Bug,  illos

My Baby Has a Giant Head

Baby Bug doesn’t really have a giant head. She has a very nice small round head. It’s just that sometimes when you go to the doctor and they tell you that your child is in the 10th percentile for weight, the 25th percentile for height and the 95th percentile for head circumference, you start to think crazy things. I’ve never really been very good at math, so in my wacky brain I’m imaging that she is very very skinny, she has a teeny tiny little body and a GIANT head. What’s up with that? Maybe I should tell the doctor that I just don’t want to know. Because if anybody is a worry wart, it’s me and I will worry myself silly over my baby’s size 95 head. See how I am? Size 95. Where did I get that?

Baby Bug has a new doctor. We changed doctors. What an ordeal that was. Anybody ever tried to get records sent from one doctor’s office to another? You’d think they were still using the pony express or maybe carrier pigeons for how difficult and time consuming that whole process was.

We switched because I didn’t really like her old pediatrician. It’s not that I’m picky about doctors (obviously) it’s just that well, he was the smiley type. At first I liked that about him because my OBGYN was not the smiley type and after nine months of doctor’s appointments that left me with that missing feeling, I was very happy for some cheery bedside manner. But then his smiles started to feel fake and patronizing. And after we asked about Baby Bug’s clogged tear duct for the fifth time and he started drawing over simplified pictures of eyeballs and talking to us like we were dense kindergardeners, I started to think I might find another doctor I liked better. Plus, the waiting room was always filled with very scary sick kids and the clerical staff wasn’t much better than the staff at the department of motor vehicles. I had lots of reasons to switch.

Thankfully, I have good friends like whoorl who have connections in the medical world. Whoorl recommended a new doctor that I like very much. (Not counting the news about Baby Bug having a size 95 head of course.) The new doctor is so nice! She smiled just the right amount. The sincere kind of smiles. She gave us a prescription for Baby Bug’s infected eye before we even asked about it. She told us all about clogged tear ducts and all the different kinds of massage you can do to help speed up the unclogging process. (Something the old doctor didn’t say a peep about.) She told us how some people don’t agree on massaging methods and gave us her opinion. If Toby wasn’t so antsy to get going because he had work appointments, I could have hung out with her all day listening to her advice. But of course with talkative doctors comes long waits in the waiting room because they are always talking to the patient before you…so we were running a little late by the time we got to see our new wonderful doctor.

The other advice the new doctor gave me is that I need to feed Baby Bug more fat. FAT. Ew! Babies need lots of fat apparently, especially underweight ones. I already give Baby Bug a lot of cheese and yogurt but the doctor said I need to give her more, and none of that non or low fat kind. She told me not to worry too much about Baby Bug being underweight, since both Toby and I are on the small side, but I still worry. I always worry! I guess I mostly worry about what I’m going to feed her all the time. I can’t let her fill up on empty calories because she needs every calorie she can get to count. She already keeps me hopping with her crazy demands for big people food. I try to save her bits and bites of things we eat but it’s still a big job for me to keep up with. Maybe I’ll have to start planning her meals when I plan our weekly meals. Yikes.

So anyway, I guess I just want to say that I’m worried but I’m not worried or that I know I’m not supposed to worry but I worry just a little bit anyway. I mean, isn’t that what mom’s do? Toby says not to worry. He says that’s just how Ponnays are. They are just very “concentrated” in their small bodies.


  • brooke

    i hear avacados are great for the baby! the fat and omega-3s help with brain development and its something they can easily feed themselves without it needing to be mushed. no need to worry, though, mama, you are doing great!

  • Gretchen

    Big head = big brain. She’s one smart cookie, but you know that.

    I was going to suggest avacado also, or the Yo-Baby yogurt. Or butter. Just kidding on the last one… ;)

  • Kuky

    Worrying is natural. Our baby used to be in the 90th something percentile in weight and we used to worry she wasn’t eating enough real food but umm HELLO obviously she was getting enough fat because like I said 90th something percentile!

  • Beck's Mom

    Baby Bug sounds like our kids – 95th percentile in head circumference, 90th percentile in height, and 4th percentile in weight. (Beck’s Dad noted, “Somebody’s got to be in the 4th percentile, and it may as well be us!”) Baby #1 had some follow-up test for the large head which was negative for abnormalities. MD looked at us parents and decided the weight and height were family characteristics, then mentioned that in the normal population, large heads tend to correlate positively with higher intelligence. Intelligent kids bring their own special set of challenges to parents. :)

  • Lauren

    ok .. this is going to sound kinda gross probably .. but after jack had gotten really sick he was really skinny … so i’d pour olive oil in his soup (he would only nurse and eat lentil and rice soup) also you can make some very nutrient dense smoothies (even with avacado! mixed with whole milk yogurt and some fruit i bet she wouldn’t notice it.)

