29 answers

How to Fatten up a Baby

I know all babies come in different shapes and sizes. But, I'd feel better if my daughter was within a healthier weight range for her age. My daughter is seven months old and weighs 16 lbs. She's EXTREMELY active, crawling, standing... but just very little. It's getting colder now, and I'd love for her pants to stay up. We can't even keep the 3-6 months to stay up! Any Moms have any suggestions for beefing up a baby belly? Specifically what foods to try?

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My girls wore tights and dresses, leggings and long shirts until they were in elementary school because they were too skinny to keep their pants up. Don't worry about it as long as she's healthy! Actually it's kinda nice, my daughter was able to keep wearing her favorite 2T skirt for about 3 years. Save money on clothes!

As long as her doctor says she is healthy and isn't concerned, I wouldn't worry about it. Each baby is different...some are porkers some are string beans. My son (now 18 months) has been in the 5th percentile for weight since birth...but 50th percentile for height. It's just the way he's built. In contrast, my sisters little boy has rolls galore! They are both healthy, just different metabolisms or something. If you need to find pants that fit the Osh Kosh brand at Target has adjustable waist pants in the smallest sizes of anyone. Also, Gymboree carries belts. Hope this helps :-)!!!

My girls were little, too. I wouldn't try to change that, they all grow at their own rate. I do have two clothing tips, though. I found that sticking with knit, elastic waist pants for reduced pant falling issue, specifically Carters or Koala Kid. Second, as she gets older, look for adjustable waist cords and jeans. Good luck!

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Hi M.! Your baby IS at a healthy weight. My daughter finally made it to 20 pounds at age 2. Your baby will be ahead of that curve!
Both of my kids are below the 50th percentile for weight. It's much healthier than overweight!
As far as keeping pants up......tights are the way to go. A dress with some funky tights are SO CUTE! :)

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I wouldn't worry about her weight or what size clothes she is in as long as she is healthy. My youngest daughter is 9 months and only weighs 16lbs 7oz and her doctor doesn't seem concerned. My older daughter was the same way and at 3 years old and her pants don't stay up either. Both my kids are very active too. It's frustrating I know. Sweatpants work best. They also make pants with adjustable waists not sure if they make them that small though. You can also use one piece outfits. As for feeding if you are nursing you could add a bottle of formula a day as it has more calories than breast milk. Avocado is another good food that is high in calories. Feed her baby oatmeal vs rice cereal as that has more calories. If she is eating dairy - cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese make sure it is full fat.

My daughter will be one in two weeks, and she's only 16 pounds. She's healthy and active; she sleeps and eats well. Her chart has slowly but steadily gone up since birth (full-term, but only 6 lbs, 5 oz.). As much as I think she should be bigger by now, I figure she's just going to be small!!

What does your doctor say? :)

Unless there is some sort of dramatic drop in her weight curves I wouldnt worry about it. I understand that you want her to have a little extra, but some babies just are skinnier. If she is steady in her percentages dont worry. My first daughter was a skinny little thing and now my second daughter is getting quite chubby. It's good not to overfeed them because even at this young age they are learning their eating habits.. It's great that she eats when she is hungry and stops when she is full. Babies are great at listening to their own bodies.. Try and keep that up as long as you can.

That is a healthy weight.

ALL a baby needs for the first year of life is formula or breastmilk it isn't necessary to do babyfoods or tablefood. Your daughter can regulate when's she hungry and when she's not.

My daughter is 11mos. and has been 18lbs for the last 3mos. hasn't gained a single pound. I'm not the least bit worried.

My lil cousin was 16lbs on her first birthday just a string bean everyone is built differently.

