27 answers

Child Weight Gain

Recently, I noticed my 9 year old has put on some pounds. She has always been a very thin child and now she has some extra belly fat and is beginning to develop breast (or maybe that is just fat; I’m not really sure.) Is this normal for this age in girls? Maybe I am just having a hard time thinking that my skinny child is now gaining weight when actually she is just growing and entering some pre-pubescent stage.

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So What Happened?™

I am so happy to hear other experiences and in fact my daughter was raised vegan her first 5 years and now we eat fish or chicken once a week. We only drink non-dairy milk (soy, rice, oat, almond). I'm am not so much buying the hormone theory myself. I am now more at ease hearing that other nine year old girls are also experience these pre-pubescent growth changes. Formerly she was in dance and swim and we are looking at getting her back into these activities to keep her active and secure in her body. Thank you all for your input it has helped put things into perspective.

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I only have sons, but it is a fact that girls are developing earlier than they used to. This was true for my nieces. There are many theories as to why this is happening, but the fact remains that it is. Don't be alarmed. With my boys, it was a real shock when they started to become "men". Logically moms know it will happen, but when it actually DOES begin to happen, it is a jolt. This is also the time when eating disorders can develop, so tread carefully regarding her changes. Makes me glad I only had boys. :0)

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Hi K.;

It is normal with 9 yrs old to have fat because she is growing up. Also don't forget that she might entering her puberty or her hormone is coming along the way. Keep her active and busy in a positive way. She will be fine and keep her eat healthy snacks and food. Take Care.

A.

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I think it's a normal pre-pubescent stage. More and more girls are starting their periods as early as 9 (or younger) because of hormones in the milk and other foods they eat. If there are hard lumps in her breast (called breast bumps) that is usually an indication that her periods will be coming within 2 years from the time they appear. So long as she is eating decent-to-healthy and getting exercise, I wouldn't make a huge deal out it. You don't want her self-esteem bruised if you can help it by making comments about it.

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I have to say thank you for asking this question. My husband and I have started becoming concerned about our 8 1/2 yr old who seems to also be putting on some pounds just in her tummy. I don't remember ever gaining weight before puberty but I certainly did after. Maybe it will be the reverse for her.

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Hi K.,

I also have a nine year old daughter that's growing through the same thing. I believe its just their body's going through its change. At first I was worried, but then I realized I went through the same thing, after I looked at pictures. I wouldn't worry to much. Just make sure you keep her active, maybe in a sport activity. She will catch up with her body.

S.

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It's very possible that she is developing early. I developed breasts at age 7.

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Her weight gain and breasts are normal for her age. Please don't let your daughter know you are concerned about her body image or she may begin to worry about it. Our diets now consist of a lot of added hormones in cows milk and chicken that may be causing young girls to have an earlier onset of puberty. You could take a better look at diet if you are really concerned. You seem like a very loving, caring and courageous mother. Keep up the great work!

1 mom found this helpful

I only have sons, but it is a fact that girls are developing earlier than they used to. This was true for my nieces. There are many theories as to why this is happening, but the fact remains that it is. Don't be alarmed. With my boys, it was a real shock when they started to become "men". Logically moms know it will happen, but when it actually DOES begin to happen, it is a jolt. This is also the time when eating disorders can develop, so tread carefully regarding her changes. Makes me glad I only had boys. :0)

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter was always thin until she turned 9, and then I too noticed a weight gain around her middle. When we went in for her check-up, her doctor told her that she needed that extra belly fat in order to grow taller and get through puberty. It was a great discussion, and set both of our minds at ease. When I took a look at her friends, I noticed that many of them had put on weight as well. She's now 11, and has indeed lost some of that extra weight, grown taller and developed breasts! I think what your daughter is going through is the normal growth process- it's just hard for us to understand it because it's happening earlier for them then it did for us.

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I am 37. I remember clearly that I was around 9 years old when I started early development of breasts etc. I got my first period at about 11-12. The doctors said that was totally normal. My mom brought me in when I was 9 because my chest was starting to hurt and get tender and bumps were showing, my mom didn't realize they were breast developing LOL. That is a perfectly normal age to start developing, has nothing at all to do with things like extra hormones in food or whatever it's being blamed on. Unless there is a serious change in her activity level or eating habits I would not worry too much about it as it sounds like regular pre-teen development. But if it really worries you I would talk to her dr just to make you feel better if anything else.

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I believe this is normal. I have an 8 yr old girl (gonna be 9 Feb 12th) she also has been packing on pounds since early summer. She was a slim child and very active in sports now. She eats pretty good. She also is developing small breasts. I sincerely believe this is because they will get their periods pretty soon and their body is getting ready for future changes. Don't stress on it ok. My daughter is up to 72 lbs. Went from a size 2 in shoes beginning of 2nd grade to a size 4 this year.

