit up unassisted– but cannot yet crawl– will attain a brief, wondrous, and adorable chubbitude. It’s up to been there, done that mothers to spread the word: enjoy your fat baby, feed him right, and all too soon, you’ll only have photos left to remember those thighs by.