What Is Newborn Fat and Why Parents Should Not Ignore It?

Newborn fat is not normal especially if the baby was born with high birth weight. It increases the risk of childhood obesity and other problems.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarUpdated at: Aug 31, 2020 11:44 IST
What Is Newborn Fat and Why Parents Should Not Ignore It?

Some babies look extremely chubby with fat oozing out of their cheeks, hands, legs and abdomen. Though babies with chubby cheeks look super cute, the body fat is not a good sign. A little fat is okay and is normal with babies as this fat is an energy reserve for them. But if the fat mass persists for longer periods, this is concerning and need to be addressed says Dr. Latika Sahni Uppal, Consultant- Neonatology, Fortis Hospital, Noida. Parents must read this article to know more about newborn fat.

What is the link between neonatal fat and birth weight?

Parents may ignore newborn fat in the initial days thinking it to be normal but lesser do they know, this is one of the risk factors for childhood obesity. Excess fat mass is not healthy for the baby. According to research published in the journal ‘Pediatrics’, babies with high fat in the initial age grow up to become overweight or obese. Such kids often suffer from obesity at the age of 6. Therefore, he should be fed only health baby food.

What is the ideal birth weight?

As per Dr. Uppal, healthy birth weight is below 3.2 kg. The best weight bracket for a newborn is 2.5 to 3.2 kg. A baby born in this bracket is said to be a healthy baby. Whereas, if a baby is born with above 4 kg weight, he is said to have been born with high birth weight. Similarly, 2.5 kg and below weight is low birth weight. Normally, a baby gains about 150-200 grams of weight every week as he turns six months old. Post that, babies gain 80-150 grams of weight per week. This shows that the growth rate of a child is higher in his first year of birth.

Also Read: Is Your Baby Unable To Sleep Through The Night? Here Are Some Possible Reasons Why

What causes newborn fat?

One of the major causes of a baby been born with high weight and fat deposition is gestational diabetes. When a mother is diabetic during pregnancy, her blood sugar levels alter the baby’s growth process. High blood sugar levels in the mother’s body also reach the womb causing unnecessary growth. In most cases, heavy babies are born to mothers who suffered from gestational diabetes.


Also Read: Tips To Identify and Diagnose A Viral Rash in Infants

Complications for the baby

Other than newborn fat, there are many other problems associated with the heavy weight of the baby. When the baby is growing unusually fast in the womb, his body may get pressurized by the pelvic bones of the mother. This can cause fatal consequences such as:

  • Breaking of arms or collar bones
  • Nerve damage in the neck 
  • Brain damage
  • Thick heart muscles
  • Problem in breathing

Babies born with heavyweight are also susceptible to jaundice during birth. This is another major health concern for the baby. Thus, it is very important to keep the weight of the baby under control.

If your baby weight more than the normal weight, you must consult your paediatrician on how to control it from increasing further. The mother must also refrain multiple feedings or overfeeding the baby as milk may also add to the body weight. For other concerns, you must consult the doctor.

Read More Articles in Newborn Care