  • BeachMama

    I love Toby’s comment. And big heads run in our family. People would stop my sister and say “WOW he has a big head” when referring to her son. He did, but he grew into it. J’s head is so big I have to get him hats from the big kid section, they aren’t as cute as the ones for toddlers. I wish I had recommendations for fat we have a hard enough time getting J to eat anything fatty try making her cereal with cream ;).

  • mar

    Stonyfield Farm makes a whole milk yogurt – can’t get much more full fat than that. Try rice or tapioca pudding, and make sure you use milk (or formula) when you make her baby cereal or oatmeal.

    Our ped told us that it is because your brain is basically cholesterol, and so up to age 2 you shouldn’t do anything to restrict fat, as it is the time when the brain develops most.

    There was an interesting article in the NYT recently about big heads in children, and intelligence levels, etc. My oldest had a huge head (off the charts!) and he is in 2 different gifted and talented programs (art and academic). However, sometimes it is a case of being careful what you wish for – Beck’s Mom is correct in her comment above – intelligent kids bring their own set of challenges!!

  • Kedge

    Half & half is wonderful on berries and on Malto-Meal. This from a two percentile baby’s perspective. (myself) But…I know your fear is that she’ll like this way of eating and not ever want to stop!!

  • Jennifer

    I’m pretty good at that worrying too. Especially about what my baby does or does NOT eat. We went through some rough times where she refused her bottle at around 6 months. She is a bottle fed baby and was down to about 8 oz of formula a day. For a while she was at a standstill with weight but nowadays seems to be growing nicely. She’s much smaller than her sister was at the same age, but I think that is just her body type. I’m always trying to get fat into her diet also because of the brain development issue. She’s on a mixture of soy milk and formula which is already lower in fat than just formula. I do a lot of full fat dairy products. She likes cottage cheese and yogurt a lot. I was just thinking, I haven’t put cream cheese on anything but that would probably be well liked too. I can’t think of anything else at the moment. My brain is tired today. I’d say try not to worry, but I think that’s one of the jobs we have as moms so I won’t :P

  • kate

    oh… i feel bad reading that – i think you know why!!! but i can relate about the records part and switching pediatricians. i think i have you beat we already are on #3. who knew what
    stress it is finding a doctor that you click with. i can also relate to the big head issue. when ped. #1 casually mentioned our little guys big head and suggested he could have
    fluid in the brain and maybe need a brain shunt as casually as you would say “oh he’s got a freckle”, i knew it was time to switch. ped #2 refreshed me when i explained my
    big head concerns, she said let me measure your heads. then she consulted her book looked at us and said he’ll wear big hats just like you!! oh and here is a good recipe she might like to fatten up- brown rice with butter and mashed bananas- or apples baked with butter and cinnamon. just a thought- kate

  • Sarah

    The doctor told my friend the same thing, that her baby was too skinny. (I said she was just a supermodel, what does he expect?) She started giving her heavy cream which worked fine.

  • Mary

    Yeah, I know about big headed kids, I have two so far. My little boy is two and last doctor’s visit he was in the 10th percentile for weight, 15th for height and 75th for his head! So, far my little girl, who is three months now, has had a head in the 97th percentile, so her’s is even bigger! Poor girl! She’s still cute, thought, somehow! So, far her weight is in the 90th percentile, too, so that’s good. My son was always below the 50th percentile for weight. He ate tons of whole milk yogurt after he was 6 months old and he still didn’t get fat! He is just so busy and burns every extra calorie. My doctor was never worried about his weight. My family tends to have a fast metabolism. My little girl so far seems like she’ll be just as busy, she’s already trying to roll over, so she’ll probably not be so chunky when she gets moving around more. So, anyway, I wouldn’t worry too much about how much fat Baby Bug is getting.

  • Angella

    All THREE of my kids have big heads…I just figure they must be geniuses. The same goes for Baby Bug. And babies need fat (whole milk, etc.) Don’t worry…or at least try not to :)

  • aunt kathy

    Just lotsa brains!

