Weight and Babies

Warning: this really is about weight and babies, it could get really boring if you don't care about this. But well, I'm a mom of a 17month old, it's geneticly encoded in me to worry. End of Warning.

I'm a pediatric nurse, I've seen quite a few underweight babies, and also some on the overweight size. My thoughts always were if a baby's underweight according to the growth charts check out Mom and Dad first to see if they're 5'1" or if the baby's truly underweight or just smaller. And big babies, well the bigger the better. As long as parents weren't feeding them steak and potatoes at 3 months, I was cool with that.

Then I had my own baby, if anyone remembers Seporah had rolls upon rolls of fat, a Michelin baby if there ever was one. Out growing her infant carseat at 5 months (and wearing 2T clothes at the time). I loved it, she was a healthy baby. Until her 6 month appointment, I was told she was too fat, her pediatrician said I had to curb the eating. The nurse in me said, whatever, she's 6 months old I am not putting her on a diet, the growth charts are outdated and Dad's 6'3". The mom in me said, I don't want a fat daughter, that's social suicide, it's even worse than a fat son.

I did put her on a 'sudo-diet,' whatever shouldn't have listened but I did. She got all the vegetables and rice cereal she wanted, I think it amounted to about 16oz a day, but she could only have 24oz of formula. So I never let her go hungry, but instead a bottle everytime she got a lot more baby foods then I think she should have gotten at 6 months. I don't agree with the current trend to start giving babies rice cereal at 4 months, it's not good for their digestive tract. Wait until 6 months. That's my thought.

So I was reading and the World Health Organization has developed a new growth chart for children. No it's not edited to include bigger children, it's edited to show the way babies SHOULD grow. The original growth charts were based on white middle class Americans that were bottle-feed. These new charts were developed using children in 6 different countries that were exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months. The WHO found that babies gained more weight initially in the first 6 months and tappered off from there, instead of steady climb in formula-fed babies (FYI: the charts are intended to be used for both breastfeed and bottlefeed babies and through all ethnicities, remember these are charts showing how babies should grow, not how a random group of babies did grow at one point in time).

Looking at Seporah's growth on these new charts, she was right on track. She was indeed right at or above the 95% the whole first year (Steven and I still are pretty big compared to other people), however she wasn't way off the charts like she had been with the old charts. Especially seeing as for the first 4 1/2 months she was brestfeed. I think if these charts had been developed sooner, many mother's would continue to breastfeed longer and wait longer to introduce "real" food to larger (and even smaller) babies. My grandmother, Mom and I were all told our babies were either not gaining enough or had too much weight with at least one baby. And I'm betting every baby was just fine.

In our society we are so worried about weight, before they're even born, weight is an issue. It's far better to let babies be babies and eat what they want. Instead of forcing them to eat more, or stopping them from eating as much.

There's my thoughts for whoever actually read this. I don't think my thoughts are read by any mothers with young children. But if they are and you'd like the link to the growth charts to give to your pediatrician who says your baby's too big or small, here it is: