Please don’t call my baby big

Summer babyMy heart swelled when the lady who stopped to peer into Lottie’s cot in Boots last week exclaimed at what a gorgeous baby she was, just as any mother’s would.

When she then said: “She’s a big girl though, isn’t she? Was she big at birth?” My heart sunk. Please don’t make me have this conversation again.

“No,” I replied, “She was 7lb 13oz.”

“So how has she got so fat?” She asked. Accused.

Now I’m not a shy, quiet person, who doesn’t say what she thinks, but I just mumbled and joked that she liked her food.

I didn’t stand up for my daughter. I didn’t tell the woman that it was a vile thing to call a baby fat. I just joked about it and colluded with her disgusting comment. Because for some reason, our society doesn’t do that. We ought to take the comments and politely accept them, not argue or be rude.

The conversation ended when the woman tried to take Lottie’s dummy out of her mouth to see if she would smile at her. I politely asked her not to touch my baby and moved away.

My little Lottie Bella was 7lb 13oz when she was born, which put her somewhere around the 50th centile line. Despite weeks of struggling and battling with breastfeeding, it would seem that expressed milk did her just fine. because by five weeks old, she was just under the 91st centile. And then formula seemed to also do its job, bringing her up to 19lb 7oz and onto the 98th centile as she hit 22 weeks.

She now hovers between the 98th and 99.6th centile. She is happy, healthy, has only ever been really ill once in her life so far *touches all the wood she can find* and she is now weaning beautifully, eating pretty much anything we offer her, except banana. YUCK. She really enjoying mealtimes. She also gives the most awesome cuddles imaginable.

So I am delighted and worry free, right? Wrong. I worry on a daily basis about Lottie’s weight. She is bigger than most babies her age, taller, but also chubbier. Despite following the guidelines for feeding to the nth degree, I worry that I have overfed her. Panic that I am setting her up to be overweight for the rest of her life. Analyse all food I am giving her to ensure it’s balanced and healthy and giving her what she needs. And constantly watch what mum friends are doing differently to us, to see if I’m doing it wrong.

This is all part of mum guilt, I get that. We worry about everything when it comes to our kids, especially I’d imagine, when it’s the first and let’s be honest, you don’t have a bloody clue what you’re doing.

Please don’t panic, I’m not putting her on a diet, restricting her food or anything worrying like that. And her mealtimes are always positive, happy affairs. The health visitors are not at all concerned about her (I ask them every time she gets weighed). But despite that, the nagging worry continues. I have always struggled with my weight and I don’t want to set her up for that in later life.

People like the woman in Boots don’t know all of that. I would hope that if she did, she wouldn’t have been so vile. But even if she didn’t know, is it OK to call a baby fat??

She isn’t the first and I’m pretty sure she won’t be the last to comment on Lottie’s size. There was the lady in Sainsbury’s who called her ‘Big Baby’. There was my husband’s work colleague who told Lottie he thought I was giving her too much milk at four months of age. And there have been many who tell me not to worry, once she starts walking, she’ll slim down.

There is a weird thing that happens when you decide to have children. You become public property and you appear to become devoid of any emotion or feelings. It starts when you are pregnant and people feel the need to comment on your lifestyle, touch your tummy, comment on your weight (read Mel’s recent account of this here. And then you have the baby and this seems to continue.

It’s nobody’s right to make nasty comments about anyone. Regardless of any good intentions, you need to think about what you are saying, the labels you are putting on people. When you look into a baby’s buggy, find something nice to say about them. That mum or dad who is pushing the buggy is already beating themselves up on a daily basis about whether they are doing it right. They are aware of every single non-average thing about their precious child and they are worrying about it. And you pointing it out will not benefit anybody.

And the next person who comments on Lottie’s weight will be told this in no uncertain terms. Because I am tired of accepting people’s well meaning nasty comments. Tired of colluding with them. Tired of not standing up for my girl.

Lottie doesn’t understand their language at the moment, nor mine, but as soon as she does, I want her to hear her mama fighting her corner. Telling them not to be nasty, to think before they speak and most importantly, telling them that she is the most beautiful baby in the world. Because I will do everything in my power to ensure my little girl grows to be a confident, happy woman, who is comfortable in her own skin.

So next time you look into my pram, please don’t call my baby big.

