Sunday, April 30, 2006

Baby Weight, Growth Charts & Hysteria

Poor parents. It's like the Eddie Murphy bit in Nutty Professor, "Oprah needs to decide. Fat or thin. Fat. Skinny. Fat Skinny." That's like the CDC and the American College of Pediatrics and children's weight: parents worry all the time.

If you want to have a healthy weight baby here are Dr. Melissa's recommendations:

  1. Breast feed exclusively until six (6) months old. The baby will be a perfect weight for that baby. If the baby is big, look at the parents. If the baby is small, look at the parents. Don't worry!
  2. After six months, only introduce table food (that is, whatever the family is eating) when the child meets these criteria: a) can sit up un-aided b) has enough teeth to chew c) baby shows interest. If the baby does not demonstrate all of these traits, do NOT table feed yet.
  3. Continue to breast feed until the baby weens himself or is around two years old. Whichever comes first. Some nurse after two, but there are no health reasons to do so. A baby does not have a fully developed immune system until age two. Nursing helps the baby develop an immune system. Reduced or non-existant ear infections, robust health can be expected with breast feeding.
  4. As you ween, feed the baby healthy foods. NO fruit juice, no milk. Empty calories and unnecessary especially if you're nursing. How does the baby get calcium? you ask. Raw, organic cheese, organic yogurt should give enough. Get the kid in the sun with NO sunscreen (heresy!) so the body can metabolize the Calcium and lay down bone. Healthy kid, strong bones, no extra fat.
By the way, babies need fat. Good fat. Give him avocadoes. Give him cheese. A healthy, active , breast fed baby won't get obese. He just won't.


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