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How to Deal With Unsolicited Advice About Your “Big” Baby

By Amalah

Help! As a fellow large-baby-birther, I need a bit of perspective.

I’m a first time mom to what I have to say is quite possibly the world’s most adorable 10 week old baby girl. At birth, she came in at a hefty 9lb 10oz, 21.5in long. My husband took a picture of her right after they plopped her into the little baby scale in the hospital room and she just takes up the whole thing. At her 1 month appointment she was up to 12lbs and 25.5in. Now, by 10 weeks, she’s easily 14-15lbs and wearing 6mo footed pjs that aren’t even big on her, just a little roomy.

Obviously, I think she’s perfect. The rest of the world, however, seems to think I’m overfeeding her, setting her up for lifelong obesity. I legit had someone tell me that large infants lead to obese children. She can’t even crawl yet! How can you have an “obese” 10 week old? Another suggested adding cereal to her bottles so she’s eating less often. She had this whole theory of adding 2 months if they’re over a certain weight (so essentially, treat her like a 4month old). She was just a cute little old lady, but still! I’ve brushed it off as long as possible, but now I need some reassurance that doesn’t come from the depths of Google – can you really overfeed an infant?

Since I’ve started work again and she’s in daycare, she gets about 75/25 breastmilk to formula, depending on the day. The first feed of the day is a little up in the air depending on when she wakes up for the previous feed (she might eat at home or she might skip it altogether), but otherwise she gets 4 bottles at daycare, eats twice more in the evening and then once again in the middle of the night. For a bottle, she’ll easily toss back 5-6oz. When I pump at work, I get 5-5.5oz, so that seems pretty on par with the bottle. I would think if she were truly overfed, she’d have the good sense to puke it back up, but maybe I’m wrong.

I realize I’m being a little irrational (again, babies? obese? what?) but I guess when enough people say it, it starts to stick in your head. I kind of remember you saying that Noah was a larger baby – did you get this same kind of “advice”? The whole top of the percentile chart thing should all even out as she gets a little older, right? Lastly, why can’t people just be nice to new moms and their babies?? Sheesh!

Thanks for the help!!

I’m sitting here making a Minion-from-Despicable-Me face and noise — WHAAAAAAT?  But then, when I think about it, yeeeeeahhh I do have some similar memories from after Noah was born (at a whopping 9 pounds, 15 ounces), of getting weird comments and (BAD AND WRONG) assvice from both well-meaning clueless people and straight-up concern trolls. So let’s just cut through the crap, because it’s Friday and we all have better things to do with our time than give this assvice any more headspace than it deserves. (Which is none.)

No. Your daughter is not “obese.” No, high birth weights are not a harbinger of doom for obesity later in life.

No, you cannot overfeed an infant. Infants aren’t like us entire-bag-o-chips eating adults  — they are born with the instinct to self-regulate their intake. Yes, your daughter’s feeding schedule and intake is perfectly appropriate. And no, NO, you should absolutely NOT be considering giving a 10-week-old baby cereal to make her “eat less.”

(Yes, we’ve all seen the viral outliers of BIGGEST TODDLER ON EARTH stories, but if you read the details you will see that none of those children got there naturally via breastmilk or formula, but either underlying health issues, or from parents who sadly, had absolutely no clue how to feed their children and fed them diets of highly processed junk food and sugary drinks from a ridiculously young age.)

You know this, I think. You just need to realize you know this. It’s really part of the first-time mom experience — you slowly work on growing a thicker skin made entirely out of self-confidence cells.

Nice little old ladies in the grocery store, by the way, should be universally treated with a polite smile and a nod, and nothing more. Believe me, if it wasn’t your daughter’s adorable chub they were commenting on, it would be something else. I got scolded by complete strangers for having my babies outside of the house at all, for not having them wear hats at all times, for wearing them in a sling where they “couldn’t breathe.” Whatever, people. Deal with it.

My own mother once made an offhand comment to me about my Giant Baby re: worries that people would mistake him for an older child and “expect more from him” as he got older. For some reason that wedged itself into my brain, which: GREAT, considering my Giant Baby ended up having developmental delays that did put his speech and behavior below his typical peers. So I totally understand how these comments can get to you, even as I spout advice, from almost nine years later to, simply Shake It Off.

But really. SHE’S PERFECT. Some babies are big! Some are small! Some are skinny and some are chubby and some go back and forth several times, in between growth spurts and gross motor milestones.

My 9lb, 15oz baby is now an almost-9-year-old who is lean and muscular and just a bit taller than the kids in his class — but then again, his late September birthday means he’s older than most of them. He’s actually pretty darn average these days. My 7lb, 7oz baby is now an almost-6-year-old who, despite being crazy chubby as an infant, leaned out to be my tiny/skinny one. But then had a COLOSSAL growth spurt last year and entered kindergarten this year positively TOWERING over the other kids his age. And my smallest baby — 7lb, 2oz  — is currently on track to be my biggest, tallest, strongest kid yet. (PULL UPS. MY TODDLER DOES PULL UPS.)