I have parented and fed both my daughter's the EXACT same way and my first daughter was 25+lbs by her first birthday wearing a size2T and my second daughter is going into her 1st birthday here under 20lbs and still fits in alot of 3-6mos. clothes

I seriously wouldn't worry about fattening your baby up. If you and/or baby's dad are not big people, you probably won't have big babies. Both of our kids are skinny. I have a 2 1/2 year old boy and he is lucky he weighs 25 lbs. People make comments all the time about how little he is...but when someone sees a really big kid, you also hear comments about how big the kid is so unless your kid is 50% on the charts, people will feel the need to make an observative comment. No big deal, we all do the comparing and such. Some of his pants are 18month so I can totally relate!
As for your daughter, she is a healthy size and if she is active, her weight gain is going to slow down (the more they move, the more they burn). As long as she is eating and moving along the growth charts, don't worry unless she's losing weight and not growing at all. Most brands make pants with adjustable waists (believe me, both my 2 and 5 year old have to wear them) so hopefully, you will have some luck finding clothes for her. And with a girl, dresses and tights are good. If your doctor is not concerned, try not to worry about it and keep feeding your baby when she's hungry. Sounds like she's doing fine to me!

As for getting her pants to stay up, we are still struggling with that problem, my 2.5 year old was wearing some 9 and 12 months shorts still this summer....some other sizes, up to 2t work, especially if they have the adjustable elastic inside the waist. It is even worse for us now, since she is potty trianed and has no diaper to hold up her pants anymore!

For warm winter clothes, got for outfits that are all one piece, or have an "overalls/jumper" style ( straps over the shoulders) to them, or dresses and tights or those "baby legs" legwarmers they have at Target and online. There are lots of options for babies whose pants won't stay up and they are just as adorable.

You don't want to have a child with weight/eating issues, so please, don't push this. Babies insitnctively know how much they need to eat, and grow accordingly. My daughter who is 2.5 now was not 16 pounds till 10 months, and she is a perfectly fine and healthy little girl and always has been. She is a huge eater and eats everything and always has....we give her healthy meals whenever she is hungry, and she just has a really fast metabolism, she is still only 10th and 25th percentil for weight ahd height, but healthy as a horse.

Being littler than average is not "unhealthy", your pediatrician would tell you if you needed to be getting her extra calories or anything different. Also, try to remember, those percentiles they give you at the office are just telling you how many kids (out of a sample of 100) would be heavier or taller than her on average (remember, lots of American kids nowadays are OVERWEIGHT, and that figures into those scales), BUT that doesn't mena she needs to be bigger herself, as long is she is consistently grownin along her own curve on the chart! Just think how happy she will be as ateen and an adult if her body stays healthy and slim and she can be one of those lucky people who can just "be" and not have to always be watching their diet.

Just adore your baby and try not to worry too much about her size, as long as she is eating well and happy and active!

Jessie - mom of one skinny minnie girl and one chubby bubby boy!

I agree with all of the posters about everyone being a different size and some babies are just thinner due to metabolism. If your daughter is healthy, don't worry about it. If she has always been low on the weight chart, don't worry about it. Have you talked to your dr about her weight, or is it mainly a convenience thing with clothes?

When my daughter was about your daughter's age, she actually went through a phase where she lost weight even though she was eating massive amounts. We were concerned because we were fostering a dog that had worms and giardia who had a litter of puppies, causing us to question if our daughter caught parasites from them. She was all checked out and was fine. I did a bunch of research on caloric content of food to try and help her at least maintain her weight. I learned the following.

Breastmilk has the highest calorie count of all foods and drinks, followed by formula. Starchy foods have higher calorie amounts. Sweet potatoes were at the top of the list followed by squash, peas, avocado and bananas (maybe not in that order, but you get the idea of the types of food). Foods like peaches, carrots and beans are very low in calorie content. I also read somewhere that if you want or need to boost the calorie intake of your baby, you can mix in up to a tablespoon of olive oil into their foods.

I focused on nursing her, being sure she drank before and after solids. And I only gave her calorie dense solids, mixing olive oil in occasionally. Her skin was orangy when she was 9 months old, but she stopped losing weight. It turns out that she was just so active, learning how to move and doing a lot of mental development that all her energy was spent doing that instead of growing.

I wouldn't force your daughter to eat more than she wants, but I don't see anything wrong with giving her more calorie dense foods when she does eat.

