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.