You seriously have no idea what their bodies will do — but as long as you try to nourish and love and accept those bodies to the very best of your ability, and you’ll both be just fine.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Comments

  • Anne

    Dude you’re never right to strangers. Mmy little girl was born a tiny thing barely busting the 20th percentile in weight and length and crazy people would shame me for not giving her enough food (like an infant in a carrier right next to my boobs isn’t going to let me know when she’s hungry). She is now a skinny toddler who is a Godzilla towering over her peers. People mistake her for a 4 year old ALL. THE. TIME. And glare all judgey about how she acts like a baby when she has a normal 2 year old melt down. When they tell me something and I point at that she acts like that BECAUSE SHE IS a baby- just 2. Then they get all judgey about her height, like I can control it.
    Whatever, it takes a village, and sometimes your village has more idiots than others.

    • Cobwebs

      I’m stealing the “it takes a village, and sometimes your village has more idiots than others” line.

      Yeah–my son has always been *huge* for his age, and like Anne I got a lot of glares from people who expected him to act the age he looked. Eventually you realize that the problem is theirs, not yours, and sorta stop worrying about it.

      • Kittin

        My little guy was similar. Decent weight at birth (3.48kg), but then he just didn’t seem to put on much more for ages. He fed well, and often, but he looked so fragile and delicate. I had my share of judgey looks, or people (supposed friends, mind you) telling me that if I breastfed, he’d be healthier.

        And then, almost over night, he had a massive growth spurt. Chubbed up, then stretched out, then chubbed up and stretched out again. And now, at 14 months, he’s in the 85 percentile for height and weight.

        For all the people judging, and telling you that she’s too fat, or whatever… just nod, smile, and walk away. Don’t let them get to you.

    • Laura

      “they get all judgey about her height, like I can control it” I agree with this so much, and mammas need to see that weight is just the same way! Your baby is going to weigh what they will, for some that is a little and for some that is a lot. They are not like adults where being a certain size is controllable (to an extent anyways). Unless you are feeding your baby soda pop and pizza, she/he is perfect they way they are 🙂

  • Ali

    Echoing Amy’s advice here–baby weight has no impact on what your child will turn out to be . My once-ginormous baby is now in the 15th percentile. Enjoy the sweet little fat rolls while they last !!

  • Sheryl K.

    I find that it helps to have a response I always use in this type of situation so I don’t get all PO’d over and over every time it happens.  

    Maybe you’d like to arm yourself with something like “Thanks, but my doctor says she’s doing great, so we couldn’t be happier.”

  • Kristin

    My son weighed 18 lbs at his 4 month checkup and was wearing 8-12 month clothes with the legs and sleeves rolled up. Complete strangers would say that he was “huge” or “fat” or worse.  He is now 5 and completely normal sized.  I know how you feel but rest assured your daughter will be just fine.  

  • Sheila

    I think we have the same baby, right down to being the cutest one in the world. Mine was 9 lbs 9 oz at birth, and had to have her blood sugar tested every time I wanted to feed her for the first day or so because they were convinced I must have had gestational diabetes. Nope. At her two-month checkup, which was really a day before she turned ten weeks old, she was an ounce or two shy of 16 lbs. I think at least a pound of that is in her cheeks alone. 🙂 Like you, I KNEW that I wasn’t overfeeding her, but I just needed to hear the doctor say it. So I straight up asked him, she’s not TOO big, right? And he said, “Oh, no – she’s just fine. She might even get to look more like the Michelin Man at around four months, but after that she’ll probably start to slim down.” So I am doing what Amy and the other commenters have said and am enjoying the adorable baby chub while it lasts!

  • Brooke

    With breastfeeding in particular it is impossible to overfeed your baby! Your milk is adapted to suit her needs perfectly and babies are meant to be fed on demand. Breastfed babies also tend to gain more weight/grow faster during the first 6 months, while formula babies grow more during the second 6 months. So you might find that she plateaus after 6 months.. or maybe not! If you are really concerned you can track her percentiles, but make sure you use the new WHO growth chart for breastfed infants. And props for pumping at work, I’ve been there and it’s a pain, but worth it for as long as it works for you 🙂

  • Beth

    People will always find some way of telling you that you’re doing it wrong. At 3 months, my son was a terribly unhappy baby with milk allergies that we didn’t know of at the time. I finally got a non-screamy day with him so decided to emerge from self-imposed exile and walk around the mall. 10 minutes into it a woman who works at Macy’s actually said to me “Your baby looks pissed off at the world.” I wanted to throw a loaded diaper at her smarmy face. A year later I actually still have people telling me he looks pissed at the world (why???). He actually is a nice little chap who inherited his mama’s relaxed b**** face.

    But I get where you’re coming from, LW. It’s hard to hear it constantly and not start to doubt yourself. If it makes you feel batter, my little guy is my third and I still get doubts about my competency and my child’s happiness just because some complete stranger diagnoses my one-year old as clinically depressed. You and only you know what’s up and as long as you’re happy, your baby’s happy, and your doctor’s chill about it then the rest you just have to learn to laugh at.

  • Angela

    When I talk to a mom with a baby, I just say: “He (or she) is SO CUTE!” And that’s it. You can’t go wrong with saying a baby’s cute, so I keep any non-nice comments to myself. And really, I don’t ever even HAVE any non-nice comments about babies… they’re just babies! Aww.

  • Elle B

    What everyone else said.  I’ve got one of those also (he’s 3 now) and still very tall, but no longer chubby.  Luckily, our ped was always letting us know that he was doing awesome, just bigger than some of the other babies around.  ALSO, a breastfed baby is likely to be extra chubby at first, and then thin out a little earlier/more than a formula fed baby.