 

41 comments

  1. Farmerswifeandmummy says:

    Oh you poor thing. Stop worrying she is perfect. Both my kids are obese on paper but are not in real life. I don’t take g to get weighed anymore and ignore everything else. I cannot accept that a baby’s weight at 1 can determine their weight as an adult. What about life factors?
    Enjoy your beautiful child and please don’t worry. G slimmed down when he started walking but even if he didn’t, I wouldn’t care.
    I hate that people feel the need to comment xxx

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Thank you lovely. How can a child be called obese? Yours are gorgeous healthy little people too and it makes me so cross that we have to label them at any age, but especially when they are little. I do enjoy her, and I’ll try not to worry xxx

  2. Bex @ the mummy adventure says:

    I Have had a ‘big’ baby (above the 99.6th centile) and a ‘small’ baby (below the 0.4th) and I found the comments equally hard with both. my first was so much bigger than other babies but he was so happy and healthy and you would never guess now apart from the fact he is still taller than his peers. I used to lie about my little one though, we had such a tough journey that I didn’t want to share with every stranger on the bus or in a shop so I told people he was premature rather than explaining his illness and that he wasn’t growing. well done mama you are doing an amazing job and Lottie is just perfect x

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Oh Bex, that’s so sad. People shouldn’t be commenting on anything about them other than how lovely they are. It’s awful that all of this opinion made you feel you had to lie when you were already looking after a poorly little one. It makes me so cross. Thank you so much lovely xx

  3. Ghostwritermummy says:

    Absolutely well said. How dare anyone comment on anything apart from how beautiful, how happy and how lucky Lottie is to have a nun like you. I won’t say take no notice because I know that I would be devastated too. We had it that other way round, a lady in sainsburys accusing us of taking Elsie out too soon as she presumed she was prem and we were bad parents for not hiding away with her. We were asked so many time la what was wrong with her and you really do question your abilities as a parent. But if your HV is not worried and you are giving her what she needs (love, care and attention) then stuff everyone else xxxx

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Aaw thank you lovely. I just don’t understand why people feel the need to air their ridiculous opinions. How awful for you to have that kind of comment! Never question your abilities, you are a fab mama, but it hurts when people say these things, doesn’t it! xxx

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Thank you lovely. I just don’t get it, we wouldn’t say these things to other adults, so why say them to pregnant people or children? xx

  4. Mim says:

    Bloody rude woman – grr! Trust me, if you had ever over-fed her she would have let you know by covering you in milk! She’s a beautiful baby – happy and healthy. Some people will find any reason to comment though, drives me crazy too x x

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Exactly. I never knew that about over feeding, so thank you lovely. And thanks for your lovely comments. You guys give me back the confidence that others so often take away xxx

  5. Bekka Ross Russell says:

    How absurd that anyone would think that a big baby is anything other than gorgeous and healthy! It makes me sad that even at a few months old, people are already beginning to sexualize kids and think about whether they’ll be traditionally attractive adults. ABSURD. In addition, not that it matters, but there’s actually evidence that underweight babies are MORE likely to become obese in adulthood! Not to say that the next reader should start panicking about their skinny baby – just to say that it’s WAY more complicated than chubby baby = unhealthy child or adult. Your girl looks gorgeous and perfect – it just makes me sad that gorgeous, perfect, and big seem to be mutually exclusive in some people’s (tiny) minds!

    http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/why-underweight-babies-become-232809

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Bekka, your comment has summed up exactly how I feel about this, thank you so much! This is a really interesting read and makes me feel much better. Not because it means she is magically going to be a skinny adult, because even if it did, that really doesn’t matter a jot to me. But because these silly assumptions that people make are totally unfounded. And thank you for your lovely comments about Lottie, she’s my perfect baby girl xx

  6. Nikki McClintock says:

    Lottie is one lucky little lady to have such a strong and thoughtful mama as her role model xxx

  7. Rebecca Taylor says:

    People are so rude when it comes to babies. My son was born on the 99th centile and still is at 4 years old. Comments I used to get when he was born (he was 10lb 7oz and early) was it was no surprise he was big as I am a big woman!!! Seriously it is like people’s filters disappear when a baby is around. Take no notice your gorgeous daughter is exactly what she should be healthy and thriving. 🙂 xx

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Please tell me you are joking?! Rebecca that is awful and I’m so sorry you had to hear those things! Thanks lovely xx

  8. Karen says:

    I had a big baby (10lb) at birth and by 6 weeks he was 14lb. He had a big head, broad shoulders, long body and was solid. He was just big. He was totally breastfed and stayed “big” until he was 3, but even now he has very long legs and broader shoulders than his peers. He’s a healthy eater. I always hated the comments on his size. I even had a health visitor ask me if I was sure I wasn’t feeding him formula on top of breastfeeding because he was “a bit chunky” and in the 98th centile on the charts. It’s annoying. Babies are all different and people are just rude! She’s gorgeous and looks and sounds like she’s healthy and doing well, which is most important. It’s a bit like people commenting on pregnant ladies bodies/shape/size, they just shouldn’t!!

