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Pregnancy & Parenting
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Worried that baby girl may be a tank....

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Well, this past weekend, we had Thanksgiving supper at a friend's house.  There were some two-year old twins there that were about 6 mths older than my baby girl.  My sweet little baboo looked like she was a good year their senior, though.  Korrie is about 28+ lbs at 20 mths and she is quite tall, with a very stocky build.  She eats incredibly well, is confident, fearless and tough.  I am so grateful!

That being said: The issue I'm having and have had since even before she was born, is that I'm afraid that Korrie will grow up to be bigger than all her little peers, and feel self conscious about herself - leading to bigger eating issues.  I am very mindful of having her eat (us leading by example) well-balanced meals and getting lots of exercise.  She is not an athlete by any means, though, and she definitely prefers her carb-heavy snacks (I mentioned this in a previous post) I try to make sure she eats foods that are higher in fibre as well as I have heard that children who eat higher fibre foods tend to become less obese than those having higher carbs or higher protein meals. 

I really don't want to make a HUGE issue of it as she grows up, and I really want to help her develop high self esteem.  I do NOT want to project my own self image issues onto her and I do NOT force her to finish all her food if she is not hungry (although DH tries to do so quite frequently).  DH and I are both overweight to some degree and she is unfortunate to have to inherit our stocky builds. 

Like I said, I am so grateful that she is happy and healthy and self confident now, but I admit that I'm worried that as she gets older, she will start feeling self conscious about her size and start dieting etc.  A friend of mine has a 5 yr old daughter that already talks about how 'fat' she is and how she has to 'diet'.  Her daughter is a willowy reed, much like herself. 

How do I make sure my baby girl is happy and active and healthy?


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As long as at home you are going to continue working to project a healthy body image she will grow up to be just fine.  I think the most important role in a child's life, especially a female is to show her how to love her body no matter what shape or size and to continue to encourage healthy choices. Because you are teaching her proper eating habits now you are helping to set her up on the best path possible!!

I am 6 feet tall. I have always been much taller than my peers. Yes it did make me self conscious but lets be realistic- everyone has something that will make them feel a bit odd while growing up. She might be taller or bigger, she may have acne, she might have some sort of crazy hair ....the list can go on and on, as long as you  play an active positive role in  a positive body image she will come out of it just fine and grow to love herself regardless of what her peers think.

I am happy to be my height now, if anything you should be happy that she is bigger than the rest. Who wants to be the same as everyone else!!

Thanks for the perspective, tannis.  That makes me feel a little better as a parent.  I think I just freaked a little bit that everyone at the Thanksgiving supper was remarking about what a 'little tank' she was, and "what are you feeding that kid?" and "wow! Next year, she'll be tearing up the empire state building"....It brought me back to my childhood, when well-meaning adults used to comment on my size and I just had a vision of my poor beautiful girl feeling bad about herself the way I did.  But then, I have to keep reminding myself that she is not me, and that she may have the self esteem and confidence from her father and she may be able to just brush it off.  I have to try not to freak out and project all my own body image insecurities on her.  Does anybody else struggle with this for their babies?

Its odd that I came upon this thread. There is a little one in my life and until she was three she was a total...tank. Just ate everything in sight, and was bigger than her older sister. I just recently saw new photos of her and she has completely grown into it and is as cute as ever.  Dont worry your daughter will grow into her tank body or become one beautiful tall woman.



My oldest son, now 7 was like that when he was a baby too.  There wasn't a food he didn't like and didn't eat!  He came home from the hospital drinking 8 oz bottles.  he wasn't on a height/weight chart until he was 4 and he was in the 99% percentile then!  He's always been very healthy, only on anti biotics twice in his life and he was a daycare kid.  Now he plays football, hockey, and baseball; is a solid mass of muscle and had balanced out to a nice 49in and 61 lbs.  She will even out!  As long as she is healthy and active and you steer her in the right direction, she will be just fine!

You're also comparing her to twins... twins tend to start out small and take a longer time to catch up. My own little one was born early at just under three pounds... she's almost 3 now and still only weighs 25 pounds dripping wet... whereas I have a friend who's son was over 30 at 1 - and he's simply a big boy! Little ones grow at their own rates... nothing to worry about

Thanks for your reassurance - it really makes me feel a little better, and gives me a bit of much needed perspective.  I just hear those comments sometimes and find myself getting really anxious (total projection of my own painful childhood memories, obviously!)

Thanks again!

I'd focus more on your friend's five year-old.  She has learned the 'I'm fat' habits from Mum.... so that's what you want to avoid.  Children soak up attitudes like a sponge so if Mummy spends all day saying things like...'I'm so big... I need to lose weight... I'm too fat for these jeans... ' that's what the child will think is a normal way of thinking.

