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Overweight toddler

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have a 14(almost 15) month old and a 2(almost 3) month old. My 14 month old weighs 38 pounds and is 33 inches long. When he was about 2 months old his doctor told me to feed him as much as he wanted whenever he wanted so I did... he just started walking, it took him a while to crawl too... everybody says when he starts walking a lot he will slim down... does anybody have experience with this... my 2 month old already weighs 15 pounds and is 23 inches long and he has the same doctor and even though the doctor has seen my oldest he said the same thing about my newest one... so any advice or just similar experience stories would be appreciated so I know I'm not alone... thank you!!
post #2 of 23

Hi and welcome to MDC!


It is true that babies should be fed on demand.  Was/is your older ds bf, ff, or both?  Have you started solids?  What sorts of things does he eat?

post #3 of 23
I totally have experience with this, and yor doctor's advice sounds right to me. DS has been a big bruiser since birth, was 16 lbs at 2 months old, always at 99th percentile of height and, until about nine months, at the 98-99th percentile of weight. Pediatrician suggested I try to make him wait longer between feedings at 2 months, to slow his weight gain, but he was exclusively breastfed and feeding as much as he wanted and needed to. I kept bfing him on demand, exclusively for 6 months then introducing healthy foods. His weight stayed high, proportionate to his height, until 9 months. I wasn't worried. If you're breastfeeding, you're feeding the healthiest food you could possibly feed your baby. If baby is hungry and you don't feed him or her, that's sub-optimal (and, if you're breastfeeding, it can affect your milk supply). Also, I was a butterball of a baby, but a very slender child, and my husband and I are both slim adults. So I knew he'd slim out eventually.

Sure enough, at 9.5 months, he started walking. Scheduling complications meant he didn't get another well-baby visit until he was almos 15 months old. In six months, he had grown more than five inches, and gained less than a pound. Walking makes a huge difference! Your toddler might use up all his baby fat now that he's walking, too.

(Then our pedi worried that he might not be gaining enough weight, as he had plummeted to the 90th percentile, while remaining at the 99th percentile of height. But, as he now sees, our baby hits every milestone early, is healthy and happy and active, and is probably destined to be a tall, slim child. Whatever! We don't live in Lake Wobegon, "where every child is above average.")

I wouldn't worry a lot about percentiles if you're feeding healthy food. I wouldn't worry AT ALL about weight percentiles for your younger one if you're exclusively breastfeeding until six months.

Your 14-month-old is really tall, too, almost as tall as DS was at that age. Is your pedi concerned about his weight? I wouldn't be surprised if he slims out with the increased activity level walking allows. If he gets lots of exercise, eats healthy food and doesn't eat junk, he's probably fine. As our doula pointed out to us, Look, someone has to be in the 99the percentile. It's not necessarily unhealthy to be among the heaviest kids, especially when he's amongst the tallest, as well. Sure, some kids in this weight range are unhealthy, but the top two percentile of weight includes parents who feed their kids soda! That's unhealthy, but it doesn't mean your son is unhealthy just because he's the same weight."
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
I didnt breast feed my 14 month old was on formula till he was a year old and my little ones on formula now. I feed him pretty healthy he has junk occasionally but I NEVER give him soda!! He still eats baby food alot still... But everytime we go to the doctor he gained more weight and I just get worried! Me and my boys dad are overweight we were both skinny kids till about 8 and then we got chubby. I lost weight when I was 17 and he lost a lot of weight when he was 18 but I gained a lot of weight when I was on the depo shot and when we got together he started to gain weight and I was off the shot by then but I didn't lose the weight then 2 years later I got pregnant with my 1st one I only gained 22lbs so that came of quickly but then I got pregnant again 3 months later and gained 45lbs this time and I haven't lost the weight yet. We are both 25... but we don't want our kids to be overweight like we were cause we don't want them to be made fun of like we were... so hopefully they thin out... lol thank you so much for you advice and sharing your expereince with me!!
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
My 14 month old still eats baby food alot, he eats fruit cups, gerber toddler meals sometimes he eats what im eating. Sometimes its good sometimes its not. But if im eating something not very healthy I dont give him very much. He drink juice mixed with water and he goes to bed with a bottle of milk (bad habit I know) My little one only gets formula im gonna start baby food when hes 4 months old which is jan.25 he acts like he's hungry all the time and he drinks 4 to 6oz each feeding...
post #6 of 23
Oh, sorry for all the breastfeeding stuff that turned out to be irrelevant to you! If you & hubby struggle with your own weight, and you feel your kids are eating some foods you think are "junk", maybe you could ask your pediatrician for a referral to nutritional counselling? Bc at this age, you don't want kids to be losing weight, but you do want to make sure they're getting lots of chances to play outside, eating the healthiest possible foods, and not acquiring a taste for junk.

