Is my 6 month old too chubby?

I have a six month old daughter who is a great eater. I am concerned that I may be feeding her too much. It seems that when we are out people always comment on what a "chubby" baby she is and usually think she is much older than six months because of her size. She is 95% weight and 75% height.

Her usual schedule is a 6-8 oz bottle of formula first thing in the morning, 1/4 - 1/2 cup of cereal and 1/2 jar - jar of fruit later in the am, 6-8 oz bottle at lunchtime, veg./fruit in later afternoon, 2 oz juice/6 oz water bottle (should it be in a cup now?) as a snack, fruit/veg. in later pm. and one last 6-8 oz bottle before bedtime. Does this seem excessive?

Occasionally, she will still want a little more vegetable or fruit during the day, and I have been giving it to her. I feel pretty confident that I am feeding her appropriately, but am sorry to admit that other people's comments (including some of our family members) about her size/weight are making me question myself. Does the weight gain begin to eventually taper off? I guess I worry that she will have a future weight problem based on her rapid gain this first half year. What do you think?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Amy,

First, let me comment on the food you are feeding your daughter...which is wonderful. You are providing her with a nutritionally balanced diet, on a great schedule. The fact that you let her have more when she indicates to you that she wants more means that you are tuning into her cues and are responding to them, which is going a long way towards developing a positive feeding relationship with her. You are not only feeding your daughter appropriately, you are feeding her marvelously. The most important thing a parent can do to help a their child not become a fat adult, is to let their child stay in touch with their body's signals of hunger and satiety. That means helping your child to eat according to internal cues, and not external expectations on either thinness of fatness.

Secondly, the fact that your daughter is in the 95% for weight and 75% for height does not mean she is fat. For any particular height, there is a wide variability of what is a normal weight. Just as two six foot men can weigh either 160 and 180, both can be 'normal' depending on their body type. Babies are the same way. A baby is supposed to be 'chubby'. Babies have a much higher percentage of body fat than older children or adults. It naturally drops as they grow. There is no evidence that a fat baby will grow to be a fat adult. In fact, there is little relationship between body shape before two and body shape later in life. Fat babies have no greater risk of growing up fat than thin babies do.

I know it is hard to ignore unsolicited comments about your baby appearing to be chubby . Keep in mind that we live in a society where thinness is considered desirable. However inappropriate it is to apply that ideal to babies, and young children, it is done. For some babies, it has caused parents to impose restrictive diets resulting in 'failure to thrive' and untold medical complications, and psychological ones as well. The challenge for you is to tune out to those comments, and keep tuned into your baby. She knows better than any one how much she needs to eat of the healthy foods you provide for her.

My daughter is now 14. She is almost 5'6" tall and she weighs around 115. When she was 6 months old, she was in the 95% for weight and 75% for height...exactly like your baby! I used to get loads of comments about my chubby baby too. She was always one of the bigger kids, and still is. That's just who she is. Helping kids develop into the healthiest person they were designed to be is the parents job. By providing healthy food and listening to your baby you are on the right track!

Many thanks for reading, and for sending your question, and yes, it is time to switch the juice to a cup.

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