Almost every day I hear from parents or grandparents who are concerned because they feel that the babies they love just aren’t getting enough to eat. They try to coax them to take just a few more ounces from the bottle or a few more bites from the spoon. Some even put cereal in the bottle to give extra calories – after all, isn’t a chubby baby a healthy baby?
Don’t count on it!
Babies who gain more than 8 to 10 pounds in the first four months are more than twice as likely as their peers to be obese when they hit their twentieth birthdays, according to research published in the June 2003 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Healthy babies are born with a wonderful sense of how much they need to eat to grow at the best rate. We want to make sure that healthy nutrition is readily available for them; we don’t want to trick their bodies with empty calories; and we don’t need to urge them to eat or drink anything extra. If we succeed in convincing them to eat more than they would have, we risk making permanent changes in their bodies’ mechanism for regulating the appetite. Preventing obesity is far better than spending a lifetime fighting it. Most of us wish that we would be happy eating less. Let’s let our precious children remain happy eating just the right amount.