(Speaking of stats, I’ve got a blog post about them coming soon – watch this space.)
The popularity of How I tried (and failed) to grow a big fat baby is partially because the post was briefly being returned in search results for the term ‘big fat baby’, which is a shame for the people who were doing that search, since that post is about the exact opposite type of baby. But I think there’s another reason that people are reading these posts, and that’s because there are lots of other parents of petite babies out there who are just as anxious about their baby’s size as I was. So for those parents, here’ s some advice:
Don’t get too hung up on the Red Book.
The Popple’s weight usually hovered around the 2nd percentile in the Red Book. That essentially means that if there were 100 babies her age in a room, 98 of them would be bigger than her.
And so what?
Someone has to be the smallest (or the second smallest). Someone has to be the biggest. As long as your baby is more or less following a centile line, don’t worry too much about which one it is.
Don’t discount genetics.
I worried about the Popple’s weight obsessively, even though many people pointed out that my husband and I aren’t exactly giants. At 5’5 and around 135lbs, Adrian’s the bigger one of the pair. The idea that the two of us could create a big fat baby was laughable. I should have seen that.
And yet I couldn’t, because I felt so much pressure to put pounds on the Popple. I kept chasing the dream of those chubby baby thighs, and I felt devastated every time a trip to the weigh-in clinic confirmed what I could plainly see – that the Popple wasn’t fat.
The fact is, smallish people are probably going to have a smallish baby. That’s just how it goes. If you and your partner are both on the small side, know that it’s likely to have an impact on your baby’s propensity for chunkiness.
Trust your instincts.
There will be cases where a baby fails to gain enough weight because of an underlying health issue, ie reflux or cow’s milk allergy. If this is the case with your baby, you’ll probably have a sense that something isn’t right. They’ll be in pain and not afraid to let you know it.
But if your baby is perfectly happy and just a bit on the small side, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. While the Popple wasn’t the cheeriest of babies, she never gave me any reason to suspect that there was any health reason for her being small. I should have trusted that part of me that knew, deep down, that she was fine.
Don’t worry about weaning.
Your petite baby might not eat much solid food at first. Don’t worry – most babies don’t eat much solid food for the first few months. They will probably hate the food that you offer them, but they’ll soon learn to love it. Then they’ll go through a phase where they hate it again and refuse to eat anything but rice cakes. But then they’ll love it again.
Babies are annoying like that.
Some days they will hardly eat anything. Some days they will steal a bag of breadsticks out of your handbag and eat the whole lot in one go. It all balances out.
I’ve gone from worrying about whether the Popple is eating enough to wondering if it’s possible for a small toddler to eat her weight in grapes. She’s still petite, but I’ve stopped focusing on the numbers and started focusing on the joy of moments like this.