  • Kirsten

    Oh, man, I just kind of want to shelter you from clueless people and give them death-glares and tongue-lashings on your behalf. A ten-week old baby is too fat and therefore dooooomed?  Oh my gosh.  No.  NO.  So much no.  Nope nope nope.  

    Be confident.  You and her caregivers are feeding her just fine and she has a baby’s innate knowledge about how much she needs to eat.  Unless her actual, medical doctor says anything to the contrary don’t change a thing.  Feel free to politely shrug them off. 

    (Or less politely if they’re particularly obnoxious.) 

  • SarahB

    Hang in there. We all get dumb comments of one kind or another, and this set appears to be yours.

    –Fellow mom of a huge baby!

  • Julie

    First time commenting, but I had to chime in with some additional support. My 8-month-old is rocking 18-month clothing and is 99th percentile across the board (has been since birth). We lovingly refer to her as having “cherub chub.”

    It seems as though from the moment we become pregnant (and every day hence forth), the rest of the world finds it necessary to share their words of wisdom – welcomed or otherwise. I look at it this way, I’d much rather have a child that I know is eating well instead of worrying that they’re not getting enough. Every time my babe gets weighed at the pediatrician’s office, the nurses come out in mass to see the “adorable chubby baby” – I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    Kiss those chubby cheeks and thighs for as long as they last and take tons of pictures. My babe is starting to thin out a little from all the crawling and it’s breaking my heart!

  • Holly

    This can totally go the other way too – my kids are long and skinny, and were as babies too (80%tile height, 15% weight). Comments about them being thin, a bit of a “oooohhh, you’re breastfeeding…are you sure they’re getting enough??” SSSSTTTTTAAAAPPPPP. YES. They’re fine! Just string-bean babies, okay?

  • Myriam

    I always go with : “we’ve discussed the issue with the paediatrician, and everything is fine, thanks for you concerns”. I birthed a 8.5 and a 10-pounder, so I know about big babies. Also, be advised that around 4 months, your baby might suddenly drop in the growth charts. It might be because her natural genetics are kicking in, not because she’s 1) starving, or 2) ready for solids. Follow you baby’s feeding cues, rather than a strict schedule when you’re home with her, and she’ll be fine.

  • leslie

    Yes. What Amy said. Babies are excellent self-regulators. They know exactly how much to eat. It’s pretty much impossible to overfeed an infant. My first was born at a minuscule 6 lbs 1 oz (2nd percentile). But you know what? She ended up being chubbier than all the babies her age by the time she was six months and now seems to have rounded out at 50th percentile in the end (she’s just shy of 4). So who knows where your babe will end up. But not obese, that’s for sure! You’re doing a great job, mom. Congratulations!!

  • Just tell them that all she’ll eat is doughnuts and McDonald’s french fries and that you put Coke in her bottles. You want her to be an All American Girl!

  • Kacie

    My 3rd kid was quickly off the charts by weight, and I think (hope) she is peaking, as she is now almost 12m and quite mobile. At birth she was only 8 lbs. so it’s a little surprising :). She’s only a few pounds lighter than my almost 4yo!

     But she was exclusively breastfed until 6m when we started to introduce solids (slowly) and I am of the mindset that you cannot overfed a baby on the boob. 

    Also, she will have a lower risk of being obese as an adult. Also, I think she will have a better time of self-regulating when she’s full or when she’s hungry.

    For instance, my husband was having rice cereal in his formula at 3m and I think that messed with him. It’s hard for him to know if he’s hungry or if he’s full. He isn’t overweight but I think it’s because he’s trying to be aware of what he eats and how much.

    Anyway, back to my baby. My doctor was so pleased with her growth, and he felt confident that I knew what I was doing with her that he wanted to pay me that compliment. I appreciate him. 🙂

    • Kacie

      I feel like I should clarify my first point, that I hope my baby has peaked and will kinda stay the same weight for awhile. It’s pretty much selfish, since I babywear and she is just plain heavy. She’s usually on my front since when she’s on my back she tends to pull my hair and it hurts. Heh. I still like wearing her. But yeah for my sake I hope she slows down 🙂

  • Erin

    Oh man. I so feel you. I gave birth to a 10lb. 4oz. baby who is now, at 8 months, 25 pounds and wearing 12-18 month clothing. He’s ginormous, and he’s roly-poly, and he’s adorable. The “OMG YOUR BABY IS SO HUGE !!11!1!!” stuff is really tiresome, for sure.

    One thing that helped me, when I read it, is my baby book (Baby 411–love it) which said that babies usually max out at around 40 ounces of “milk” (breastmilk or formula) per day. Some bigger babies may get up to that 40 oz. sooner than others (mine was drinking that much around 2-3 months), but they will usually not drink more than that. So, for instance, my baby was drinking 40 oz. by 2.5 months or so, but that amount never increased, even as he got bigger. Now, at 8 months, he’s eating 3 solid meals a day and is down to 24 ounces of formula.

    But my ped says that some babies prefer their milk, some prefer solids, and some do halfsies–it just depends. In short: your baby is perfect, you’re doing everything right, and everyone who says otherwise is just plain wrong.