Commercial baby food isn't very healthy. It's heavily processed, often sweetened, and full of preservatives--babies can eat mostly the same healthy foods mom and dad eat, once they start solid foods. That can give them a taste for healthier, unprocessed food later in life. Babyledweaning.com is a great resource and has excellent healthy recipe ideas, if you're into trying it. We found BLW easier, cheaper and healthier than commercial baby food.

A good friend of mine was raised by two heavy parents, and her husband is on the heavy side too, but their kids are skinny and fit bc she bikes everywhere with them and cooks a lot of nutritious, protein-rich homemade vegetarian dishes for them. They have lots of money but only eat meat twice a week bc it's healthiest to limit meat. So you totally can help your kids maintain a healthy body weight even if you're not slim yourself--my friend had to do a lot of research to do it, though, bc if she'd fed her kids with the processed junk foods her parents fed her (they didn't know how to cook), the whole family would be heavy. So she needed to learn to cook healthy food.
Edited by milk monster - 12/17/12 at 8:04pm
post #7 of 23
Ah, our replies crossed. Yeah, fruit cups and prepared foods are pretty fattening. Fresh fruit like apples, oranges, pineapple, whatever's fresh at the store or farmers market, is much more nutritious and less fattening than fruit cups. They put a lot of sweeteners and oil in prepared meals--those things are like TV dinner for toddlers, and it's marketed as health food for children. So misleading greensad.gif Healthy food you cook would be way more nutritious.

Our pediatrician says toddlers should only have 2oz juice, mixed with 2 oz water, only once per day. The rest of the day only water or milk to drink.
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Me and my boys dad arent currently living together but when he comes over he gripes at me when I feed Ian (my 14 month old) junk... I count his calorie intake to make sure hes getting enough but not to much. I need to start feeding him healthier stuff he likes fruit and veggies I need to feed him that more often. Not my pediatrican but one in the same practice told me I should not give him juice at all, 3 meals a day 2 healthy snacks thats it. She griped at me about his weight and I told her about what my pediatrican said about letting him eat as much as he wanted up intil a year and she said that was wrong but it was to late he was already 30+ pounds by then...
post #9 of 23

Babies can't be overweight.  My sister has 2 1/2 year old twins.  The oldest is tall and wirey, there's literally nothing to her, you can count all her ribs.  The younger one is medium height, and very sturdy, kinda square shaped.  Strangers call her Buddha Belly on a regular basis.  When they were 18 months old, my sister came home in tears from a WIC appointment because they actually harassed her about her "malnourished" twin and her "overweight" twin.  Luckily, they had a well checkup two days later and the pediatrician was shocked that WIC had been so harsh on my sister- anyone with a brain can see that both twins are healthy and well taken care of, one just has her Mother and older sister's build, the other has her father and older brother's build.  The twins are still build like that.  Ella's build like a tall gymnast or a ballerina.  You could force feed her all day, it won't change her metabolism.  Emma's build more like a football player, solid muscle, solid bones, solid everything.  You could starve her, and she's never get as skinny as her sister.  They're one pound apart in weight, but without knowing that, Emma feels at least 5-10 pounds heavier, when you pick her up.  They're both beautiful, they're both very smart, loving little girls.  My almost two year old son is very tall and muscular.  He's well proportioned, neither "fat" nor "skinny", but I get comments on him all the time about how he's "so huge" 'cause he's the size of a three year old.  I find it sad that society labels TODDLERS as overweight or malnourished or anything beyond "normal" when they're so young.  Let them learn to enjoy eating a variety of foods, mostly healthy, without restricting food or force feeding them.