So learn from your friend's error and whenever you talk about appearance  - yours or your child's -  in front of your children do so in positive terms.  Whether you're talking about how pretty she looks or how nice you feel in a particular outfit or how smart your husband looks after a hair-cut, always make it something good.  Keep anything negative to yourself.

Food is another area to be careful with.  Very small children should eat fruit and vegetables but they don't need too many high-fibre foods because it makes it more difficult for them to get all the nourishment they need from their diet.   Do, try to eat with your child/children and eat the same foods.  This emphasises that it's normal to enjoy lots of different things... even if you only have a small amount.   Mums that never eat cakes or biscuits with their children can find the children start to wonder why not... is there something bad about those foods?... or is there something strange about Mum?


My daughter was 9lbs 10 at birth and continued to to be a tank until she was about 4ish. she's now 6 and is head and shoulders above some of her class mates but is very much in proportion with herself.

A quick scout round any primary school class with soon show you that kids come in all shapes and sizes so you really shouldn't worry so long as she's eating fairly healthily.

My sister was a tank as a baby. She ate as much as you gave her, and apparently my aunt and grandmother once had a contest to see how much they could get her to eat. Strangers would stop in the supermarket and compliment my mom's "little pumpkin. At 27, she weighs around 50kg and has never dieted. My brother was a tiny baby who would get distracted after eating 3 cornflakes. At 19, he's close on 6 feet tall. Still skinny, but starting to fill out now. Babies are weird, but they seem to balance out on their own.

I've always been a "big girl,"  whether fat or fit,  so I know how peoples' comments can hurt.  Try not to let it bother you,  and also counter their comments (if your girl is in earshot) with glowing praise about how strong and powerful a bigger person is.  In other words,  emphasize the positive  and work with what you've got.  Maybe your girl is a future kickboxing champion or weightlifter?  I always say to myself "I will never be tiny,  but I can be strong and fit."  Good luck!!

And one more thing,  maybe get on the same page as DH in regards to letting your girl regulate her own food intake  (i.e. stop eating when she wants to).  That will go a long way towards her being a lifelong healthy eater.

all four of my children were solid and strong - in upper percentiles of weight.  They are all now between 16 years and 25 years old.  The youngest is my daughter.  They are all healthy weights and two of the boys are 6ft plus.  My daughter was solid as a child, as a toddler, as a young teen but it all evened out when she got to about 15 and she is now a healthy and beautiful young lady that does some stunning kickboxing!  I'll leave the words of wisdom about food to other people but will just tell you one thing about me:  I would hate to be a child being called a "tank". 

Both of my kids, now 3 and 6, spent some time being quite "solid".  Never too much awry on the charts, but they are now 75%ile on both height and weight.

Your daughter will probably grow up to be around the same height as you and her father.  So if you are both of average height and build, she will be too.  The best thing I can say is to treat yourself as you want her to treat yourself.  If you eat well and project a positive view on the world, she probably will too.  And like someone previous said - everyone has something they are self-conscious about.  It is something you have to learn to deal with.

As for well-meaning (or perhaps not) comments from relatives - I've had to actually say that we don't talk like that around the kids.  It is amazing how many adults don't realize kids are listening to them!  One thing I learned from being a kid - it means a lot when my parents say something nice about me to other people.

an issue of your child growing up to be fat or having a chubby toddler  should not be the concern of an parent for their infant or toddler  at so early in their lives unless they are having failure to thrive or they are becoming unhealthily obese.

Children in this age category do not have the same palate as we do and they are learning to identify tastes and textures.  the important thing is that we give them nutritional foods (organic is better) and introduce different foods to them whether they eat them or not.

Teaching healthy eating as they get older will be the key- having them be self conscious of weigh when they are children and young teens is going to cause them to have esteem problems and  a child will eat when they are hungry and forcing them to always finish their food is going to be what causes the weigh gain.

Most weigh is from eating when you are not hungry and forcing yourself finish something when your full.

Healthy eating starts with healthy foods also remember- "eating to live, not living to eat"


I wouldn't worry about it.  My brother and my sister have kids that are under 1 year apart.  My sister's daughter (SD) is 9 months older than my brother's daughter (BD), and SD is FAR larger than BD.  SD is just built more solidly, even though she loves to swim and run and play soccer.  In fact, at 6, SD was wearing clothes that my brother's step daughter wore at 12 (maybe the tiny genes come from my brother's wife).  BD takes ballet, and has the body of a dancer. SD is also head and shoulders taller than most children in her class at school.

It's funny though, that at 7 and 6, there is still a visible difference between the two, but they're both very proportional to their sizes.  Although SD was a tank (we called her the little bruiser, and she was CHUBBY) as a baby, she's tall but normally weighted now.