    Finally–one thing that has really helped me ignore the “HE’S SO BIG” folks is something a friend said early on when I sent her a photo and mentioned how big he was at birth. “Congrats on the big baby!” she said. “It’s great to have a big baby because size is really the only measurement of health for a baby, and you’ll never have to worry.” It’s not that tiny babies aren’t healthy–it’s that you won’t have to worry or wonder about whether or not your peanut is thriving. She’s obviously fine! (It’s also a comfort if/when she gets sick–if she doesn’t eat well for a few days, no worries! She’s got reserves!)

  • Claire

    Fellow maker of giant children here! Both born onto 50th centile – actually, youngest 25th. Both shot upto the 91st for weight and height. They’re huge. When my son did it at 8 months the person who weighed him accused me of tying him down and feeding him nothing but chocolate and juice until she measured him and realised he’s PEREFCTLY IN PROPORTION! Argh! But I still get them to measure my daughter now when she’s weighed because she’s big and it still gets me paranoid.
    But yeah, no to overfeeding babies, smile nod, and then swear profusely in your mind later!

  • IrishCream

    I am a big fan of “You’re sweet to worry, but our doctor says she’s perfectly healthy/it’s just fine to do _____.” You can say it with genuine warmth if someone is being well-meaning but overstepping a bit, or you can say it with a deadpan expression and murdery eyes if it’s a total stranger getting up in your grill.

    Your baby sounds awesome, healthy, and adorable, which means you’re doing great, mama!

  • My repeated line, sometimes through gritted teeth, is: “We have a great pediatrician, thanks.” “We have a great pediatrician, thanks.” 

  • Mary

    People are annoying. I used to get comments on how big for his age my 35th percentile one year old (born at 6 lbs 1 oz) was. There’s just no point in engaging with these people; you just nod and smile and wish them death with your mind.

    • Laura

      My baby is small for his age too (10-20th percentile since birth) and I get the same comment! When he was 5 mo, there was an 8 mo little girl in his class who was about the same size as him, and after the mom commented he was big (and understandably in her eyes!) I told her we get to enjoy them being tiny for a little longer than most 🙂

  • leslie

    I’ll just give you one more support story. My daughter was born at a 7lbs 9oz, but gained weight super fast (exclusively breastfed, not that it matters). My mom wanted me to give her cereal so she’d sleep at four weeks! Nope. At 6 months she was 25 lbs and a big ol’ chubby baby. Happy and healthy, energetic and alert. At a few months past two years, she’s 29 lbs and leaning out and remains happy, healthy and a fabulous eater. My mom (and others) would comment on our chub of cuteness, saying we’d better be careful, we should use formula so she wouldn’t gain so much weight (whaaa?), etc.
    My pediatrician, on the other hand, loved it. She wanted a chubby little baby, not that skinny was bad, but hey. Smile and nod and move on. And if it’s you mom making comments, don’t let all her issues with food and weight that she did her best to transfer to you rub off on your baby! There is no real study that proves any link between ‘overweight’ babies and obesity later in life. Our society is fat-obsessed, and overweight people (including babies) continue to be the one group that we are ‘allowed’ to publicly make fun of. 
    Ohhh yeah.. Thanks for letting me rant!

  • Just wanted to echo what Amy said with some reassuring anecdata. My son was huge. At birth he was 8 pounds 12 ounces, which is big but not huge, but as soon as we got his feeding issues figured out (I had major undersupply) he just went shooting off the charts. He was 27 pounds (and in size 24-month clothing) at 7 months old. At three months, he was in 12-month clothing. He was so far off the charts (for all three of his measurements) that the pediatrician would print off his measurements plotted on a graph and it would just be these Xes, floating in the sky waaaay over the top of the 95th percentile curve. At two months old he was eating almost 40 ounces of formula per day. The number of comments we got about his future NFL linebacker career was out of control. I had friends ask if maybe he had some sort of adrenal problem or maybe excess growth hormone? Because he was just. so. big.

    And I worried! I asked my pediatrician multiple times. Is he too big? Is it because he eats formula? Should we not let him self-regulate his intake? Is this going to be a lifelong problem? And she said nope, nope, nope. He’s fine, he’s healthy, he’s growing, he’s eating what he needs.

    And she was right! By about 18 months to two years, he was coming back down onto the charts. Now, at age 3.5, he’s about 41 inches tall and 38 pounds, which puts him roughly in the 70th-80th percentile for size. He is healthy and active and just totally fine. Big babies are fine! If they stay big, it’s fine! But in all likelihood your little one will end up somewhere in the middle of the chart, because infant size isn’t much of a predictor of adult size. Hence why the idea of infant obesity is so ludicrous. Your baby is fine! Perfect, even. Baby fat rolls are the best. More for you!

    • Erin

      Your big boy sounds just like MY big (8 month old) boy! Seriously. I had to check to make sure I hadn’t written the beginning of your post and forgotten about it! HA!

  • KR

    Another data point from a mom of 2 big newborns (both 9lbs 3 oz at birth), one of whom got HUGE throughout her first year (“well, SOMEONE gets plenty to eat” say the strangers) and one of whom got string-bean skinny (“Don’t forget to feed her!” say the same people), both of whom are JUST FINE THANK YOU VERY MUCH.  
    As a side note, my youngest (14 months) is perpetually called a boy by strangers, EVEN WHEN SHE’S WEARING PINK RUFFLES. People make me cranky.