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I am not sure there is anything to worry about, tho I am definetly not an expert. Is your daughter still as active as she has always been? Have her eating habits changed in any way to indicate that she is eating too much, as in more fast food than usual? More candy and junk food than she usually gets? If not, it is possible she is going through a growth spurt in much the way I did as a child. I would always get chunky and then shoot up a few inches and stretch it all out. Is she displaying any other symptoms, like headaches, tiredness, lethargic, lose of interest in her usual activities? These could be indicators of a problem that would go along with the weight gain, such as a thyroid problem. Although that is very very unlikely at her age. I would say if you are really worried, I would call her pediatrician. Maybe not so much to make an appointment, unless he/she thinks it's necessary, but maybe more so to just ask questions about whether or not it is possible for her to be hitting puberty this early, or having depression, or anything else that could be causing the weight gain and/or development. Some people believe that the meat that we eat today has SO many hormones in it that it is causing girls to develop early, tho I am not sure where I stand on that issue, just something to maybe ask the doctor about. Good luck and try not to worry, I am sure it is something very simple. :)

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hey momma,
baby girl NEEDS her plumpness right now to get those ovaries pumping out eggs!

just make sure that she stays active, that when she looks in her your eyes she sees unconditional love and acceptance, and that you don't pressure her to go shopping.

i plumped up quite a bit and my mom put me on diet after diet after diet. it was really aggravating. i lost no weight, and was ridiculed by classmates. then, when i was 13, it was like i stepped out of a cocoon.

so, let her be, but get all the phony "food" out of the house--chips, microwaveable snacks, sugary cold cereal, fruit juice with no pulp, soda--and get her out of the house for long walks, bike rides and maybe even a team sport. she'll be happy and healthy and will avoid a life long battle with food.

get ready for her moon! it's rising...

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I think it's a normal pre-pubescent stage. More and more girls are starting their periods as early as 9 (or younger) because of hormones in the milk and other foods they eat. If there are hard lumps in her breast (called breast bumps) that is usually an indication that her periods will be coming within 2 years from the time they appear. So long as she is eating decent-to-healthy and getting exercise, I wouldn't make a huge deal out it. You don't want her self-esteem bruised if you can help it by making comments about it.

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Hi K. -

I have heard a lot of good reviews about this fun fitness and dance DVD for kids called Jump Around Fitness 4 Kids. I have put in a request to see what other mothers have to say. The website is www.JumpAround4Kids.com. It looks like it may be a good tool for your daughter.

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Hi K.;

It is normal with 9 yrs old to have fat because she is growing up. Also don't forget that she might entering her puberty or her hormone is coming along the way. Keep her active and busy in a positive way. She will be fine and keep her eat healthy snacks and food. Take Care.

A.

1 mom found this helpful

My children always pack on a few pounds right before a major growth spurt. Get ready to go shopping!!

Hi K.,
I would not worry to much about your childs developement at this age. I went through the same with my daughter at that age. She is now a young beautiful woman of 30 yrs.young. most of do not make it obvious to your child, make sure she is eating nourishing meals,fruits & veggies. Children are developing at a faster rate. Maybe to reassure yourself have her see her pediatrician.
Take care,
A. Aldrich

I agree, your 9 year old sounds pre-pubescent with hormonal changes.
Childhood obesity is also increasing in our country and the American diet may be a causal factor.
High fructose corn syrup is in many processed foods and has extremely high caloric value, more than regular sugar. Check the labels and you'll see what I mean about how common it is. For more on our food industry, read Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan.
Children may consume more food to satisfy cravings that could indicate real nutritional deficiencies. Junk food may well be starving our children of essential nutrition while fattening them with empty calories.
Plastics are known to alter hormonal functions. Plastics are made from petroleum byproducts, which, like hormones, are also fat based. Limiting food or drinks stored in and eaten from plastics may help. There was finally a study reporting a link between ingesting foods from plastics and cancer. Plastics frozen and heated release carcinogenic dioxins.
Remember, this kind of news is not industry-friendly and tends to not be well publicized.

JDB, Family Planning Public Health Educator

kids grow in spurts - they grow wide, then tall, then wide, then tall. Your daughter is 9 years old, which is not unusual in todays hormone-injected dairy product world for girls to begin menstruating. If she drinks a lot of milk, this could be a possibility. I would not discuss this "chubbiness" or mention this AT ALL to your daughter - just encourage a healthy lifestyle - exercise and healthy foods and plenty of rest are key at all ages, but a negative body image is unhealthy, esp. at the tender middle-school age. Focus on all the good things that she can do with her body and get her involved in movement activities and sports, taking walks together is great, etc. If she is going to be menstruating soon, she will need to learn how to cope with having her period while remaining active and doing the things that she enjoys. Please try not to make her feel self conscious about her body!! There is so much at her age to be insecure about, your opinion of her body should not be something that she needs to hear.

