Reasons why do toddlers have big bellies?

Often, when we look at our children or those of other people, we are compelled to compare them. Our attention is usually focused on how one toddler is taller than the other and why one toddler has a potbelly and others do not.

The presence of a potbelly does not necessarily imply that a toddler with a potbelly is overweight. You will find that your toddler has a potbelly for quite a few perfectly normal reasons.

Additionally, certain situations may require a visit to the physician.

What causes toddlers to have large stomachs?

The other answers have noted that toddlers require a large amount of food compared to their stomach size, so their bellies appear large. Furthermore, they are experiencing an enormous growth phase. Since their abdominal muscles are still developing, they cannot control their stomach sticking out to the same extent as adults.

The reasons why your toddler has a pot belly

A protruding belly on your child can be concerning when you first notice it. It is particularly interesting when other children do not have such a problem.

It is difficult to avoid wondering why your child has a potbelly. However, there is a wide variety of reasons why their stomach may be protruding.

Position of the stomach

Around the second birthday, a child’s stomach will gradually shift from its horizontal position to an upright, vertical position, suggest Vicky R. Bowden and Cindy Smith Greenberg, authors of Children and Their Families. This shift will likely resolve that characteristic, rotund appearance of your tot’s stomach.

Malnutrition is a severe problem.

We all have seen commercials featuring children living in countries with fewer resources than others. Sometimes, you’ll see a child who appears so skinny that you can’t imagine how they can have a potbelly.

Protein is insufficient in their diet, which is why they become anemic. Other vitamins and nutrients may also be lacking in their diet. As a result, the stomach becomes bloated as the body retains water. Potbelly is caused by this bloating.

A potbelly is also more likely to develop in children who do not consume enough protein in their diet. This is often due to the consumption of too much processed food.

Various organs

A child’s liver is also significant in proportion to their body size, as reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics in “Pediatric Education for Prehospital Professionals.” As a child breathes, lungs fill downward as the diaphragm moves, causing the midsection to appear fuller.

The celiac disease

Gluten intolerance or allergy is the cause of celiac disease. This condition has several symptoms, including abdominal pain. There is also a potbelly symptom associated with celiac disease.

Make sure to contact your pediatrician if your child displays a potbelly in addition to other symptoms. The best course of action is to be safe rather than sorry.


Standing upright, a person’s lower spine should be straight, and their stomach should be flat. Babies do not have the same muscular strength and structure that make their tummies look round, say, Susan Scott Ricci and Terri Kyle, authors of “Maternity and Pediatric Nursing.” This curvature of the spine is normal for a toddler, and it will gradually disappear as they get older.

Toddlers with distended stomachs may be overeating

This could cause your child to eat more than they should have at dinner. Food goes into the stomach in the same way.

Due to their small size, your child will appear to have a pot belly if there is a lot of food. It is normal and will disappear once the food has been digested.

It is essential to help your toddler if they are overeating to control portion sizes. If you do not, it will create unhealthy eating habits in them as they get older. As a result, they might develop eating disorders and become obese.

Inhaling air.

Your child can get gas and a swollen stomach if they swallow air. The air in their stomach will remain there until they pass gas.

Carbonated beverages and bread, for example, naturally contain more air than other foods. Chewing gum regularly, eating fast, and drinking beverages with a straw can result in swallowing a lot of air.

Your little one will think they have a potbelly if this happens every day, even though they have a swollen stomach.

They will appear to have a bulging stomach if they are constipated.

Your little one’s stomach may stick out if they haven’t had bowel movements for a long time. Poop fills the stomach. The following are other signs of constipation:

  • A hard abdominal wall
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Stool made of hard material
  • Stool passes slowly
  • Constipation that causes pain
  • Having an accident between bowel movements
  • Stomach stretched out

Some toddlers get constipated every once in a while. Nevertheless, if your child is constipated or their condition lasts for more than a week, you should contact your pediatrician.

How common is it for a toddler to have a potbelly?

Potbellies are common among toddlers. In most cases, when a child reaches school age, their potbellies will disappear, and their bodies will look more proportionate. When a child’s belly feels tender, it should NOT be.

When Should You See a Doctor?

To determine whether or not you should consult a physician, you need to consider any symptoms your child displays at the same time as a bloated stomach. If your toddler develops a fever, distended abdomen, or abdominal pain, your pediatrician should be consulted. Moreover, if your child is experiencing loose bowel movements, you should monitor her fluid intake and contact her doctor if diarrhea persists.


Toddlers who have big bellies often look like they are overweight. The truth is that potbellies in toddlers can be perfectly normal. A baby or toddler with a big belly doesn’t necessarily have any medical issues. Breastfed babies usually have rounder tummies and stick out their stomachs to indicate that they want to be fed. Potbellies can also appear when the child is ready to potty train or has recently been toilet trained. Often, the reason for a toddler’s belly will be apparent as you watch them grow.

F.A.Q. related to why do toddlers have big bellies

What is the normal development of a potbelly in a toddler?

A toddler’s potbellies are generally normal. Children’s potbellies often disappear when they reach school age, and their bodies appear more proportionate. Children’s bellies should be soft and NOT tender.

Why does my toddler’s stomach appear bloated?

Bloating and gas are often caused by foods or drinks your child consumes, including natural health products and medicines. This condition is generally harmless and does not require treatment. However, changing your child’s diet can assist in alleviating it.

Do you know what it means if your baby has a large belly?

The presence of an abnormally sizeable fundal height may indicate fetal macrosomia. Polyhydramnios is a term used to describe an excess of amniotic fluid during pregnancy. Having too much amniotic fluid may mean that your baby is more significant than average. During pregnancy, amniotic fluid surrounds and protects the baby.

How long do chubby babies remain chubby?

According to the study, children can move between weight classes during their early years: Chubbiest 9-month-olds could return to an average weight before their second birthday, while healthy 9-month-olds moved up to heavier categories.

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