Body-weight is a BIG parameter when it comes to evaluating a person’s health, whether it’s an infant, child, or adult.
Only, when it comes to adults – it’s said, “The lesser the better”.
And for Babies – it’s “The more the better”.
And in both cases, people forget it’s not about more or less weight, it’s the Healthy Weight that matters.
In this post, I am going to be talking about a baby’s weight and a Mom’s Struggle with It.
How does a Healthy Baby Look Like?
When you imagine a healthy baby in your mind, what do you see?
Chubby cheeks, squeezable baby fat, thunder thighs… a squishable, lovely weight when you hold that little angel in your arms.
I am sure most of you got the above image in your mind.
(Except for the mommies of not so chubby babies, I am with you there, Mommy!)
It’s been instilled in our psyche that a chubby baby is a healthy baby. This misconception leads to stress and anxiety in Moms whose babies are on the skinnier side. And being a Mommy of a “not so chubby” baby, I can relate to it completely.
Chubby Does Not Mean Healthy
My baby has always been on the skinnier side, and therefore it’s been one of my major reasons for worry. Like everyone else, I also imagined babies as chubby and full of lovely baby fat.
When my baby was born, he was of a healthy weight as per newborn baby weight parameters. Then he got diagnosed with an infection and had to stay in NICU for almost 2 weeks, where he lost some of his birth weight.
After coming home, everyone kept hoping to see my baby chubby with that squeezable baby fat. Only that never happened.
And a few months after his birth, we started receiving comments like:
“Isn’t he a little thin?”
“Is he okay?”
“Are you feeding him?” (Seriously, what kind of question is that, to a mother of all people?)
“Maybe you should supplement with formula!”
“Haven’t you started solids yet?”
I had to hear all these things and more because my baby was not up to the mark of the “chubby standard of weight”.
It didn’t matter to anyone that he was an active and healthy baby reaching his milestones on time. All that mattered was the absence of chubbiness and bulky weight.
People need to understand that every baby is different, just because he isn’t chubby doesn’t mean he is not healthy. It could mean his body is just not wired that way; it all depends on his genetic makeup.
For the Moms of skinny or thin babies, it becomes hard when everyone keeps reminding her that her baby is thin. And on top of that, the judgments and unwanted pieces of advice never stop. It takes a toll on a Mom and causes stress and unnecessary guilt.
How to survive as a Mom of a skinny Baby
Don’t let the remarks get to you
Don’t let the remarks and those unsolicited pieces of advice affect you. Do what the doctor says and trust your instincts. If someone is really forcing the issue, just say “his doctor says his development is good and he is healthy, that’s all that matters”. It’s better to brush off such discussions.
No Guilt, Mommy
If you let the remarks stress you out, you will slide into guilt mode over your baby’s weight. Trust me, I have been there. But some things are not in your hand. You can’t do anything if your baby’s genetic blueprint is to be thin.
Do not force-feed
It’s normal for formula-fed babies to gain more weight compared to breastfed babies. Breastfeeding is based on demand-supply, whereas in a formula the child may drink as much as served to him possibly.
It does not mean you should start formula even when you have good breast milk supply. And you should never force-feed your baby anything; it could be harmful to your baby.
Consult your Pediatrician
If you are worried, consult your pediatrician, if he says everything is fine then stop fretting over your baby’s weight. And if the doctor feels the weight is a cause of worry, he will guide you properly.
Babies come in all sizes – skinny, chubby, long, or short. While society may think your baby is not healthy because of being thin and not having those chubby cheeks, that’s not true.
As long as your baby is reaching his developmental milestones, is active and alert, and consistent in his growth, he is absolutely fine and HEALTHY. And that’s what matters the most.
Do you have a chubby baby or a skinny baby? What were your struggles with your baby’s weight? Do tell me in the comments.
Note: This post is written as part of the #BlogchatterA2Z Challenge for the letter W.