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Not my peditrican but one in the same practice told me my son is obese... That almost broke my heart, she said she'd never seen a 1 year old (this was at his 12 month check up) as big as mine. I felt horrible and I explained to her how my peditrican told me to let him eat as much as he wanted for the first year and she said that was wrong. I wanted to say well go gripe at him not me but I didnt... People always make comments about how big he is sometimes it bothers me sometimes it doesnt. People cant believe hes not even 2 yet cause hes so big!!(not only in weight height to) I just tell them hes my future linebacker lol
post #11 of 23
I think so much is genetics! I have a niece, J 28 months old, my DD K 21 months old and my nephew A 13 months old. These kids are all practically the same height and weight: 34 inches or so and 30 lbs give or take an inch or pound. J and A were FF and K is still nursing. Of the three K has the best appetite for food by far - she will try anything and eats most things. She wants to do/eat everything I do so I'm very conscious of what I eat in front of her. She gets a taste of dessert if we are at either grandma's house but usually doesn't ask for more than a couple of mouthfuls. At home I try to save any junk food cravings for when she's sleeping - not easy now that I'm expecting. Basically I don't keep anything around and visible unless she is allowed to eat it and if she catches me with something, I give her a taste and put the rest away. I'm big myself and don't have the healthiest relationship with food but I'm really trying my best to teach her good habits by example. When the weather is nice, we are outdoors every day but it's so hard with the pregnancy and the cold. I think as long as you teach by example, kids will pick up healthy habits.
post #12 of 23
It sounds like that second pedi gave you more judgment than help, Lovemy2boys. Fat-shaming without actual help to examine your diet and identify places you could make healthier choices--how does that benefit your child?

Being overweight or "obese" is not healthy, but--as you know from the harassment you faced as a child--fat-shaming doesn't help people get healthier. It makes things worse, by undermining self-esteem and eroding your confidence that your choices can make a difference. Genetics play some role--since you & kids' father are both heavy, your kids will put on weight easily unless they maintain high (healthy) activity levels and eat healthy, unprocessed foods. You obviously love your boys and take good care of them the very best you know how. It does sound like some nutritional counselling might help you learn ways to identify healthy foods and distinguish them from manufactured foods that make misleading health claims.

But don't let the pedi's harshness deter you from getting the help with a healthier diet--it's not "too late" for your son to move toward a healthier, less processed diet and reach a healthier weight. He just started walking, and he's very tall, so there's a good chance that with lots of play and healthier food, he might grow a lot in the next few months without gaining too much weight. Like you said, he sounds like a naturally big boy--it's totally possible to help him be a healthy big boy. He doesn't have to be skinny to be at his best, just healthy and active.
post #13 of 23
Ps for comparison, at 15 months, my DS was 34" tall (99th perc) and 28 lbs 11 oz. (90th perc). He eats the way that second pedi suggests: 3 meals, 2 healthy snacks, hardly any juice, no junk except the occasional homemade cookie or single Halloween candy. We strictly ration the sweets, but let him eat as much healthy fresh food as he wants at 3 meals and 2 snacks.

What im saying is that over 30 lbs can be normal for a really tall boy this age. A boy as tall as yours isn't aiming for the 50th, or even the 70th percentile of weight. If your boy keeps growing taller and eats as the second pedi suggests (judgmental, but she's right about toddler eating--they certainly shouldn't eat whatever they want, or my son would be eating pie every single day!), it sounds realistic that your son could be back in what doctors consider a healthy weight range within a year or so, without any hunger or deprivation.
post #14 of 23

DD had super rapid growth until she was about 7mos (was about 20lbs then) and crawling and she started to gain far less.  She's 13mos, 24ish lbs, and just under 30" but she runs all day long.  She started walking about 11mos and just never stops and definitely has my metabolism.  She's sturdy, her chubby legs no longer have rolls up and down them, but she eats like a 13yo boy!  I've never given her juice, and she gets limited meats (only organic/hormone free) - her diet consists of nursing about 5-6x a day (about 6oz each time) and the rest of the day she snacks without limit - beans, veggies, fruits (no grains at the moment).  She will toss food to the dogs and tell me "done" when she's had enough and I've rarely spoon fed her - that gives her full control over what goes into her body and how much, vs me assuming shes needs more or less.  I would not calorie count for a toddler, you just can't assume that a certain number of calories is appropriate when you don't how they are growing and what they need.  If they are hungry, offer fresh veggies and fruits above all other things.  They can eat as much as they want, it's healthy, and offers plenty of fiber so it's filling.  If you find your LO is already addicted to the sweet taste of juice, flavor some water by squeezing fresh fruit into it and let him pick the fruits!  The more you focus on 'limiting' foods, the worse off in the long run.  It teaches kids that food is a bad thing and that can develop that life long love hate relationship.  Food should always be a positive experience that makes you feel good.  I might LIKE cheesecake, but I cannot honestly say I have EVER felt good after gorging on it.  There's a difference between content and full.  Encourage them to self feed to that level of content and you can avoid the overeating and feeling full.  . 


