With all the worries that come with being a parent, your toddler’s sweet little round belly shouldn’t be one of them. I’m sure you thought that once they were up and walking that they would immediately begin to look like older children, but the truth is, they will maintain that pudgy little belly for just a bit longer.
Where is That Stomach?
A child’s stomach changes position naturally as they grow. When they are infants, as well as during the early portion of toddlerhood, your baby’s stomach will be in a horizontal position within the abdomen. It won’t be until around the time of their second birthday that it will begin to shift into a more upright, vertical position like all of us grown-ups have. Once this shift occurs, that little one’s rotund belly will flatten out all on its own.
Note That Large Liver
Your toddler also has a relatively large liver compared to the rest of their body. This will take up more space in there, and it will add to the fat belly appearance until they grow into this important organ. In addition, their lungs can make their belly look rounded. When a little one breathes in, their lungs become filled with air. This pushes the diaphragm downward while making their abdomen look fuller. This is all completely normal.
Grow a Spine
You have surely noticed that adults and older children stand with their spine straighter. This makes the belly appear flatter than your toddler’s. Your child is at an age where they simply do not have the muscle strength and structure that the rest of us have. This completely normal curvature of their spine also makes the belly protrude. Here again, that look will eventually fade away with time.
Don’t Throw Caution to the Wind
No one wants to scare a new parent, but you also don’t want to overlook any possible problems. Keep in mind that a cute little rounded belly is absolutely normal for a toddler, and your child more than likely fits into this average shape. On the other hand, if you begin to notice that your toddler’s stomach seems more rounded than it usually does, keep an eye on the situation.
It is quite possible that they are heading into another growth spurt. In this case the excessive protrusion will appear flatter within a couple of weeks. They could also be experiencing a bloating problem. Watch for any discomfort that coincides with the exaggerated belly. This could be the result of constipation or some type of food intolerance. Children who are lactose intolerant will experience diarrhea and cramps in addition to the bloating.
Chance are your baby’s tummy is perfectly normal for their age, but if you have any concerns, don’t ignore that mother’s intuition. You can always have the pediatrician take a look if for no other reason than to calm your own nerves. Otherwise, relax and enjoy that sweet little tummy before these precious years all too quickly slip away along with their chubby belly.