  • LMAM

    Cereal?? Yes, apparently everyone–random strangers included–knows everything about parenting, including parenting babies that ARE NOT THEIRS. My average-with-a-large-head at birth son plateaued at around 50% weight, <20% height, and still a 75%++ head size. So I hear a lot of he's "young for his age" and that he's going to be short. Um, he has average motor skills, a large vocab, and short parents. So yeah, he's fine, and your baby sounds adorably fine too. This is exactly why there is a range of heights/weights/times they reach milestones! Also all your chubby babies sound sooo cute!

  • Miss Waza

    An active and health conscious friend of mine had a baby who was very chubby. It was her first.  We were living in a rather international environment and she was occasionally upset by well meaning, but unintentionally offensive comments from other nationalities about her ‘fat’ baby.  Said baby is now a stunningly beautiful, active and healthy girl of 9 – not remotely overweight.  Some babies are skinny, some are chubby – if you feed them healthily and set good sporting examples, they will grow into healthy humans.

  • Stephanie

    My daughter wasn’t a huge newborn (just under 8lbs), but she hit the 95th percentile and stayed there until she started crawling. At one year, she was only 18 lbs. In preschool, she weighed 25 lbs. She’s now almost sixteen and is still pretty tiny– 5’2″ and weighs about 100 lbs. (I’m jealous!)
    My point? Your baby is fine. You’re doing a great job. A “fat” baby (as if there really is such a thing) is not doomed to be an overweight toddler.
    People kind of suck. They always feel the need to chime in and make moms feel inferior. We all seem to grow a thicker skin, as Amy says, and let it all roll off our backs. Here’s hoping you grow that skin soon.
    Best mom advice I ever got? Trust yourself. Make that your mantra 🙂

  • Kirsten

    Okay, only semi-relevant story, but it’s just sort of “How times have changed!” thing.  My mom took me to meet my great-grandmother when I was a baby.  The first thing out of her mouth was, “Oh, she’s a fattie!”  It was meant ENTIRELY as a compliment to my mother for “having good milk.”  

    You know your society is getting too fat-obsessed when baby-fat – on an actual baby – is considered alarming instead of charming.  

  • Jen

    I’m going to go ahead and chime in here with the fact that my first baby was 11 lbs, 3 oz. YEP. I didn’t have gestational diabetes; I gained WELL within a healthy-to-low range of weight during my very-textbook pregnancy; that fat baby is now a perfect almost-four-year old well within the parameters of healthy weight. Babies are supposed to be fat. I think that sometimes people make ridiculous comments because they simply don’t know what else to say. “Yes, I know, thank you, I feel fantastic,” was generally my response to people who deigned to say something weird about the size of my stomach while pregnant; “Yes, I know, thank you, he’s perfect,” was always my response to people who talked smack about his size. Maybe that should just be our go-to response when responding to anyone’s comments about the appearance of our children, especially in their presence.

  • Mercisme

    There must be a ‘total stranger’ gang out there. They convene in grocery stores and leap out at poor unsuspecting mothers who are just trying to raise their children in peace and not pass out from sheer exhaustion, fortheloveofcheese y’all.

    You are a great momma, with a delicious baby. Well done, you. Smile and tickle those sweet little baby legs while you can still catch them!

  • Jeannie

    I didn’t read all the comments but just wanted to chime in with: my 8lb firstborn was 19 lbs at four months and a little butterball. I got ALL the comments about how he’ll be obese FOREVER etc etc. doctor was completely unconcerned. He’s now 8.5 years, and so thin you can see his ribs andhipbones and little six pack. Seriously the kid has zero percent body fat. And he started to slim down at six months. So don’t listen. At all. People are nutty. 

    (Also happened with my 9lb second born, might I add. But she’s only four and still has a teeny tummy. But I expect she’ll be just as thin as her brother before too long.)

  • lindsay

    i wanted to chime in with an opposite POV.  sometimes, being a little rude to these people makes it less likely that they will spout their nonsense at someone else later.  i feel like it is kind of a public service to at least give them a blank stare and walk away.  

    • April_S

      You have a point. It might also help to be entirely honest. Such as: “you know, I worry about that sometimes, but as it turns out, there’s a lot to worry about and feel guilty about as a new mom. My baby’s weight is one thing my pediatrician keeps telling us is totally fine. I’m trying really hard to stress less about things that are not problems, and enjoy my baby.”

      I’m totally ok with  over sharing once the first person enters personal territory.  Want to hear about my mental health issues and the treatments I’m currently going through to tackle anxiety? Tell me I need to have another kid soon so my daughter will have a sibling, and that it’s not fair to her if I choose to only have one kid ;-P. Really, go ahead!

  • S

    I was 9 lbs 11 oz at birth and now I’m overweight! But yeah, that’s probably more to do with ice cream and baby birthing.

    People are annoying.

    But also, now that we have all the large baby birthers in one spot, let me just speak for all of us whose children never even made it onto the charts and have gone through endless testing and feeding therapy, please for the love of god, STOP bragging about how wonderfully 99th-percentile your baby is!!! Fat rolls, we see it, we love it, we’re so glad your baby is healthy! But if you push the rolls = healthy thing too hard and the boobs always know baby best crap, it’s gonna make us on the other end feel bad.

