My 8-month-old is overweight for his age. Should I be worried?

My 8-month-old is overweight for his age. Should I be worried?

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While overweight infants often grow up to be overweight older
children and adults, many do not. Some babies who are totally breastfed can be very overweight, but in my experience most of them trim down as they begin solid foods.

An overweight 8-month-old probably put on most of his weight as a consequence of drinking a lot of formula or breast milk. Weaning that child from the bottle promptly and limiting his intake to three 4-ounce cups of milk a day by the time he is a year old will help.

As soon as your child can handle finger foods safely (but not neatly), let him feed himself most of the time. Some infants will reflexively take whatever you offer them on a spoon even if they are not hungry. Allowing your child to dictate his own intake makes him less likely to overeat. Of course choose his diet wisely. Ice cream more than one night a week is a bad idea. Avoid snacks that are high in calories.

Be sure to check with your pediatrician to make sure your child really is overweight before you become too restrictive in his diet. Some of us just come into the world big and stay big, but we all need to learn to eat prudently. Limiting excessive drinking, limiting snacks to two served at scheduled times, and serving three prudent meals will help avoid obesity in adulthood.

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