You could easily break away from the bottle in bed.  Right now it's being used as a comfort tool, much the same way a blankie, pacifier, or favorite toy would make a child content.  It's nice to have them go down without the fuss, but think about long term - you don't want eating to become self-comforting.  Sit with him in his room, nice and dark, talk softly, rock or sing as he takes that last bottle.  You can pair it with a blankie or some kind of lovie.  Whe he starts to nod, off, take the bottle away and put him to bed with the lovie.  If he finishes the bottle first that's ok, same process.  It's no different from babies that nurse to sleep - mine did it all the time.  But there came a point where she indicated she was ready to move from our bed to her crib and I don't fit in her crib so she needed to learn to eat and not have 'the boob' come to bed with her.  In came 'blankie' and she also chose to take her thumb, and all was well in her world at bed time.

post #15 of 23

I think you should try to forget the hurtful comments the doctor made and the idea that it's "too late" for your little one because he's already chubby.  It's never too late.  If you feed him healthy food and help him get lots of exercise, he will be fine, I'm sure.  (You should have seen my nephew--he was absolutely round when he was a baby, he walked late...then he started running and never stopped.  Now he's slim and trim.)


But I do think it's important to model good eating and exercise habits.  If you're eating junk--and that includes not only the traditional "junk" foods but also a lot of prepared or restaurant foods, fruit juices and sweetened fruit products, sweetened yogurt, etc.--your kids will too.  I know it's possible to have overweight parents with slim kids, but I have to say, a lot of the kids I know in such situations got chubby once they got a bit older and stopped running around all the time.  It's harder to change your habits than to just say "no fruit juice for you" to your kids, but I think it will work better in the long run--and it will be better for you and the dad too.


Have you ever read the book "Food Rules"?  My favorite three rules were:  "Don't eat anything with an ingredient you can't pronounce" (that will rule out almost all the junk right there), "You can eat as much junk food as you like, as long as you cook it from scratch yourself" (because boy is it time-consuming to make junk food!  Nobody does it all the time, especially with small kids.  You'd have a hard time poisoning yourself with homemade junk.) and "Moderation in all things, including moderation."  I feel like you can go far with just those three rules. :) 


Do you cook your own food mostly?  It sounds like your toddler eats a lot of prepared food.  It's a lot easier to stay slim and avoid junk if you cook for yourself.  Also, veggies.  Your plate (and your kid's plate) is supposed to be half veggies.  Veggies fill you up and they're really good for you.  Could you replace some junk with (tastily prepared, I hope :) ) veggies?  My 15 month old can't handle salad, but she LOVES veggies from soups, or roasted veggies, or even just steamed slices of carrots or bell peppers.  I also make vegetable curries and she can't get enough of them.  You could try it--most "kid foods" are pretty bland, but DD loves things that are full of taste, just not hot spices.


Good luck!

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
I very rarely have fast food or even eat at a resturant. He mostly eats baby food and little toddler meals... I rarely give him junk food. He got big before he started eating "grown up" food cause I fed him a lot of bottles(formula) and not enough baby food... but I did that cause his doctor said it was okay. Now that he's finally walking hopefully he will start to slim down. And me and my boys dad agreed when they are older we are gonna put them in sports and stuff and make them play outside instead of watching tv or playing video games all day cause that's what we did when we were kids.
post #17 of 23
I would recommend cutting out the baby food and the toddler meals. Its overprocessed and not healthy. Cook him whole foods. And I wouldn't start the new baby on solids so soon either, 6 months would be the earliest I would start solids. And try making your own baby food instead of buying jars of baby food. Good luck, momma. It sounds like you really want the best for your kids.
post #18 of 23
Also, it's not too early (or too cold) for your big boy to start playing outside (with you or his dad, of course). If you're in a warmish place, take him out riding a toddler scooter, or splashing in puddles. Go hiking. If there's snow where you are, find a park with a big hill, bundle him up and go sliding. I grew up in Canada. We played outside every day, rain or shine, winter or summer.
post #19 of 23

My 2 were huge, roly-poly babies who turned into skinny, lanky things when they started running around.

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you everybody for your advice and sharing your similar experiences with me!! It makes me feel alot better!!
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