They grow into their bodies.  If your child is overweight at 8 or 9, I would worry, but when they're so tiny, they need the fat and calories to help their little brains and bodies do the important things they need to do while they're growing.  :)

Parenting is the most important, frustrating, wonderful and crazy job in the world.  Being a mother is even worse!  And better!  But, that being said, I have to say that you remind me of myself when my daughter was young. 

Anorexia and Bulimia was just coming was everywhere you looked, and I would toss and turn at night, afraid that because I suffered from body dysmorphic disorder when I was younger, then my daughter would also. 

But as a mother, I also worried that I worried too much, and then not enough and that her friends were too nice, or too wild or too...parenthood=worried.  And this is good...but, too much of anything will spill over onto your children.  When a parent 'hovers' or questions, or talks about, or leaves pamphlets or...the list is endless…we cause damage.  We end up scaring our children and causing them anxiety about the same things we worry about.  Every generation has done this, and when your daughter has children, she will do it too.  This is how our species has survived, by protecting our young from what is painful and dangerous.  But, sometimes we can go too far and end up causing the same issues we were trying to avoid.  Such as, when as a parent with the best intentions, tries to make them eat this, forces them to exercise or teaches them to hide what makes them different, as opposed to having pride in those things.  Worry is good and helpful, but trying to aggressively avoid pitfalls often causes those same pitfalls.

The teenage years are fraught with anxiety and feeling like you are the wart on a camel's backside, no matter what you look like.  It's the hormones.  But that passes, and your daughter, because you love her and worry about her, will come out on the other side feeling as confident, smart and as beautiful as she went in.  Luckily, today my daughter complains about being too skinny and she is starting college in a week, so I guess I didn't screw her up too bad! Good luck!

I assume you and your daughter see a pediatrician; what does the dr say about your daughter's size?  From the photo your daughter does look she is a bit big for her age, which could be baby fat that will go away...or could be the beginning of a life of obesity.  I'd look to your dr to give you guidance so you don't either over or under react to your concerns.

I would be concerned about your husband's forcing her to eat when she doesn't want to.  One of the biggest mistakes my parents did which set me up for obesity was to force me to finish all my food when I was little.  I never learned what my body's signals were for hungry or full, I just knew to eat everything present so I didn't get anxious about the consequences.  That set me up for many years of eating in response to anxiety or discomfort;  so please have a talk with your husband so you can help your daughter learn how to recognize real hunger and how to tell when she's full.  It's so much more difficult to learn how to do it as an adult.

Instead of telling your daughter to clean her plate, maybe he could ask her why she stopped eating.  Was it because she didn't like the taste or because she was no longer hungry?  You could ask her how she knows.  If you do it in an emotionally neutral way then she can develop good awareness of what her hunger signals are...if she feels accused or judged, then she'll associate food with negative emotions, setting her up for emotional eating in later life. 

(I knew my parents meant no harm and had been brought up during the Great Depression so I understand why they did it but...)

It really does depend a lot on what you give the kid. Perhaps if she loves carb-heavy snacks, and this bothers you, you should not give her any. At that age kids really eat what is put in front of them, and even if she fusses, you can stand your ground. I had a friend growing up who was huge. Twice my size at 5 and she is still huge as an adult. But her family was awful with eating, the whole lot of them obese. So I think that part of good parenting is teaching your kids what is healthy and that means sometimes refusing things from her.

When I was little, we had huge money problems and food was a luxury, so I was really skinny. Now I'm overweight, because when mom got a better job, I got more food and more sugar. Now I wish we would have just stuck with eating maybe better foods, not more. I wish my mom would have forbidden me  eating chocolate, just as she forbid me drinking soda, which I still don't, because I never got the taste for it. So I wish I never got a taste for carbs, because I've spent the last 20 years of my life struggling with my weight.

I'm just saying that sometimes your kid will want something that you know is bad for her and if you say no, she may be mad then, but will thank you later.

Zelda of Arel --  Kids and adults need carbs!! 

Our brains function on SUGAR which our bodies have broken down from the whole grains, starchy whole unprocessed vegetables and fruits that we are hopefully eating. 

Maybe what you meant to say was ``reduce the amount of refined and processed carbs your family eats.`` Carbs are necessary to good health.

Original Post by violetgriffin:

Zelda of Arel --  Kids and adults need carbs!! 

Our brains function on SUGAR which our bodies have broken down from the whole grains, starchy whole unprocessed vegetables and fruits that we are hopefully eating. 

Maybe what you meant to say was ``reduce the amount of refined and processed carbs your family eats.`` Carbs are necessary to good health.

 That is just what I meant.

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I agree with those who say to teach her to have a positive body image. I am female, 6'1, larger than average bone structure (doctor's words), and I weigh 200 lbs. I grow up in a family of tall women and they taught me to never be ashamed of my size. I am an adult tank and I love it. 

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