    Sigh … Sorry. The whole baby feeding thing is just too emotional and dealing with judgement is horrendous for too many people.

  • S

    Uh actually, wait. I thought the “talked to the pedi” comments I read came from the OP. My mistake. So have you? This is a real question … With a 1%-ile baby, it’s a given that there are concerns and specialists and blood testing up the wazoo. Is the same not warranted in a baby that large? Wouldn’t you want to know if it has diabetes or some issue? I’m guessing there’s a wide range in normal quantities in milk at that point. My baby’s GI doc insisted we force at least 11oz per day. Obviously that’s extreme. But so too is your baby’s 48+ oz. isn’t it worth getting medical professional reassurance? Obviously the “OMG she’ll be obese for life” comments are bs. But if people are expressing concern … ?

    • April_S

      Good point! Checking in with the ped needs to happen.  I’d also add that 5 or 6 ounces sounds like a reasonably sized bottle, but  I would make sure she’s never “encouraged” to finish a bottle if she shows signs of being done before it’s empty. Let an ounce or two go back to the fridge if she looses interest.  

  • Jenn

    My son was born the exact same size as your daughter, and at 5 months is ~18lbs and barely fits in 9mo clothes. I worried about overfeeding him, but my doctor told me that wasn’t possible and that he’s perfect.

    I mean, I wish he fit in the tiny baby clothes (how did we jump over the 3-6mo size?) and my back is killing me, but I love every ounce of that baby fat!

  • Caroline

    Oh… yes… and because she’s a girl, it will be SO MUCH WORSE, because you know, SHE’LL BE DISGUSTINGLY OBESE! People are… incredible. My first baby was just over 10lbs, the second one smack on 10lbs… the third one was 11lbs 6oz. Yes he was. Yes he was massive, yes he looked like Buddha. No. NOOOO NOOOO he did NOT HAVE DIABETES. Nor did I. I didn’t even gain an insane amount of weight with him. Just a little more than average, I really wasn’t obese or anything. Just had a HUUUUUGGEEE… tummy. Anyway. The comments… oh yes… ”gosh, you must be so worried because he’s so big, you know, about later in life, with diabetes and obesity and all”. Um. No. I’m not. He’s tracked along his centile perfectly, is tall and doesn’t even have fat ”rolls” as such. Is just very big and tall with a massive noggin (thank you, inventor of the C-section). But people must, must, must stick their oar in. They just can’t help themselves. If your paed thinks your little angel is fine and healthy and normal and all those lovely things, THEN SHE IS. No need to do anything different. She’s fine. And you can ask anyone who badly oversteps where they qualified in child nutrition or development. When they stammer a response, you look REALLY confused and say ” oh, just from the way you were talking I thought… oh… gosh. Okay, well I think I’ll listen to my paediatrician then!! Thanks for the advice” then big smile and get away. Don’t bother being nice, to hell with them! Really, life is too short. You have a gorgeous, perfect baby and are working and doing your best AND SUCCEEDING, but somehow that’s not good enough! Oh no…

  • Shannon

    I also had a 95% baby/toddler who’s now a tall & lean almost 5-yr-old. BUT it actually is possible to overfeed an infant *from a bottle*. They drink much faster from a bottle than directly from the breast, and most daycare providers accidentally overfeed as a way of comforting babies. Kellymom.com is an evidence-based breastfeeding resource website & they recommend providing breast milk in bottles no larger than 4oz, and using “paced bottle-feeding” (watch a YouTube video of the technique). On avg, breastfed babies only need about 25oz/day (ranging from 19-30oz/day) for the entire first year, and it sounds like she may be getting that much just during daycare. More info on how much milk to provide in bottles for a breastfed infant is on their site : http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/pumping/milkcalc/

  • Melanie

    I’ve got babies on both end of the spectrum. My first was tiny and always less than tenth percentile on weight and height and my now two-month-old is in the 90th percentile on weight and up there on height too. #2’s eating patterns are almost identical to the first’s too. They just came out different sizes and that’s how they’re supposed to be.
    You’re doing great! If Amy’s post didn’t make you feel more confident talk to your pediatrician about this. He or she should be able to show you how your baby is growing on her own curve. Also, everybody loves a good fat baby!! (The little bitty skinny ones are adorable too)

  • Siena

    I actually think Amalah and others are not doing this mama any favors by completely blowing off any possible concerns about overfeeding. It would be better to cite some reliable sources for more info in addition to all the anecdata. There actually are studies that have shown overfeeding infants can contribute to obesity later in life and the American Academy of Pediatrics does advise against it in their info on bottle feeding (http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Bottle-Feeding-How-It's-Done.aspx). They advise formula-fed babies get no more than 36oz/day, while breastfed babies need less. This does not mean the mama is doing anything wrong or her baby is doomed, but I think more helpful advice should include a consideration of the possibility of overfeeding, rather than simply brushing off the notion as nonsense. Also, pediatricians in the U.S. are not required to learn anything about breastfeeding, so they may advise bottle feeding in amounts that are for formula-fed babies. Pediatricians should also provide the evidence for their recommendations (from the American Academy of Peds, or another reliable evidence-based organization), rather than just their opinion. Large babies can certainly be chubby and healthy, but the possible risk of overfeeding by bottles should be at least considered.

