Call it a cultural problem or just reinforcement advertising, but chubby babies have remained the poster child as the sign of good health for infants in the literal sense. That’s where the notion of “a well-fed baby is a healthy baby” comes from.
The template is so prominent that a comparably skinny baby starts looking weak to parents. Your relatives or friends may have even enquired about your baby’s health out of concern?
“Are you feeding him right?” “What does the doctor say?” “Your child is so weak? You should add more supplements to his diet.”
As much as you hate it, there’s no stopping the unsolicited advice. You may even question your parenting skills. However, do remember, not all babies are weak because they are on a leaner side. Some babies develop faster than others, while some take time, and it’s completely normal if your child doesn’t look like a shrunken sumo wrestler. But if you’ve found yourself typing the question “How to make my baby chubby?” on the Internet, we suggest you read further.
What Is The Ideal Weight For A Baby?
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has its own established standards for newborn and child growth. The governing agency suggests that the average weight of a newborn should be around 7 to 7.5 pounds (about 3.2 kg to 3.4 kg).
With respect to full-term healthy newborns, the baby can weigh between five pounds 11 ounces to eight pounds and six ounces (2.6 kg to 3.8 kg). The birth weight of a baby would be considered low if it’s less than five pounds and eight ounces (2.5 kg) at full term. Similarly, a baby is considered healthier if the birth weight is over eight pounds and 13 ounces (4 kg).
Average Baby Weight During First Year
9 lbs 14 oz (4.5 kg)
9 lbs 4 oz (4.2 kg)
12 lbs 5 oz (5.6 kg)
11 lbs 4 oz (5.1 kg)
14 lbs (6.4 kg)
12 lbs 14 oz (5.8 kg)
15 lbs 7 oz (7.0 kg)
14 lbs 2 oz (6.4 kg)
16 lbs 9 oz (7.5 kg)
15 lbs 3 oz (6.9 kg)
17 lbs 8 oz (7.9 kg)
16 lbs 2 oz (7.3 kg)
18 lbs 5 oz (8.3 kg)
16 lbs 14 oz (7.6 kg)
19 lbs (8.6 kg)
17 lbs 7 oz (7.9 kg)
19 lbs 10 oz (8.9 kg)
18 lbs 2 oz (8.2 kg)
20 lbs 3 oz (9.2 kg)
18 lbs 11 oz (8.5 kg)
20 lbs 12 oz (9.4 kg)
19 lbs 4 oz (8.7 kg)
21 lbs 3 oz (9.6 kg)
19 lbs 10 oz (8.9 kg)
Why Is Your Baby Thin?
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Now that we’ve established the ideal weight for a baby, it’s time to check if your baby is underweight or just thin. And if the baby is healthy, why doesn’t he look like the Pilsbury doughboy? Here are a few factors that determine this:
A baby’s weight and size will depend on their genetics, which is likely to be huge contributing factors to the same. A lean baby belonging to parents who are lean themselves won’t be out of the ordinary, right? Similarly, a fairly obese parent’s genetics could be a contributing factor for a chubby kid.
2. Low birth weight
However, genetics is one aspect contributing to the child’s low weight. A low birth weight due to an early or premature delivery could be a major reason for the baby to be thin. Low birth weight may continue for the first few months. It will correct on its own as the body starts developing. However, do speak to your paediatrician about the growth of your baby and monitor his progress, especially in case of premature delivery.
3. Breastfed vs bottle-fed
While it may seem like a stereotype, there will be a difference between breastfed babies and bottle-fed babies. Babies having the formula are likely to put on more weight. This is directly proportional to the number of bottle feedings they have received.
A recent study found that babies who were breastfed had gained less weight at three, five, seven and 12 months. In comparison, the bottle-fed babies showed more weight gain during the same period.
Is Your Baby Healthy? Signs To Watch Out For
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Your baby’s health is determined by a number of factors physical appearance notwithstanding. And yes, rolls have nothing to do with the healthiness of your child. Instead, you need to check if your baby is able to meet all the milestones. That’s a better indicator of your child’s well-being than other things.
1. Meeting key milestones
Your paediatrician has a better understanding of what the ideal milestones are for your child. Some babies may take longer or lesser time than others but either way, paediatricians consider it to be completely normal.
It’s all right as long as those milestones are met in a healthy time frame. When we say milestones, this includes smiling, holding their head, rolling over, and bearing weight on their legs at specific ages.
2. Soiled diapers
Parents also need to watch out for the baby’s health by checking diapers regularly. A frequently soiled diaper after peeing is usually a good thing, wherein you are changing at four per day. Whereas, regular poopy diapers are signs of good health and temperament.
3. Dietary changes
However, if your baby’s milestones seem to be delayed, you would want to check with your paediatrician for a change in their diet. Babies at times may not receive complete nutrition from being breastfed or from formula milk. They may need additional supplements to build that early immunity.
You need to also look at signs for failure to thrive. The American Academy of Family Physicians says the ‘failure to thrive’ is only mentioned when your baby’s weight chart falls below five percentile on standard growth charts.
Failure to thrive is concerning but not life-threatening. Make sure to consult your paediatrician immediately. It primarily results due to poor feeding and can be rectified by changing the baby’s diet and feeding plan. However, there are also cases of genetic or pre-existing health issues causing failure to thrive. Babies with Down syndrome, heart ailments, cerebral palsy, can have these problems as they grow. Paediatrics use a specialised growth chart to monitor the milestones in case of Down syndrome, Marfan syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome, and Cerebral palsy.
All babies are cute and exist in different sizes and shapes. So parents and relatives need not be custodians of the ideal body weight club. Kids change extensively in the first three months and parents do provide them with the best things possible to make their lives more enriching.
As parents, educate your friends and relatives about the ideal body weight for babies. As long as the baby is meeting key milestones, is smiling and crying regularly and showing consistent growth, you have nothing to worry about. Always prefer what your paediatrician says over others when it comes to your baby’s health.
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