Saturday, March 26, 2011

Stop judging already!

Why do so many people feel the need to comment on a baby's size or weight? Most people don't do that once your child gets older. I've never gotten a comment from a stranger at the mall about how skinny Zane is. :) But I got plenty of comments from total strangers when Raegan was a baby about how little she was, how tiny she was, how she didn't look like she was as old as I said she was. Drove. Me. Crazy.

In our society, it seems to be considered "better" or "healthier" by most people* to have a baby that is chubby. People comment positively on chubby babies or babies that eat a lot. Babies that are petite don't get those same positive comments. Raegan has always been tall and slender. While we tried to get her acid reflux managed when she was a newborn, she became more slender, but she never dipped down to an alarming percentage. Our pediatrician assured us that as long as she continued to measure in at about the same percentile range at every well check, then she was fine. And she consistently stayed in the 30-40% range until she was about a year old. I knew she was fine. I knew that she was nursing well and that she was meeting all of the cognitive and language milestones on time if not early. But I wanted to make her a onesie or a sign or something that said, "I'm a skinny baby and it's OKAY. Not everyone has to be chubby."

*I say most people, but it does seem to go the other way. I have a friend who is currently getting some negative comments about her baby being "too" chubby. The beauty of babies is that they know how to regulate their own eating, which makes them so much smarter than the majority of us adults. Babies know when they are hungry, and they know when they are full, which is why it's just ignorant to put any young infant on a 4 hour (or whatever hour) feeding schedule. So if a baby is slender or chubby, it's probably just genes coming into play. I'm a big fan of not forcing Raegan to clean her plate. I want her to continue to keep those signals of knowing when she is hungry and when she is full. I hope to avoid food or weight issues when she is older by not making meals a battle now.


Margaret said...

Funny you should mention this today... although Simon had some weight loss issues when he was born, he's a pretty big baby now. At 1 month he was 9 lbs, 13 lbs at 2 months, and now at 3 months he's 15 lbs. He's a bigger baby, yes, but I'm so so tired of everyone telling me he's chubby, or chunky, or round. He's just fine. The Dr says he's thriving so I'd like everyone to just bugger off. Just because MY baby may not grow just like THEIR baby, they do not get to comment.

Samantha said...

Thank you for posting this. If the kid is healthy, stop making weight comments. We, as a society, are obsessed with it enough.

Shannon said...

Every baby grows differently! I don't know why people can't get that through their head. The weight comments about Raegan ranked right up there with the comments about her lack of hair as most annoying. :)

And yes, Samantha - my daughter has her whole life to be immersed in a world that is obsessed with how people look and their weight. She doesn't need to hear it from infancy about herself!

TAB said...

Good thoughts! It always kind of irritated me when someone would comment on Marcail's size and then compare her to Henry's teeny, it's just genetics, people. No, Marcail is NOT taking all the food and leaving Henry to starve!
It's good that you don't make meals a battle. She sounds plenty healthy!