I'm no expert, but I recently read that girls gain weight while entering puberty (boys lose weight at that time) and are the highest in body fat.
On a side note, I was worried about my son's weight when he reached the ages of 9, 10, and 11 but tried not to pass the concerns on to him. His pediatrician even became concerned as she watched his weight climb. His diet had always been healthy because we provide healthy foods and teach healthy eating. He actively played, same as his skinny brothers (only 1/2 hr per day of computer, 1 hr of TV.) In response to my concerns about our son's weight, we placed him on a swim team, which eventually lead to water polo. Fitness, not diet, became HIS focus by the age of 13. I've always wondered how much more difficult it would have been for me to set aside my weight worries if I had been raising a girl.

Thank you for asking this question! We are going thru the same thing and I was feeling her body changes were completely normal and that she would spurt up soon. It has been a challenging time because Other adults in our life are insisting we are over feeding our daughter but she is actually eating less and healthier than ever. She is growing up and starting to make choices for herself and I am proud of her. I feel discouraged when one of her friends mother's steps in and trys to "Control" what my daughter is eating when she is visiting at there house. Now that I know this has happended several times I have now eliminated those playdates because I don't want my daughters self esteem effected during this time. We take nutrition seroiusly at my house and my kids love carbs just like any other but we choose healthy options as much as we can. We found a wonderful Omega 3 bread at CostCo that my kids can hardly tell the difference especially when we toast it. I have also found a bread by Orowheat that looks "white" but is full of fiber and protein compared to others. Looks like our little girls are becoming ladies soon! Good Luck to you and your family...and again THANK YOU for asking this question I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders... We are normal

yeah they're like bugs, they go through strange looking stages, ...but less junk food, more daily activities won't hurt anything either

If you are concerned that she may be entering puberty at an early age (as would be indicated by the breast development) you may want to consider taking her to your pediatrician. There is a condition called precocious puberty that your doctor can diagnose and treat to keep her from hitting puberty prematurely. Just a thought. Hope this helps.

I too, have a little girl who just turned 10 a few months ago and noticed since early this summer she’s been eating more and gaining some baby fat on her face, midsection and her breasts are developing. She was always the skinniest and smallest girl in her class. Very petite and could wear a size 5 when she was 7 and wore a size 7/8 as of last year when she was 9. She now wears a size 10 and it’s fitting a little snug on her. I would not worry much about the weight gain, just make sure it’s not always junk food she is eating. All in all, I think it’s all hormonal as her body is just changing and growing and needing more food for fuel. Just watch out for the mood swings throughout the day. That little girl who was once sweet and loving is growing up and can be mean, bratty and very sensitive at times. I think a talk with your daughter is in order about her body changes and she may be embarrassed at first, but will be excited when you both go shopping for her 1st bra. You can even make an appt with your Dr for her to have a physical and discuss your concerns.

I don't know you, but my advice would be...try asking the doctor, maybe??? What did they say, keep me updated if possible..good luck....

Hi K.,

I am curious what others have to say about this. My daughter just turned 9 yesterday, and I see she is going in the same direction as your daughter. I know she is just as active as she was before, but she recently appears as if she has gained in her belly & her breast area (not much but it is showing a tad.) She has always been tall and skinny! I just wanted to share this with you so you know you are not alone. I have even gone as far as switching to organic milk & chicken just in case the hormone theory is true.

I just wanted to tell you that my almost 9 year old is going through the very same thing.
She was always on the thin side. Tall and lean. She is now in a child size 10. Before she was always he size of the age she was (or in a smaller size) Like a size 3 and 3 years old. A size 6 at 6 years old. And then suddenly at age 8 she went UP.
I am a little worried because she really loves carbs. She could eat bread and pasta all day long.

Hello, not to worry! I just came out on the other side of that. My daughter now 12 will be 13 in March went thru the same thing. She started to get into the mind set that she was fat and wanted to starve herself etc.... Lots of stress for me, but this year she has shot up, thinned out and is anxious to go shopping for her first two piece bathing suit. It is definitely the age. I never went thru that myself, was always a string bean, but the girls these days seem to grow a bit different than we did. She will be fine. I finally removed the scale from the house so that she couldn't weigh herself anymore. Good for her, but not for me. I think that I have gained the weight that she has lost! :) Late forties... UGH

K. - Be careful how you handle this. There are so many eating disorders and selesteem issues now (especially with girls). Just try to incorporate more exercise during her day. Get up early do an exercise video, take a walk together after dinner and share her day, etc. Make sure you don't have junk food in the house, etc. Good luck!!!! It's a lot of responsibility, but it's our issue (parents) not hers.

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