My babies were also very skinny and continue to be skinny kids. They listen to thier bodies and stop eating when full, often leaving half a plate of small portions. They are healthy and thriving. My son is 10 1/2 and weighs 59 pounds, average height, half of what some of his peers weigh. He excells at sports and has boundless energy. He's always had to wear the adjustable pants and now must resort to a belt. It is simply genetics. I've been skinny my whole life too. As long as she is eating healthy foods and is active and happy, I wouldn't worry. Don't try to fatten her up or she'll lose that natural ability to listen to her body's cues about being full - a big problem in our society.

As long as her doctor says she is healthy and isn't concerned, I wouldn't worry about it. Each baby is different...some are porkers some are string beans. My son (now 18 months) has been in the 5th percentile for weight since birth...but 50th percentile for height. It's just the way he's built. In contrast, my sisters little boy has rolls galore! They are both healthy, just different metabolisms or something. If you need to find pants that fit the Osh Kosh brand at Target has adjustable waist pants in the smallest sizes of anyone. Also, Gymboree carries belts. Hope this helps :-)!!!

As long as your doctor isn't concerned, relax. My daughter was a skinny baby and it was really hard to find clothes to fit her. To be honest, she's almost 12 now and it's STILL difficult to find pants that fit correctly. Clothing is sized to heavier kids. When my dd was small she wore a lot of overalls, one piece outfits, and leggings. When I had to, I would fold over the waistband on pants and sew it to make it fit correctly.

I really have no advice for you....my boys (7 1/2 month old twins) are 16 and 17 lbs. and just now starting to wear size 6-9 month clothing....and that is only because they are too tall for the 3-6 month pants. I spoke with the dr. and with several other moms about this also, and just have been told to add cereal to their food....but like your DD, both of my DSs are very active, and it doesn't seem to matter what I do, they just aren't bulking up. I'll just have to add extra layers of clothing this winter.

M.- do not worry about keeping her pants up. As the mom of 4 my youngest is almost 3 yrs. old and she is the only one who has ever worn clothes that fit her at the right age. I have had to take tucks in everything since my now 10 yr. old son was born. They do have pants that have adjustable waist bands which have been a great thing for our family. When our son was a baby they did say to give him pediasure or the gerber baby yogurt drinks in the baby food aisle non of which worked for us, he and his sisters are still skinny ,tiny. We have just gotten used to buying clothes by fit not by size that should fit . Good Luck and if she is healthy don't worry about anything else .

I don't have any tips for you about beefing her up, but just a couple of comments. My son was always 75% for height and 25% for weight until he was about nine months old; then he all of the sudden was closer to 50% for both. At almost 2, he is now about 75% for both. Not to minimize your concern (my son didn't gain his birthweight back until 3 weeks, so starting very very young, I always worried about his weight!) I think there's a good chance her body will monitor itself:) Also, when my son was very long and skinny, I liked Just One Year brand at Target and Carter's clothing -- as one poster said, clothes often seem to be made for wider babies:) I've heard of pants with adjustable waists, too; but I'm not sure of where to get them. Good luck:)

About the pants- Try looking at Children's Place. My son is the opposite.. chunky monkey. But at first he was very small and they had the best overalls ever. They're adjustable everywhere and they're lined for cold weather. They were plain so if you find ones like it it would work with a cute girly top. I'm sure they also make things for girls. I've just noticed their things are well made and made a "normal" size instead of running tiny or extremely large. So a fit with their clothes may be more realistic for your daughter.

I have to laugh, my now 19 year old was the same way. She never was even on the growth charts as an infant and it continued through her high school years. We tried all the drinks, like ensure, slimfast with whole milk (doctors suggestion), whole milk, you name it. In 7th grade, she weighed 56-60 lbs. I wish I had some magic words of wisdom, have you talked to her doctor? Any suggestions from them?
I wish you the best of luck and hope some good ideas come your way.

