Are fat babies healthier than thin babies?
My newborn seems really skinny- he has no fat on his arms or legs. I've heard that fat babies are healthier than thin babies and I want to start giving him some cereal to fatten him up so he can be healthy. Is this true?

Dr Paul Sinclair answers:

The simple answer is NO. Milk,preferably breastmilk, is sufficient food in normal newborns and it’s the only thing your baby needs to eat right through to four to six months.

If you’re really worried that your baby is too skinny, take him to a doctor or clinic for a checkup to make sure. The height of a baby is an important factor of “skinniness”, as is the genetic makeup of the baby. The average height of a newborn is around 50cm and the average weight is about 3,25kg. If, for example, your baby is 58cm long and weighs 3,3kg he will certainly appear slim but is actually very normal and healthy. Being fat, overweight or obese is not healthy at any age.

The introduction of solids in South Africa remains a culturally biased and much debated subject, and it is very clear that it is not a “one size fits all” decision. It depends on a baby’s gestational age at birth, their size or weight at four to six months, allergy history, growth patterns and, obviously, economics. But no infant requires solids as a newborn, ever. Monitoring a baby’s growth is critical and intervention is necessary if his weight gain is inadequate or excessive, but this would be done under medical supervision and in the first few months of life would entail adjusting milk feeds (and not introducing solids early).

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.

Jobs - Find your dream job



R560.00 - R600.00 Per Hour

Sales Representative in Ulundi

Roots Sales and Merchandising

Junior sales trainer

Port Elizabeth
Roots Sales & Merchandising
R4 000.00 - R7 000.00 Per Month

Property - Find a new home