    • Caroline

      Yes of course, it is always a possibility that a baby can be over-fed from a bottle, clearly this can be an issue. I’d say if the paed is happy, then the baby is fine though, and it sounds as though (not specified, just the general drift) this is the case. If that’s the case, then blow off the strangers with a big smile and ”butt out, and have YOU looked in a mirror lately, you know, you’re at risk for all kinds of awful things if you continue to over-eat!” to anyone who is even slightly overweight.

    • Christine

      I want to echo some of the same sentiments here.  I’m a pediatrician, and you ABSOLUTELY can overfeed a baby, with formula and also with breast milk.  Yes, it can be done!  In fact, back when I was a peds intern (OMG, 11 years ago), there was a 9 month old in our hospital who weighed about 90 pounds.  Yes, 9-0.  He was getting an extensive endocrinology work-up, but nothing was found except that mom could pump nearly 20 ounces in one sitting.  Every 3 hours.

      Anyways, the thing is that most (but not all) babies will regulate how much they take in on their own.  Some parents will ignore or just can’t recognize the cues that the baby has had enough to eat and they’ll keep feeding the baby.  Sometimes this can go to the point that the baby just can’t take any more and they’ll vomit, but not always.  

      There are some studies that show overfeeding and obese babies leads to obesity later in life, but there are also some studies that conflict with that.  What seems to be much more linked is that children that are obese, especially in late childhood, will have that obesity persist into adulthood.  However, given the obesity epidemic, pediatricians are now targeting obesity starting shortly after birth depending upon the patient’s BMI and other risk factors (esp genetics): http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/120/Supplement_4/S164.full

      One thing that no one here has mentioned is where the OP’s baby is on the growth charts for things besides weight.  As moms we tend to focus quite a bit on weight, but as a pediatrician we look also at the baby’s length and head circumference as well.  

      This baby is too young to be looking at BMI really, but we do look at weight for length, and that’s a big deal here.  If the baby is 5 % for length and 95% for weight, that’s something that is of concern and the parent would be counseled on how to watch for baby’s cues that they’re full and cut back on overfeeding.  However, if the baby is 90% for both length and weight, then the overall numbers don’t really matter so much.  The baby is proportional and things will even out in the end.  

      If the OP’s pediatrician is fine with where the baby is, then that’s really all the matters in my mind.  It’s always amazing to me how many nosy nellys out there will get their panties in a bunch in the produce section about things are absolutely none of their business.

      Finally, it isn’t true that Pediatricians aren’t required to learn anything about breast feeding, it does show up on our boards (at least it was on mine!), we are just much more knowledgeable about the nutrition side of things (when things go wrong) than the actual mechanics, because that’s what they can actually test on and we usually refer to a lactation consultant for the rest.

  • Frances

    If you’re truly concerned (not saying that you should be) ask your pedi. I think you sound like you’re doing just fine, and there is most likely no reason at all for concern. But if you’re worried, well, that’s one of the reasons to have a pediatrician.
    If you’re just looking for something to tell the obnoxious strangers that are commenting (ugh! Why do people feel like they have the right to comment on other people’s babies?!), I find that saying “my pedi says my baby is perfect” works well, especially with the older crowd.
    Oh, and I agree with the previous poster who said that it actually is possible to overfeed a baby when using a bottle (even if it’s breastmilk). The reason for this is that infants are biologically programmed to suck for food, but also for comfort. A baby can feed at the breast and remove milk, and then at the end of the feeding, the baby is able to control the milk flow and can suck for comfort while extracting very little milk. A baby sucking on a bottle can’t control the flow as easily and so will continue to get milk even after he/she is no longer hungry. Paced bottle feeding help this. (I don’t mean to imply that you ARE over feeding your baby, just to say that it is possible. Sometimes people see that a baby is still sucking even after a bottle is empty, and assume that it indicates hunger, when that might not be the case.) Also, not trying to start a breast vs bottle debate…
    And really, I almost think you can’t win. My kiddo was very small (but perfectly healthy) and I still get lots of comments about her petite stature. And when I was breastfeeding, lots of probing questions to make sure I wasn’t starving her. Mostly these questions came from strangers, but even family members made comments sometimes. So annoying. Like new moms don’t do enough worrying as it is…

  • Frances

    Forgot to say, of course your baby isn’t obese. And she will most likely slim down some when she starts rolling, scooting, crawling, etc. And even if she doesn’t, I’m sure she is adorable and perfect. And if there was anything to worry about, you’d hear about it from your doctor, not random rude people in the grocery store.

  • Anovack

    From a mama who had an 11Ibs 10oz baby the only thing I will say is enjoy your wee, little one 😉 and yes, there can be a lot of idiots in the village. Not surprisingly I had a LOT of comments during my pregnancy (“Woah! How many are in there?” “How can you even walk?” “When are the twins due?” Etc.). And when our son was born the comments continued, even from the docs and nurses in the hospital who should know better. My favorite story (now) is how one of the labor and delivery nurses was actually sent out of the room to find out if our son had broken the hospital record for biggest baby (nope he was the second biggest). Poor “little” guy – he will always be our little guy – also had his blood sugar checked repeatedly because they simply could NOT believe that a baby that big did not have a high blood sugar (they also didn’t believe me when I said I didn’t have gestational diabetes – even though my doc was right there confirming that!). He has continued to be in the 90+ percentile and the comments have continued but, you know what, we have a great pediatrician who knows HIM and knows us (our diet, our lifestyle) and is completely satisfied with how he is developing. And, I have found, that as your baby starts to develop more of a personality – so there is more to focus on then sleeping/eating/pooping – size starts to matter a WHOLE lot less. Then the “fun” comments and assvice really start!! Trust your baby, trust your mama instinct and, as one commentator pointed out, there are much more difficult baby weight issues to be dealing with so be mindful and kind as well.

