Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Petite child

Question: My daughter is 4 and she has always been petite. When she was born she was 5 pounds 1 1/2 oz, she was born 2 weeks early. She is almost 3 ft. but only weighs 29 pounds. She eats a lot, but she is also very active. Maybe she burns the food off when she plays. But what I wanted to know Dr. is that if it's normal for her to be that petite? I was petite like that when I was little. I also give her vitamins. People always say I don't feed her enough when I really do feed her a lot actually. - Christina

Answer: Christina,
Let's start simple. Technology has advanced enough so that we can clone. However, we can't pick our own genes!

You mentioned that you also were petite as a child. This is probably the biggest factor in your daughter's size. The fact that she was 2 weeks early probably has very little to do with her height and weight at this point.

Usually by the age of 2, even the most premature of preemies have caught up to a child who was full term. Even though it appears that they are eating like "a bird," overall children will consume food in proportion to their needs.

If your daughter is active and up to par in other aspects of growth and development, then enjoy watching her grow!

Vitamins are fine if she is definitely lacking specific nutrients. Iron is an important element that may be supplemented if lacking in the diet. Allow your daughter to have a variety of foods that she can choose from.

As far as what people will say, the majority mean well. Opinions will always be available, as everyone has different experiences. As a Mom, feeling guilty goes back to the beginning of time. I think that is genetic too! Sounds like you're doing a great job! Keep up the good work!

Dr. Betti

Also see:

  • What is the cause of ITP and is there anything that can prevent it from recurring?
  • Can a pediatrician comfortably prescribe and manage ADHD medication or is it better suited to a psychiatrist?
  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.