Big babies run in my family. My sister and brother were both close to ten pounds when they were born, and I was the “little” one at 8 pounds 10 ounces. My husband also was a good size baby at close to nine pounds. So naturally when I found out I was pregnant I expected our baby to be a good size when he or she was born. I didn’t stock up on newborn clothes or diapers, but instead went straight to the size 1s and 0-3 month clothes. When we found out I would be having a c-section two weeks ahead of my due date, I figured the baby would fall closer to the low eight pound range, but knew he or she would still be a good size.
When she was born I remember thinking to myself, “Eight pounds sure looks small” and then my husband told me her stats. She weighed 6 pounds 14 ounces and was 19 ¾ inches. She was a peanut and so tiny! She was healthy, but I never thought I would give birth to a baby that was under eight pounds, let alone seven! She was swimming in the 0-3 month outfits we brought for her and looked so tiny in our arms. I knew she would grow, and I was fine with her being a tiny baby. What I wasn’t expecting was the comments that would come over the next few months and how much they would bother me.
We brought her in for her two-month pediatrician visit and she fell right along the ten percent range for weight. Her four-month and six-month she fell on the same percent range. Our pediatrician didn’t have any issues with it and just said, “She’s a petite baby”. Then why did I continue to feel like something was wrong with her? When I began to see other babies that were younger than her and weighed more I began to question if I wasn’t feeding her enough. People would make comments saying, “Oh she’s so little”, or guess her age to be four months younger than what she really was. I even got a comment from a worker at a retail store when she was six months asking why she was so little, almost implying something was wrong with her. My response? “Because she is.”
I then realized that our culture views the image of a big, chunky baby full of rolls on their thighs and arms as healthy, when in reality, just like adults, healthy babies and kids come in all shapes and sizes. There are growth charts and percentages for a reason. There has to be the babies and kids hanging out at the 10th percentile, and they are just as healthy as the babies and kids hanging out at the 90th percentile. Low percentiles may be viewed as bad and high percentiles as good because of the idea of test scores. When it comes to kids growth, all ranges may be considered good. Nothing was wrong with her, and I was feeding her plenty. She was meeting her milestones and was the happiest baby ever. Once I realized this, I shook the comments off and they didn’t bother me as much. In fact, I kind of love having a tiny baby. She fits in her clothes a lot longer, is easier to carry around, and still looks like my little baby at nine months old!
Did you have a baby that fell outside the normal range (i.e. small or big babies)? Tell me about your experience and how you handled it.