The most important thing is that she is growing, regardless of her weight. My 15 month old only weighs 17 pounds, so a 16 pound 7 month old is not much to worry about. However, to help beef up my daughter (because she actually was not growing for a time) we gave her formula mixed to a higher calorie concentration (3 1/2 oz of water per 2 scoops of formula.) Since she turned 1 we have also used Pediasure, though I don't think that is recommended for babies as young as 7 months. I would, though, strongly recommend that you discuss your concerns with your pediatrician before making significant changes in your daughter's diet.

I have two year old twin daughters and have the same problem with just one. She weighs 21 pounds. The funny thing is she eats like you wouldn't believe but doesn't gain any weight. She is still not on the charts for her weight, heighth but is for head size. Our doctor told us to use pedisure in her milk a couple times a day. It is very expensive though. Otherwise she told us to try carnation powder instead. Those are some options but we only tried it for awhile and decided that she is just going to be small. Like it think if she is eating I would not be to concerned and worry all the time.

My girls wore tights and dresses, leggings and long shirts until they were in elementary school because they were too skinny to keep their pants up. Don't worry about it as long as she's healthy! Actually it's kinda nice, my daughter was able to keep wearing her favorite 2T skirt for about 3 years. Save money on clothes!

Don't worry about what size clothes she is in. You have to remember that baby clothes are just like adult clothes. You might be able to wear a smaller size in some brands, but have to wear 2 sizes bigger in other brands. I have 2 children and they are both very petite kids. My son is 3 and half and weights only 33-34 pounds and my daughter is 19 months and weighs 22 pounds. They are both very active and probably have a very high metoblism. That's going to be to their advantage when they are older. I know it's hard not to worry, because I was there. I worried sick that they weren't gaining alot. I sat back and said to myself at least they are both very healthy,happy kids. So just enjoy. Because they grow so fast.
I try to buy the pants with adjustable waist bands Target, Children's Place. Good luck!

My oldest has always been like that. He's almost 7 now, very healthy, very active, and of average height, but I have to buy adjustable or elastic-waist pants or they fall right off.
My second was a super chunky baby and outgrew his clothes quickly. As soon as he hit the toddler stage and became more active, the fat melted off. Now he is a skinny 2-1/2-year-old that also has to have elastic or adjustable waist pants.
Short of intentionally overfeeding or cranking up the fat content of your daughter's food (both unreasonable and unhealthy options!) there's not much you can do besides learning how to tailor the waistbands of her pants to make them fit her body (it's not that hard, really). It's more important to make sure she has a healthy, well-balanced diet and learns good eating habits.
For winter, you can also get her romper-style and other one-piece outfits. That way, she'll always be covered.

imn confused... whats the problem with her being 16 pounds? this is actually a good thing. in the first year of life, babies typically triple their weight. so if she was born at 7 lbs she should be 21 by age 1, but that is not the RULE, not every kid has to be that way. your daughter is the size she is supposed to be. dont try to fatten her up, she eats when hungry, and she eats what she needs until full, and thats all that should be expected of her. im confused as to why you would think her unhealthy just because shes skinny or something.

the problem is that a lot of kids are overweight for unhealthy reasons. it seems that clothing is made for only fat babies. skinny babies do just get lost in the mix. you just do what you have to do; find a belt or some suspenders to keep her pants up, or just buy one piece outfits for the most part.

the best thing to remember is that you feed her a healthy diet, and as long as shes active, happy, and she has good color in her skin and stuff, then shes just fine. seriously. just get some one piece outfits, or suspenders or belts. its really unfair, but my son whos almost 3, my friends son whos almost 4, and their daughter whos 10 are all VERY skinny and dont fit into their clothes very well. you just do what you can, and trust me, you will find clothes for skinnier kids.

even if you plump up her belly, it would make the situation worse; it would slide down off her belly anyway. :P

seriously though, you try to fatten her up at this age, and teach her to ignore her fullness cues, and she will only end up in the other direction; overweight as an older child or teen, and unhappy, and needing to "diet" . make healthy lifestyle choices and eating habits now, and dont worry if shes smaller. its just the way she is. as long as shes happy and active, it doesnt matter exactly how much she weighs. just relax!

