Today’s babies aren’t little. Not that this is a bad thing, but the baby image has become the tubby little baby with the cute baby rolls. But not all babies are like that.
Mine isn’t. He was born three weeks early (compared to the second due date that we were given). This is considered full term. He weighed in at 6 pounds 2 ounces. This made him a smaller baby, but not extremely little. He gained weight slowly, but surely. There were times that nurses and doctors weren’t happy with how little he had grown. People would ask me how old he was (or worse, guess) and they would be shocked. “You have to be kidding, he can’t be ten months old he is soooo little!” But it was true. Of course, he is now 18 months, and still little compared to most babies. He actually wears size 18 month clothes, which isn’t normal at his age.
So, what does a mother do when she has a smaller or skinnier (then all get out) baby? Many people, doctors included will tell you to fatten your baby up. This is a good idea as long as good nutrition is maintained. It is a really bad idea to feed him or her junk food, thinking, ah they have the metabolism for it. It may very well be true that they can eat fats and sugars without gaining any of the weight you want them to gain, but you have to remember the future. As we age our bodies change, and you are setting the stepping stones for your babies eating habits. If you teach them now how to eat right then they will eat healthy in the future.
Milk is a great thing for babies to be drinking. Have your baby drink whole milk so that they are getting the most calories and fat from this product. Fat isn’t a good thing when you talk about donuts and candy bars, but fat isn’t a bad thing either. You can increase the power of your milk by adding a couple of tablespoons of yogurt to it as well. I use strawberry or vanilla and we call it a “milk shake” mainly because it is placed in the sippy cup and shaken before he gets it. While it is a good idea to give milk, don’t let him or her drink milk all day long. Then they will fill up on milk and not eat their food at meals and snack times.
Cheese is another high fat food that is healthy for us. Adding cheese to your baby’s diet can help give them fats and proteins while continuing to be healthy. Have cheese and crackers for a snack or add extra cheese to their macaroni and cheese.
Peanut butter is another great food. Add peanut butter to celery for a great snack. Or crackers for that matter. And don’t feel bad that all you whipped up for lunch was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It is healthy and a good way to add fats and proteins.
It is a common myth that juice should be added to babies diets. Often it is suggested by people who just don’t know, “You should give that boy more juice to help fatten him up!” This is a myth. Kids are really good at regulating how much they drink if you give them water. But juice tastes better then water. They will drink it even when they aren’t thirsty. While it does have calories that water doesn’t, it fills them up and makes it so they skip meals. When it comes to liquids you should give no more then one glass or cup of juice a day and no more then two cups or glasses of milk a day. The rest of the time stick with water.
Any other fluids that aren’t milk or juice should only be given as a treat. You will hear some argue never to let your kids drink soda, or sports drinks. I am not that much of a stickler and we all have it every now and again as a treat. The problem only arises when it is a habit verses a treat.
Increasing the calorie of a child can be important. However, it should always be done with health in mind, both the health of the child today and in the future. Bad habits should be avoided and treats should be treated as such and only consumed every now and again. Don’t feel bad if you child is small and don’t feel bad if he or she eats well but remains that way. Just work toward a healthy child!