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Oh my goodness Karen, the HV joining in is awful, you poor thing. You’re so right, they just shouldn’t. My mum always used to say, if you’ve nothing nice to say, say nothing at all! xx

  9. Sarah says:

    This is great. I have the same problem with my twins. They just turned one and are on the 91st and 98th centile.
    They were 6lb7 and 6lb9 born at 36 weeks.
    I think people assume twins will be small so are doubly shocked when they see the size of them. I had a huge complex about the size for ages as people would always make a big deal out of it. I’ve learnt not to sweat it now, especially as we are dealing with various health problems with each of them x

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Thank you! It’s horrible that you were made to feel that way. I’m so sorry you had to go through that, especially when they have had health problems as well! I just don’t understand why people think it’s ok to be so rude! xx

  10. Hannah Budding Smiles says:

    For starters, Lottie is absolutely perfect and beautiful. I hate what public property we and our children are, it’s been something I’ve struggled with this time more than with Toby, but Lottie will thrive knowing that mama has her back and it sounds like you’re doing everything right re food so try not to worry lovely. I’ve had the opposite with Toby because he’s such a dinky thing, no matter how much he eats and drinks he’s a small boy. He weighed 7lb 9oz at birth but dropped a lot and only just reached near the 50th centile around 20 months xx

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Thank you sweetie. Bless Toby. I think they will always give us something to worry about Wong they?! Xx

  11. H says:

    Firstly Lottie is beautiful so please don’t think I am being negative in what I’m about to say, because I’m honestly not. But, is it wrong to call a baby fat? I mean, does fat have to be a bad thing? Babies are often chubby and this often signifies that they are healthy… we have developed negative connotations around the word fat based on adult health but it’s completely different for babies.
    I’m not for a second saying that a stranger should feel they have the right to comment on your babys appearance, because they shouldn’t. But maybe these people don’t mean to be negative or insulting, maybe it’s just a genuine comment and yes they need to think, but is it meant to cause offence?
    Please please don’t take any of this the wrong way, I just think the word fat doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Chubby babies are wonderful, just as smaller babies are.

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Don’t worry I didn’t take this the wrong way at all. I do see where you are coming from and there have certainly been a few positive comments about her size. I think largely it’s the negative or accusatory tone that upsets me with some people. So I guess I think it is wrong if you are being negative if that makes sense? Xx

  12. Kim says:

    My story is exactly the same at yours! My son was 7.13lb at birth, I struggled to breastfeed (I reluctantly stopped as it was so painful and I was very upset about it for months after – felt like a failure). He then rocketed to the 99.9 centile. He stayed that way and is now very tall for age. He’s 4 now and is in 5-6 clothing. He lost his beautiful roundness and is now solid, tall but lean. He loves his food as he has always done. Carry on what you are doing, your daughter looks beautiful. I have had many comments in my time but I don’t care anymore. Xxx

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Kim we are living in nearly parallel universes! Thanks so much for your lovely comments and I’ll try to ignore the negative ones in future xxx

  13. tired mum says:

    Upsetting for you, I feel for you. I had a lot of comments about how small my son was as a baby which instinctively made me think “its cos he doesn’t feed much oh god is he abnormal etc etc”.

    but I tried to remember that people are always just trying to connect in a friendly way when they comment on your baby. It’s true that babies and pregnancy make you public property and open to comments from strangers on your belly, your weight, your eating etc etc….

    I actually think it’s a beautiful thing as it connects us on a level that is otherwise missing in the world today. I’ve found that often the commenters are older women, probably mothers themselves who miss that time of their lives and are remembering their own experiences and wanting to share. If someone says something that you have perceived as hurtful they didn’t mean it to be taken that way and it’s a good opportunity for you to say, for example “you don’t know this but I have struggled a lot with her feeding and she’s gone onto a bottle so now I am really sensitive to comments about her weight – they hurt my feelings even if they’re not intended to”. That way the lady will know not to say that kind of thing in the future again and both you and her will have had a constructive and meaningful exchange – which is kind of what being human is all about.