    Teege had a big head as a baby and grew into it. Now he’s 6’3″ and still skinny but his head is perfect.

  • Gramma

    How about sugar free puddings made with half n half (not the fat free kind)? Maybe her favorite squash with BUTTER? Even try bananas slices with peanutbutter. BTW I think her size is perfect. It goes with her giggle and fake laugh

  • carrien

    I have skinny kids too. They just got longer without really gaining pounds. I loved the SUper Baby Food book by Ruth Yaron. She has great ideas for kid snacks, (that aren’t mush) as well as how to make ahead as whole bunch at once and store it in the freezer for when you need it. My kids didn’t like avocado either, but I found out I can hide everything in a popsicle, yogurt, porridge or a smoothie. Ground almonds, flax seeds, whole milk yogurt. I even got my daughter to eat avocado for a whole month by mashing it into yogurt with bananas and strawberries. They loved cream cheese, they also loved soft goat cheese the Chevre or whatever, they’ll eat it by the spoonful, it’s supposed to be a better dairy than cows milk for allergies and little tummies. Try adding olive oil and flax oil to smoothies or yogurt, wheat germ, ground nuts and seeds, all of the things that have healthy fats in them. And don’t worry she’ll be fine, mine are, they are very strong, lean, athletic kids.

  • Bethiclaus

    Alliclaus has had a huge head from birth (her head circumference is not even on the chart – nice). Everyone always says, “She must be very smart.” Mostly, I think that’s a crock, but WebMD recently ran a story that said that children with large heads actually are smarter. I’m not sure about that, but I think big headed babies are the BEST babies.

  • Wendy

    Just another mom with a skinny baby. My first was in the 5-10 percentile when he turned one (he was NEVER over 25%). It’s funny how as adults we are so concerned about fat in our diets…it just seems so wrong to be adding fat to things. My ped recommended adding a pat of butter or drizzling olive oil over things. This was an easy solution for us. My kid did not like avocado either. My girlfriend suggested mashing it with some banana. It worked for her kids, but not for mine. They couldn’t be so easily fooled. That being said, my baby never really magically gained weight so don’t expect the numbers to drastically go up. He did however remain on the curve! :)

  • Bethany

    Don’t some types of fish have the right kinds of fat, like salmon and tuna? Does Baby Bug eat those? She likes pasta, right? Try tossing it with olive oil and butter–delicious and nutritious. :-) I second the suggestions about full-fat yogurt (great with frozen berries!), cream cheese, and yogurt. What about sunflower seed butter, if you’re not doing peanut butter for allergy-preventing reasons? Chopped egg yolk? Good ol’ ice cream?

  • Carrie

    Erik is always in the big head departemnt too. Usually 95th percentile for head, 5th for height, 50th for weight. I don’t think any of it matters much unless they are underweight or they have a really small head. Looks like you got a lot of great suggestions for getting the fat in her. I don’t think you are supposed to give babies any kind of fish, though. At least that is what our doctor said. I haven’t had to be worried about fat since Erik is a short little chunk but he does always get full fat everything. I know that fat is very important to their brain development. I thought Annica was crazy when I would see her loading up her daughter with full fat cream and butter but I guess she knew what she was doing.

  • Ellen

    I just took my 15 month old son for his check-up yesterday and he is 75% for height, I forget the head circumference, but he fell off the bottom of the chart for weight. He had been in the 5% and he only gained 6ozs since his 12 month check-up. He’s like two or three lines below the lowest curve. We were also told to fatten him up and Carrie suggested I come on over here and take a look at the ideas people gave you. So I’m just tagging along to hear what people suggest. Thanks!

  • nila

    It must be a mother’s job to worry.

    When we were at our first well visit with my son the doctor looked at his head measurment then looked at us and actually wrote in the chart that “parents have big heads, so baby’s big head okay”. They still have big heads, and they’re pretty smart so they must have them big brains too.

    I have no advise on fattening foods, but I have a 10 year old that weighs 55 lbs, so I can relate to your worries. I will say that he is very healthy, and his small package makes him that much more special to me. I never deny him fast food or ice cream, I just wish he’d eat more of it.

  • Nicole

    Both of my boys 5 & 9 mo. have large heads. My oldest wears hats from the big boys department. I have a largish head too. My husband (privately – not in front of the kids) quotes lines from So I Married an Axe murderer. After we went winter hat shopping, I kept hearing “that kid’s head is as big as Sputnik!”