Babies bring us joy. Seeing those chunky arms and legs and chubby cheeks makes us want to hug them and kiss them and never let go. But what about when your baby is not chubby and all you can think about is the weight?
When my son was born, we were scheduled for weekly weigh-ins and every time it felt like my heart would stop. I would hold my breath and pray that he had gained weight. My son was born long but skinny and 11 months later, he is still long yet skinny. At each weekly weigh-in, the doctors would tell me he wasn’t gaining weight and warned me that I might have to supplement formula.
I felt like I was failing my baby and I would get frustrated with my breastmilk. But I told myself I would not quit and I would breastfeed no matter what. After a few weeks, he started gaining weight and I felt proud, like I was winning weekly lotteries.
Feeding my baby
My son is now eating solids but is not gaining weight. The pediatrician has again warned me I might have to start incorporating formula. My goal is to make it to a year of exclusively breastmilk. Once again I am worried about his weight.
I was talking to a new mom and a mom of two and we shared similar stories of feeling pressured to have chubby babies. The new mom shared that her family is constantly making her feel like it’s her fault that her son is not gaining weight. She worries about her baby’s health and compares her son to other babies.
The mother of two said she went through the same thing with both her children and at times the mom guilt was a heavy load to bear. It wasn’t until she realized that she was the one making the weight issue a bigger deal than what it was. She told us that we need to stop comparing. It’s not a race to see who has the chubbiest baby. She said babies go through growth spurts and as long as theres no red flags and serious health concerns, we shouldn’t be so fixated on the weight.
Chubby isn’t healthy
And having a chubby baby doesn’t necessarily mean the baby is healthy. My cousin’s pediatrician said my niece is too chubby and that she needs to cut back on feeding her. So now my cousin is comparing her baby’s weight to my baby. Weight is important but it is not the determining factor of whether or not we are doing a good job at motherhood. Of course we have to listen to our pediatricians since they are the experts and we entrust them with our babies. But remember that they follow certain medical standards and guidelines and we shouldn’t take their every single word so literal.
Mamas, you know your child and your mother intuition won’t fail you. Somehow we associated the baby weight as a trophy of how we are doing as mothers. It’s a sort of congratulatory ribbon we wear.
Mamas, the real prize is having our babies.
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