  • Okay so my biggest baby ever is my first born who was 6lbs 4oz at birth. I apparently specialize in the small. But she chunked up really well and had the best thigh rolls ever. Like, seven of them, hip to toe. It was amazing. And when she was seven months old I took her to a wedding and some woman in the bathroom told me to have her checked out because “legs like that can be an indicator of Down’s syndrome.” Like um….the actual h-e-double hockey sticks lady?! All of this to say that people are dumb and say dumb things no matter what. My youngest two are fourteen month old twins and are currently under 16lbs each. They are tiny; they were preemies; whatever….they are healthy and growing now and frankly there are two of them so I’m down with lighter. But now the comments are all about whether they are actually twins (they are very fraternal and don’t look much alike), whether I am the nanny caring for two different families (note – if you say yes you get a LOT of dirt on the neighbourhood), and you guessed it, how small they are. “They are sitting really well for seven months!!” Me – “um, yes, that is because they are 14 months.” Her – “no they aren’t. I know babies.” Like, what do you even say to that?? People are not so smart. You are doing a great job; your baby is lovely and you are doing EVERYTHING RIGHT. 

  • MR

    For breastfed babies, doctors look for baby to regain birth weight by 2 weeks, double it by 6 months, and triple it by a year. That means a 9 lb 10 oz baby is supposed to be 19 lbs 4 ozs (if I did my math right – no guarantees on a Monday morning) by 6 months. So, yeah, birth weight matters because it affects how much baby is supposed to gain each week. If you do the math, your baby should be gaining (on average) a little over 4 ozs each week. And she is gaining just about 4 ozs, so she is perfect. Ignore the strangers.
    My first was 7 lbs 7 ozs and doubled her birth weight at 4 months. She was ebf, and everybody said she was the perfect chubby baby. She is now 6 and super lean. She is still tall but she was always on the high end of the percentiles.Her little sister on the other hand, was off the charts low for percentiles. 5 lbs 11 ozs at full term. She is 3 now, and guess what, she is still pretty tiny. She’s healthy, and doing well, but she is still at the low end of the percentiles for height. But, height is a funny thing. My nephew was like my youngest – he was literally not even on the charts he was so small. He is now almost 13 and had a HUGE growth spurt recently where he is now taller than me. He is going to be TALL. Some kids just do it all at once later in life.
    Your baby is fine. You are doing great!

  • s

    Don’t listen to the strangers. I love the “we have a great pediatrician.” I was at the ped gi with my ill son and a parent said “wow he is small” in front of her obsese teen. I didn’t say anything so the teen wouldn’t be embarrassed. Just work with the doctors and ignore the free advice. We are always on the 5th percentile and have the never ending comments. Some commentators stated worrying about over feeding, you really need to go with you gut and medical advice. She is just a baby. 
    S

  • Zoe

    Ugh. People man. My baby was never even thaat big (maybe 60th percentile height/weight) and people STILL commented on how huge she was. I think a lot of people think it’s a compliment. And other people don’t really have a sense of what the range of “normal” looks like. But like everyone else has said, you and your baby are doing awesome. Shake everything else right off.

  • traci

    A few points…
    I was tiny. Doctors told my mom I was too tiny so she was always trying to get me to eat and now I’m obese (but otherwise healthy). I do not have a good hunger sense and suffer from clean plate club issues…

    My baby is a giant (9 lbs born at 37 weeks no gest diabetes). He is long! At 5 1/2 months he wears 18 mo onesies. His short, little legs fit size 3 mo pants. I was concerned about where he was on the charts and my doctor said it doesn’t matter. All that matters is his personal chart and whether it is following a normal growth curve. So stop looking at the percentiles and just watch your child’s growth curve (compared to the breastfed or formula fed chart depending on what they eat).

    Last note. You can’t overfeed a breastfed baby bc they control what they get. You can overfeed a bottle fed baby, they require paying closer attention to their cues. Other commenters were spot on with this one. Kellymom is a great resource for feeding info. Don’t freak out if you bottle feed, the techniques to help feed by baby cues is easy, it just takes awareness.

  • Devin

    People are going to comment no matter what size your child is. I’m 5 feet 2 and my husband is 5 feet 8 so we’re not huge people and neither are our children – our 3 year old daughter is 36 inches and 30 pounds at 3 years. I have a niece and nephew who are both around 18 months and having much bigger and taller parents the children are also big and tall, nearly as tall as my 3 year old. It’s a favorite activity at family events that my sister-in-laws compare the height of their children or what size clothing or shoes they are wearing to my daughter… it gets old! I get it – My daughter is petite, but it doesn’t make her inferior which the constant comparisons imply.
    So big, small, or average, people are always going to have something to say about your kid.