Keeping Baby Fit & Why Parents Weight Also Matters

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Childhood obesity beginning from two years of age can have an adverse effect on health in adulthood. Experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says parents should have pediatrician keeping tabs on their baby’s development closely using a length to weight scale.

What is Overweight & What Can I do About it?

With childhood obesity on the rise, should parents worry about the weight of their babies? It is important to have healthy weight gain and not obsess about this for children younger than two years.

However, the best predictors for curbing the possibilities of an overweight child are first, whether both parents are overweight, and second, whether the mother alone is overweight. If parents weigh too much and feed their child a poor diet, chances of an overweight child rise sharply.

Babies breastfed for the first six months tend to be leaner. One reason: Breastfed babies eat only when they’re hungry, not when prompted by parents.

What’s the best diet for my baby?

When they are able to take solids, parents should feed most babies more fruits and vegetables and less rice and cereal.

Although some experts recommend parents give babies and toddlers at most 4 ounces to 6 ounces of 100% juice daily, juice isn’t a necessary part of a child’s diet and isn’t as healthy as consuming the actual fruit. Avoid all fruit punches, sweetened soft drinks, and other sweetened beverages.

Keep Baby Engaged

Aside from eating right, make sure baby stays active. Babies stay active naturally as they learn to roll over, move their heads, crawl, and walk. Don’t confine them to a crib or rein in their activity, as children will stop and put themselves to sleep when they are tired.

Not only is it healthy from a health perspective, but providing a stimulating environment for an infant’s development is extremely important for them to develop their cognitive motor skills. Environmental deprivation will impede the developmental progress of an infant.

Children’s growth slows between the ages of 12 and 15 months, so parents should understand this is normal and it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with their baby.

To keep your baby at a healthy weight:

• Monitor your weight gain during pregnancy. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can increase a baby’s birth weight. Research suggests that as birth weight increases, so does the risk of childhood obesity.

• Breast-feed. Some research suggests that breastfeeding reduces the risk of childhood obesity.

• Limit sugar-sweetened drinks. Juice isn’t a necessary part of a baby’s diet. As you start introducing solid foods, consider offering nutritious whole fruits and vegetables instead.

• Experiment with ways to soothe your baby. Don’t automatically turn to breast milk or formula to quiet your baby’s cries. Sometimes a new position, a calmer environment or a gentle touch is all that’s needed.

• Limit media use. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media use by children younger than 2 years. The more TV your child watches, the greater his or her risk of becoming overweight.

As your child gets older, continue talking to his or her doctor about weight and nutrition. For additional guidance, you might consult a registered dietitian as well.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics