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The Skinny on Baby Fat

Here are some common fears  -- and the realities behind them when it comes to baby bulge.

Fear: Babies who are large at birth are more likely to develop weight problems later on in life.
Reality: False. Watch instead for early weight gain. Infants typically double their birth weight by 4 months of age. "If they gain faster, they're more inclined to become overweight," says Matthew Gillman, M.D., a professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Fear: Formula-fed babies are more likely to get fat.
Reality: There is research showing that formula-fed babies tend to be heavier, but it's not a given; if you're not nursing, there are other things you can do to encourage healthy weight gain (see below).

Fear: You must closely control the amount of breast milk or formula your baby consumes to keep his weight on track.
Reality: Well, yes and no. You don't want to underfeed your baby, of course, but she is perfectly capable of knowing when she's had enough. Don't push her to finish that last ounce in the bottle or those last few spoonfuls in the baby food jar.