Rachael Rachael, a mom of two daughters, is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys gardening and dreams of keeping chickens in her suburban St. Louis backyard. In her spare time, she helps to edit her husband’s science fiction books. Read more of Rachael's work at www.rachaelsjohnston.com or contact her by emailing rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

I have never really had plump babies. Those pudgy cherubs with pinchable, kissable fat rolls on their legs? Never had ‘em in our house.

My first daughter weighed a hearty 8 pounds, 3 ounces, at birth, but my husband and I are not stocky people. We weren’t surprised when Megan started to slip down the weight percentile chart around 6 months of age. She descended from a solid 50th percentile ranking to the 20th percentile. She has always ranged from average to just slightly tall in height. People said Megan was “delicate” or “petite.”

By the time her 2-year-old checkup rolled around, she had dropped to the 9th percentile in weight. The doctor asked if she had a good appetite. I assured him she did eat. He recommended I continue offering whole milk, contrary to the common practice of switching toddlers to low-fat milk around their second birthdays.

I didn’t worry too much about my skinnier-than-average toddler. She had plenty of wet diapers, was reaching all the appropriate milestones, seemed happy, was eating a healthy diet, and was gaining weight steadily, even if slowly. She rarely ate large portions, but I didn’t force the issue.

We ditched the whole milk a few months prior to Megan’s third birthday, and her appetite increased noticeably. I’m convinced all that fatty milk was filling her tummy so she had little room for other nutritious foods; whole milk may have actually kept her from gaining weight. At her 3-year-old checkup, she was back up to the 25th percentile for weight and has remained there. It’s a good place to be, mostly because the doctor no longer asks if she’s eating enough.

Megan’s 8-month-old sister, Abigail, is slightly larger, coming in at the 50th percentile for weight. She is a tall girl, though, in the 99th percentile for height. Still, not much in the way of pinchable fat rolls. That’s just fine.

We don’t buy a lot of junk food, but still, I like not having to count my children’s calories. If Megan wants an extra cookie – or two or three – at grandma and grandpa’s house, it’s okay. If we’re on vacation and eating ice cream every day, no worries. My daughters don’t have to squish themselves into their clothes either; Megan has the opposite dilemma.

I got plenty of advice about fattening up my firstborn, like serving whole milk and high-protein foods like eggs, beans, hummus, and peanut butter.

But the most practical thing I ever did? I bought lots of clothing with adjustable waists. God bless the person who invented those pants with little elastic loops and buttons sewn onto the inside waistband. Also, we love dresses.

My daughters never had a chance in any Gerber baby contest, but I sure think their sweet, slender little faces are perfect.

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Category: Babies

Tags: eating