Why Babies are Chubby

Most moms would agree: Those adorable chipmunk cheeks and rolls of leg fat on your precious baby are incredibly lovable. You probably cannot resist kissing and pinching them constantly. But do you know why babies are chubby? Read on and we’ll tell you.

Most babies are born pretty slender with a hollow looking face and lean arms and legs. Thanks to that incredible breast milk of yours, slowly your baby will start to fill out and may get downright chubby. First, it’s important to know that plump pockets on your baby are completely normal, and in some cases may actually be healthy for your baby.

why babies are chubbyBabies and toddlers need the extra fat they store for the first two years of life. Much of this fat comes from breast milk and eventually whole cow’s milk. Fat stores help prevent failure to thrive in infants and can protect against illness and even SIDS. Babies and toddler often accumulate fat in their legs and especially thighs.

Babies also tend to have chubby cheeks due to the muscles that reside in the cheek cavities. These muscles are vital to successful breastfeeding, both for suckling milk and swallowing it down. As your baby becomes more proficient at nursing, the muscles will bulk up and achieve that pinchable round shape. Of course there is some fat stored in the cheeks as well, which increases as your baby is able to drink more and more breast milk.

Cheeks usually remain chubby throughout breastfeeding so they can power the motions needed to get the amazing nutrition you’re providing. As less breast milk is offered and more solids foods are introduced, cheeks may start to deflate and your toddler’s face elongates and becomes more childlike than babyish. Thighs and legs tend to thin out as toddlers begin to walk, run and become more active.

A chubby baby is not a sign that your child will be obese in the future. In fact, if you breastfeed your baby is less likely to be obese later in life. There are, however, some indications of obesity that do begin in infancy. If your baby gains a lot of weight suddenly, has a high BMI, has two parents who are obese, doesn’t get enough sleep and watches more than 8 hours of television a week, risk of obesity is higher.

Most children under two are not considered obese since their stored fat is crucial to their health. If you are concerned about your baby’s weight or shape, discuss it with your pediatrician. It’s never a good idea to restrict your baby’s food or force your baby to eat unless directed by a medical professional.

And now you know why babies are chubby! It’s all part of their biological plan to be both healthy and adorable. So go ahead, pinch those chubby thighs, kiss those chubby cheeks and love every inch of your baby’s chubby body!

Sources: BabyCenter, Quora, Livestrong and University of Rochester Medical Center