My little boy has just turned 6 months old. He’s 22 pounds, and 28 inches long. Today, my doctor told me he is off the charts on the growth chart for his age, and started talking about “dropping bottles”. I listened, nodded my head, and immediately disregarded her advice. My son is big, but he is perfect in every way.
Since the 3 month mark, he has trended on the higher end of the growth chart at 75% at 3 months, 95% at 4 months, 97% at 5 months and now somewhere past 100%. I don’t feed him any more or less than the recommended amount. When he first started to trend on the larger side, I panicked that I was doing something wrong.
At 4 months, our doctor recommended giving him water at his 3 am feed, instead of formula. I did it. He screamed, he rolled around in his cot, and he ended up wide awake for a full hour until I produced his bottle. He was hungry. I swore after that episode that I would stop listening to the chatter, and start trusting my own instincts.
I’ve always been a little obsessed with how much he’s eating.
I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes at 28 weeks and spent my third trimester eating the blandest food on a rigid schedule, and worrying that my baby was going to be huge. He was born 2 weeks early, weighing a healthy 7lbs 9oz, a perfect little boy. I was excited to breastfeed, and naively thought it would come naturally. He dropped 7% of his body weight in the first 24 hours, down to 9% on the second day and by the time he was 72 hours old, he was down 11% in total. We started supplementing with formula, and his weight crept back up. For weeks I timed his feeds to every 3 hours around the clock, keeping a diary of how much he ate. I gave up on breastfeeding altogether after a month. He piled on weight, he thrived, and I relaxed.
At four months, people started to comment on his size. “How old is he?”, they asked, and then the inevitable “he’s a big boy” comment followed.
By five months, people were visibly surprised when they found out what age he was. I regularly heard that he was the same size as their 9-12 month old. I became paranoid, and then just plain annoyed. My son takes after his daddy, he’s solid, well built and sturdy. He is big for his age, but he is absolutely perfect. He hits every developmental milestone on time, sometimes even early. He is loving, affectionate, funny and smart. He is our whole world and I am so proud of him.
Body image starts young, and I will never again comment on a child’s size.
They all develop at their own rate, and we shouldn’t force them to fit into a mold of what we “think” they should look like. My son is healthy, and that’s all that matters. So tonight, I will prepare his middle of the night bottle and thank my lucky stars for my gorgeous, sweet little man.