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Can a breastfed baby be overweight?

(31 Posts)
queenofeyes Tue 25-Aug-09 17:55:15

Hello all. My daughter is 20 weeks old and exclusively breastfed. She was 8lb 2oz at birth and (like her now-willowy older sibling) has gained weight very quickly. At 12 weeks she was 15lb 2 oz, 16 weeks, she was 17lb 4 oz - I have no idea what she is right now but she is big. (Long, too, but big). It's not the "gentle curve" in the weight charts that they like to talk about -she is creeping up and up - but it's not leaping upwards insanely (she is right in the top of the charts, though). I have just taken her to the doctors for an unrelated reason and the doctor started asking me questions about her birthweight and her birth, how she was fed, how she was gaining, before saying she was "chubby for 20 weeks" and I should bring her in to be weighed regularly so they could keep "an eye on it".
She feeds about 8 times a day (including maybe 2 night feeds), only rarely drinking from both breasts at one feed, normally feeding for about ten minutes at a time. I don't rush to feed her every time she cries / placate her with food etc.
Am I doing something wrong? I have had other comments about her size and it's making me really anxious - can I overfeed her? Is there something wrong with the balance of my milk? Or is she just a healthy big girl? I hate feeling anxious / judged about this but I am beginning to worry.Thanks for your help.

Tombliboobs Tue 25-Aug-09 18:01:40

I feel 99% certain , that she is just a big healthy girl.

She is breastfed, her weight is creeping up before she gets more mobile. I have no idea why it is such a problem. I have seen it happen countless times.

If you feel ok about her and feel everything is ok, I would decline going back to the doctors. it will just make you more anxious.

kitesarefun Tue 25-Aug-09 18:08:50

DD was a bit like this, until she was about 1 and since then has slimmed down loads. I agree will everything tombliboobs says.

Chubby babies are a GOOD thing, if they get ill they can lose weight so quickly therefore need a bit to spare.

Jacksmama Tue 25-Aug-09 18:18:40

DS was like that - chubby chubby chubby!!! It means you're making FABULOUS milk. Enjoy the fattipuff stage - she'll slim down when she starts crawling and walking.

wuglet Tue 25-Aug-09 19:55:22

Another one with a huffermoose baby here!

DS went from 25th centile at 2 weeks to 98th at (?)10 weeks. Followed that for a while and in last couple of months has dropped to 75th. (is 15mo now)

Is normal for BF babies to put on more weight (cf bottle-fed babies) in the first 6 months, thern they tend to lose it (well put on less) whereas AF babies don't - so they end up heavier in the long run. <generalise generalise>

Jacksmama Tue 25-Aug-09 20:01:09

Huffermoose!!! grin How lovely!!

MinkyBorage Tue 25-Aug-09 20:04:01

my ds the same, my instinct says not to worry. she sounds great!

Montifer Tue 25-Aug-09 20:14:47

DS was the same, he was exclusively bf and very chubby. He has slimmed down loads since he became mobile.

Agree with kitesarefun, it gives them a useful reserve in case of illness.

I always accepted the compliment that I must make good milk smile

queenofeyes Tue 25-Aug-09 20:41:32

Thank you all for the reassurance. I really hate fretting about it and it just seems that there's such a panic about "childhood obesity" that even little (or big!) babies aren't exempt any more. Although I understand they might be on the lookout for metabolic problems or something (vagueness due to obvious lack of medical knowledge). I am going to try not to worry about it unless she turns into Mr Creosote or something and will probably avoid the weigh-ins for now...

becktay Tue 25-Aug-09 20:41:45

you're like me, ds1 was always on the top line and had about four fatty creases in each arm grin. he is now long and lean with hardly an ounce of fat on him. ds2 is only on the 75th centile and seems like a real skinny minny baby to me!

sounds as if you and your milk are doing a marvelous job but i totally understand where you are coming from re the comments - why do people feel the need to do that? i would often reply that 'it must be the steroids i'm on, leaking into the breast milk.' that usually shut them up wink.

CookieMonster2 Tue 25-Aug-09 20:53:02

queenofeyes, my medical knowledge isn't much better, but from what I have been told (from experience of my dd having the opposite problem from the day she was born) is that babies don't have metabolic problems. Its just a simple case of the calories go in and the weight goes on. Any medical problems wouldn't become apparent until they are 2 or 3 I think. Disclaimer: this is just what I have been told by paed doctors.

Maybe your doctor is just concerned that you are lying about the exclusive breastfeeding and are actually feeding her cheesecake for supper everyday

I wouldn't worry about it at all.

queenofeyes Tue 25-Aug-09 23:37:46

Don't forget the chips! Exclusively breastfed, except for the chips. Or I might try Becktay's response...Thanks for the info/data.

funwithfondue Wed 26-Aug-09 09:09:06

(Sorry for inarticulate post, I'm a bit sleep deprived).
I've been worrying that I'm feeding my dd (27 weeks) too much as well. She's always been exclusively bf, and I started BLW about two weeks ago - obviously not that much food going into her tummy yet.