    Important to remember that just as much as the lady who commented should be empathising with your situation and not making that comment, you could also be empathising with her and asking why she wanted to say it. Is that helpful?

  14. Beth Evans says:

    I had a similar problem with my first / she was 7lb6oz when born, and was always a very slim, dainty baby. But anybody and everybody would comment on how “small” she was. I breast fed her, and didn’t that just open me up to all kinds of criticism from the bottle brigade… I was constantly full of guilt. She then developed an intolerance to Cows Milk Proteins at 7 months – cue more guilt. And has been on or around the 25th centile her whole life.
    But you know what? Someone has to be – that’s the point! I eventually learned to ignore the comments, especially the ones that were ever so slightly edged in bitchiness, and I now have (as I always did) an extremely bright, beautiful healthy little girl.
    Never take any notice of the comments – You are her mother, You know her inside out and better than anybody else, and You are undoubtedly doing a fantastic job to boot.
    (& don’t even get me started on the “helpful” comments I’ve received over our Kate entrance to the world of potty training….!)
    Everyone ‘s a critic.
    Chin up sister.
    Xxx

  15. Soph says:

    My friend just sent me this as I am currently going through the same thing with my beautiful baby daughter. I’ve had the big, chubby, bouncy, bonny etc etc even my in laws can’t help but comment ‘she isn’t exactly wasting away is she’ and ‘she likes her food doesn’t she’ I have worried and had her weighed and sometimes thought I should cut her food down. But do you know what everyone also comments on how happy she is all the time and that’s because she gets enough sleep, food and plenty of love. I too am way to polite and in future will be making my offence clear! Thanks for writing this as it’s helped me to feel I’m not being over sensitive! All babies are beautiful especially to their parents and no one should feel they can say otherwise. Xx

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. And I’m so sorry you’ve experienced this as well. You’re not being over sensitive at all, nobody should make these comments about your gorgeous little one. Let’s tell them how hurtful it is from now on and start to stop it! Sending hugs xxx

  16. faye says:

    From one bigger baby mum to another, i too receive these comments and find them quite insulting but…… you are doing amazing. All 3 of my kids where right up there on the 96th percentile. When ds2 got sick at 9 months he lost an amazing amount of weight, I have always wondered how such a large weight loss would have effected him if he had been a petit baby. Ds1 now 8, ds2 now 5 and both healthy, slim sporty little boys. Ds3 9 months and getting bigger by the day. Ignore the comments. Your baby is perfect just way she is and I can assure you she will be fine and you are doing amazing 🙂

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Oh Faye, thanks so much for your comment. And sorry you had to suffer them. What matters is that they are healthy and happy and it sounds like your little ones are just that!! Thanks lovely xx

  17. Amber says:

    I hate this too. We kind of have the opposite problem, our baby was 6lb 6oz when born and is still in the 2nd centile at 11 weeks. I get at least one comment a day when we’re out on how small he is, he has bad reflux and was vommiting around 8 times at every feed, been to doctors 5 times and they eventually gave him Gaviscon which helps control it but he’s still sick. Paediatrician won’t see him as he’s growing within his centile and I have to pump at 6am every day as he wont take the gaviscon in water (it tastes disgusting and I don’t blame him) and feed him every 2 hours as he’s still being sick at every feed. People don’t realise the stories behind our little babies when they make flippant comments, and you wouldn’t ask an adult their age then comment on their weight! Your baby is beautiful.

    • heelsandhooves says:

      Oh Amber, I’m so sorry your little on is so poorly, but it sounds like you are doing an amazing job bringing him up and keeping him happy and safe and that’s what matters. You are so right – people don’t know your baby’s story, so shouldn’t comment!! xx

  18. Lorraine says:

    Im glad to read your post. My little Logan who’s 9mths now is a little overweight I have been told that he got to tall and to fat by the public health nurse.every day someone will comment on wat a big boy he is if this were the case he would not fit into 9-12mths clothes his pants are a little long his tops are loose ye I listen to this all the time I use to agree with people jus because but now reply wit hes not he and he’ll slimdown ones he starts walking I like u stick to the guide lines and refuse to but my baby on a diet is obsered. Keep smiling xxx 🙂

    • heelsandhooves says:

      So sorry to hear you are experiencing this as well Lorraine. But good for you to stand up to these people and setting them straight! Keep smiling too! xx

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