Make every calorie count. This is good advice for any baby.

Cereal is empty calories. It's just rice, stripped of nutrients, then nutrients artifically pumped back in. The cereal industry pays docs a LOT of money to convince us otherwise. But "baby cereal" is a crock. Gosh, what did we do before the baby cereal industry? Read below...

Feed her REAL food- squash, yams, ground up meat, WHOLE milk (organic, hormone-free), veggies, etc. Avoid the packaged stuff. If there's more than 10 ingredients, it probably isn't real food. At 16 months, I just basically took whatever I was eating, cut it into small pieces or blended up in my Magic Bullet, and fed it to my boy, who, to this day, has never been sick (except for teething-related booger blowouts :)

To the poster who suggested that giving babies more fat is bad, I need to say: giving a baby food that has fat in it is VERY GOOD, if it is the trans-fat-free kind. Like olives, olive oil, nuts, and fat that is in organic free-range meat, eggs, and dairy. Fat gets a bad rap, but we all need it to fuel our brains, which burn up 20% of our calories each day. And babies need even more, because their brains are growing and developing. People on "fat-free" diets can suffer from memory loss and brain fatigue. When I heard that a coupel years ago, I switched to eating a "good fat" and protein with every meal. It keeps me feeling satisfied, and I am at a perfect weight.

On this diet, if they end up skinny/fat, whatever, at least you know it is their natural weight---because they are on a natural diet!

My girls were little, too. I wouldn't try to change that, they all grow at their own rate. I do have two clothing tips, though. I found that sticking with knit, elastic waist pants for reduced pant falling issue, specifically Carters or Koala Kid. Second, as she gets older, look for adjustable waist cords and jeans. Good luck!

My daughter was 15 pounds at one year and was and always has been perfectly healthy! She started out at 4.2 pounds though so she started small...as long as your daughter is gaining SOMETHING and is healthy, don't worry about it. My daughter is 8 and is still very thin, but healthy!

my son is nearly 18 months and he can still wear 6 months size shorts he has a very small waist and at 18 months weighs 24 lbs at 7 months he was your daughters size. She will grow how she needs to, you shouldn't be to concerned about weight. I was caught off guard with my son he weighed over 9 lbs when he was born so i was expecting him to grow big fast he is perfectly healthy and has gotten only a few runny noses. he started walking at 10 months and never stopped moving after that. by 7 months he was eating 8-12 oz of baby food plus baby cereal 3 times a day and still nursing every 3 hours he was very well fed but he is just built to be skinny. She sounds healthy to me. I look for the inside elastic straps on pants i even got him some 2T pants and cinched the elastic as tight as it would go he has worn them since he was 11 months old and they will work for a long time to come ;) you actually have an easier time with your daughter you can just get her thick stretchy tights and jumper dresses until she can fit into other clothes. Good luck!

I have to respectfully disagree with your thinking. If she's healthy, then there is no reason to 'fatten her up'. Did you name her Gretle too? Trying to add weight to her now, when you are the one making all the food choices for her, you need to give her the best food possible. If you don't, when she is able to start making choices for herself, she is going to go after all the same foods you choose for her and that's just leading her down a road of obesity, low self esteem and a bad body image. Let her be who God made her. It took my son almost 14 months to get to 20 lbs!

Unless your doctor thinks your daughter is unhealthy -- Do not chnage a thing. She is still young enough to go by instinct. Meaning she will eat when she needs to and your only job is to make sure the food she has in front of her is healthy.

If you get comments from other people about your "tiny" or "skinny" baby, smile and shrug it off.

I hear you! Little baby bellies can be wonderful in some ways. But there are some great things about small babies and children, too. I know what it's like to want to change things, and you may even feel like it would be better for you. If this is really important to you, I hope you get some healthy suggestions. But remember that at this age your child is developing the number of fat cells that are right for her body and this will be the number she deals with for the rest of her life. So you may not want to mess with nature here. I have had super-skinny babies turn out to be chunkier kids than my fatter babies did. So you never know quite what's going on.

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