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.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

RebeccaC March 25, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Both my babies were big (8 lbs. 6 oz and 9 lbs 6 oz). My 8 pounder is still bigger than average but in both height and weight. My 9 pounder is now slightly small for her age – both height and weight – although she looked like a cute Jabba the Hut when she was a baby. I need to buy her slim pants so her waist and height will fit. So, I'm with you, I hate these articles and tend to take their like with a grain of salt! I feel sorry for those that don't view them with a healthy dose of skepticism.

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Amanda March 26, 2010 at 1:34 am

I am random reader from the CNN article a while back and I wanted to say thank you for this post… I have a fifteen pound two month old (he is tall and chubby) and I am getting flack. But, I know he will out grow it all when he becomes mobile. And, I had a skinny baby before him and also got flack because she had no "rolls". Crazy how people jump to conclusions…

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Anonymous March 31, 2010 at 1:45 pm

seems like, in my experience, i've noticed that fat babies/toddlers turn out to be skinny adults and vice versa. no science experiment behind it, just my observation.

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tamara April 8, 2010 at 10:25 pm

My son just turned 5. He was 10 1/2 lbs when born and 13 lbs 12 oz when he was a month old. He was breastfed. Recently WIC told me they were concerned about his BMI. What? So when we were at the doctors (well kid/school check up) I asked about it. The doctor asked how tall his dad is because my son will be tall. Then he looked at me and told me that he would probably be taller than me soon (I am only 5'1"). But what about his BMI? Oh, hes fine hes just a big, tall, strong kid. So I guess my question is when did being big and strong become bad?

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