A Chubby Baby is Not a Sign of Future Obesity

Baby looking off into the distance.

With childhood obesity on the rise, should parents be concerned about the weight of their babies?

Experts say parents should ask their child’s healthcare provider to keep track of their child's weight from birth on up. But they shouldn't worry about the weight of a child younger than age 2.

Experts say there is no information to support the belief that children in this age group who are chubby are more likely to be heavier later.

Start healthy habits now

Here are some healthy habits to try:

  • Breastfeed only for the first 6 months, and then continue to breastfeed along with supplemental foods until age 1 or longer as desired by mother and baby. Babies who are breastfed for the first 6 months tend to be leaner. One reason is that breastfed babies only eat when they are hungry, not when encouraged by parents.

  • Unless instructed by your child's healthcare provider, don't encourage your baby to finish every bottle.

  • Offer more fruits and vegetables, and less cereal and grains. Continue to offer fruits and vegetables as finger foods are introduced.

  • Give only breastmilk or formula in bottles, unless told otherwise by your child's healthcare provider.

  • Juice isn't necessary and is actually less nutritious than actual fruit. Avoid introducing fruit juice or wait until your child is a toddler. If you choose to offer juice, wait until age 6 months and give no more than 4 ounces of 100% juice daily.

  • Don't give your child fruit punch, soft drinks, and other sweetened drinks.

  • As parents, eat well and stay active. Your children will model what they see you doing.

Babies stay active naturally as they learn to roll over, move their heads, crawl, and walk. Their growth slows between the ages of 12 and 15 months. Parents should understand this is normal and it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with their baby.