My little angel is only 300 grams shy of 15kg at 15 months. Almost everyone who holds her is surprised by how heavy she is. At 7 months, she was almost 10kg and we have been monitoring her weight chart since then. I believe my daughter's weight may have contributed to her not walking even at 15 months.
The pediatrician however, has been warning us a lot lately and in our last visit, she was adamant that we must make major changes in baby's diet.
Babies are expected to gain weight though there is a noticeable difference between breastfed and formula-fed babies.
A rapid weight gain in babies and toddlers can be attributed to taking too many calories, medication, lack of exercise or a hormonal condition among other reasons. When a baby has excess weight, crawling, walking and essential parts of a baby's physical, and mental development are delayed. While having excess weight at a young age does not mean the child will remain overweight, it is best to prevent it as early as possible.
What can we do?
One of the most important things we have been advised is to watch her diet carefully. Babies need a high fat diet to support their growth so limiting their food intake when they are hungry is unthinkable but revision of their intake is necessary.
1. We have cut starchy foods to two times a week only. Therefore, sweet potatoes/potatoes, green bananas, arrowroots, and oatmeal are included in her diet every three days. We now feed her more on lean proteins and vegetables.
2. We limit the amount of milk taken in a day. According to my doctor, the maximum amount of milk a toddler should take in a day is 500ml alongside other nutritious meals. Where possible, breastfeed more and give water instead of alternative drinks. Some studies show that breastfeeding babies helps them maintain a healthy weight even in their adulthood.
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3. I have not introduced sugar to her diet yet but sweetened drinks and biscuits could have caused the rapid weight gain.
4. Active periods. Because of the cold weather we now have, kids are not going outside much. This means that they have more time to be idle in the house or to sit in front of the TV. Unlimited screen time has been proven as a cause of obesity in children. A toddler must be active for the calories consumed to be burned.
For toddlers like my daughter who have not started walking yet, the baby walker and other fun games like rolling over are best to solve this problem.
Chubby cheeks are too sweet to resist but when the weight gain is rapid and visible to the eye, it is good to ask why even if it is not captured in the growth chart. Consult your doctor before taking any measures.