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With childhood obesity on the rise, should parents be concerned about the weight of their babies?
Experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) say parents should ask their child's health care provider to keep track of their child's weight from birth on up. But they shouldn't worry about the weight of a child younger than 2 years.
Members of the AAP Nutrition Committee say there is no information to support the belief that children in this age group who are overweight are more likely to be heavy later.
Some healthy habits:
Breastfeed only for the first 6 months, and then with supplemental foods until 1 year or longer as desired by mother and baby. Babies who are breastfed for the first 6 months tend to be leaner. One reason is that breastfed babies only eat when they are hungry, not when encouraged by parents.
Unless instructed by your child's health care provider, don't try to encourage your baby to finish all of every bottle.
Offer more fruits and vegetables and less cereal and grains. Continue to offer fruits and vegetables as finger foods are introduced.
Only breastmilk or formula should be given in bottles, unless otherwise instructed by your child's health care provider.
Juice isn't necessary and is actually less nutritious than actual fruit. Avoid introducing fruit juice or wait until your child is a toddler. If you choose to offer juice, wait until 9 months of age and give no more than 6 ounces of 100% juice daily.
Avoid fruit punch, soft drinks, and other sweetened drinks.
As parents, eat well and stay active. Your children will model what they see you doing.
Babies stay active naturally as they learn to roll over, move their heads, crawl, and walk. Children's growth slows between the ages of 12 and 15 months. Parents should understand this is normal and it doesn't mean there is something wrong with their baby.
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