She weighs about 9kg, and is in the 90th percentile. I've not been to the doctors with her for a couple of months, so don't have a professional opinion, but everyone (even strangers in the street) comments on how she's (delightfully) chubby, or even 'cute but fat'.

I keep hearing that you can't overfeed a bf baby, but not sure if this is true or not! I'm also co-sleeping, and wondering if dd drinks more during the night because it's 'on tap' next to her. However, it's been an incredibly hot and humid summer where we live in mainland Europe, so maybe she's been thirsty as much as hungry?

Do I need to worry? Do anything different? Or like other posters have said, just wait for her to balance out when she starts moving...

Having battled with my own weight (now an average size 12 and happy about it) all my life, and had an eating disorder, I'm really conscious of unhealthy body image, and of having my dd grow up relaxed, unselfconscious and as-much-as-possible unaffected by size pressures.

As queenofeyes said, is it possible that rational advice that adults and older children shouldn't be obese is filtering down to babies?

Jacksmama Wed 26-Aug-09 16:30:43

funwithfondue, I think the last line of your post hits the nail on the head. Babies are supposed to be chubsters. DS was the 90th centile all last summer - I should post a picture of him sitting on the couch, it's laughable - he has rolls upon rolls upon ROLLS!! Dimples for knuckles, fat bracelets on his wrists and ankles, four chins... LOL! He was almost exclusively breastfed until a year - we tried solids here and there but he really wasn't impressed with them. Then he started crawling... standing... walking... running... had a lengthwise growth spurt and is now on the 50th centile. He's not lean, precisely, still has pleasant amounts of padding, but that's as it should be.

I think when babies become toddlers and are as active as normal toddlers (running around like blue-arsed flies grin) but still maintain large amounts of baby fat, then it would be appropriate to be concerned. But not before. And even then, there are huge variations between toddlers.

That's just my humble opinion but I think you needn't worry.

chibi Wed 26-Aug-09 16:35:10

my ds is on the 9th centile + I have just been made to feel that I am abusing him today at the baby clinic as he is not the ideal 90th centile baby.

to me, your worries of 'is my baby too big' seem almost like bragging - no one is ever going to censure you, in fact, i bet you get plenty of approving remarks from people you know + probably random people as well.

find something else to worry about.

Jacksmama Wed 26-Aug-09 16:38:01

Not helpful chibi. I think she's as entitled to worry about her baby's weight as you are about your baby's. She's not bragging, and people do censure mums for having a fat baby as much as they do for having a thin baby. If you're angry at being made to feel like you're abusing yours, find someone else to take it out on.

pasturesnew Wed 26-Aug-09 16:38:30

I think it's fine, as above posters have said maybe HV or GP or whoever are commenting in case you are not admitting to having weaned her on icecream or bodybuilder shakes or somesuch!

Babies often chub up before a growth spurt, esp. in the month or so before walking I reckon although 20 months is a bit early for that in most cases.

Jacksmama Wed 26-Aug-09 16:40:12

LOL at body builder shakes.

Dophus Wed 26-Aug-09 16:43:34

As others have said - realy don't worry.

both DS1 and DS2 were bf exclusively on demand. DS1 was always skinny (and is now) DS2 was a porker, and I mean porker! He is now 2.5 and is chubbier than his brother ever was but in no way overwieght. He's just like his Mum - likes his food!

Chibi - sorry you're having problems - but that was really harsh. Everyone is entitled to their own concerns.

chibi Wed 26-Aug-09 16:48:19

sorry for the offense i just wish i had your problems sad

queenofeyes Wed 26-Aug-09 16:50:42

Chibi, I'm not bragging.I don't think feeding a child is some kind of competition. Your situation does not mean mine is immediately rendered void. As I pointed out in my original post, my GP started this by saying we should "keep an eye" on my daughter's weight, so my worries have been triggered with reasonable cause. I'm not holding my baby up like some kind of prize pumpkin and expecting rosettes. I have, however, been grateful for the reassurance from other posters.

queenofeyes Wed 26-Aug-09 16:52:56

Sorry, I cross-posted. I do understand, Chibi, and I'm sorry you've had a rough time today. What is certain is that people who deal with mothers and babies professionally could occasionally be a little more sensitive about how they voice their concerns...

chibi Wed 26-Aug-09 16:54:36

again, i apologise for the offense i have caused. it has been a hell of a day and i was wrong to lash out.

the way babies are fed does feel like a competition to me right now, one i am losing, and i couldn't feel shittier about it.

still no excuse for my earlier post, i am sorry.

Feierabend Wed 26-Aug-09 16:55:24

Queen, your dd sounds like my dd2, who was born a 7lb 9oz baby but is heading fast towards the 98th centile at now 18 weeks. She's very long, too, so sort of in proportion but looks like a 6 month old rather than her 4 months. Don't worry at all, everyone keeps reassuring me you can't overfeed when bfing, and the rapid weight gain will slow down. I know babies who always looked massive compared to dd1 and now they're toddlers, they are all similar sizes.

Feierabend Wed 26-Aug-09 16:58:48

And Chibi, please don't worry about your baby either - again I know babies who were always on the 9th / 25th and are now big, active toddlers. And HVs can be really daft and say all the wrong things.

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