Monday, 12 July 2010

Weighing It All Up

Baby V had her 13 month immunisations appointment with the health visitor last week. 3 injections in one day it was not something I was looking forward to. However not for the reason it turned out to be.

When we sat down the health visitor commented on how long V is. I just said yes she always has been. When she was weighed and measured the health visitor showed me the graphs and said I should just watch her as while her height is the 91st percentile her weight is just under the 50th. She started asking how she eats, if we give her butter/ custard etc. Now Baby V eats everything, always has done, there isn’t much that she’ll refuse and even then she’ll probably go back to it! Our families can’t believe what a good eater she is. I know we have nothing to worry about it in that respect.

But as she’s asking me these questions I started to feel worried that maybe there was something I was missing. While nodding away to butter and custard I blurted out ‘and she loves her fruit’ and then could have kicked myself thinking well that’s not very calorific. This soon turned to anger. Wasn’t she looking at me and Baby Vs daddy? – He is very tall and slim, always has been. I am quite tall and while not as slim as I once was (it wasn’t until I was over 25 that eating whatever I wanted started to catch up with me, I miss those pre 25 days :( I’m lucky my height is quite forgiving of the extra weight)

And as for her graphs was she not looking at these herself? V has always followed this same pattern – very tall, average weight. Even her measurements in the womb at our 20 week scan came up all average with extra long legs! I remembered this health visitor from her 5 week check and a similar comment about keeping an eye on her height/ weight. I remember mentioning it to some friends’ also first time mummies to babies under one. The most experienced of us was nodding emphatically as I told the story. They had had the same issues with their son except he was average weight and bit short – and lo and behold she and her husband are not the tallest!

Earlier in the week I saw a young boy and his parents on GMTV who had been sent home with a letter from school stating he was obese. All because his numbers didn’t fit their averages. He was a healthy sporty boy who did not look overweight. I’m sure it is a good thing trying to nip obesity in the bud in schools but surely such throwaway use of the term is not the way to tackle it. I know myself that when I have exercised regularly and spent time in the gym the resulting muscle gain has meant my weight hasn’t dropped as I might have expected but I have toned up and lost inches from my measurements, perhaps not any lighter but definitely healthier!

Why don’t the health professionals look at other factors than the numbers on a graph? A simple look at me and my husband/my friend and hers would give a pretty good picture of our baby’s genetic makeup. Not everyone follows the happy average. And thank goodness. Think that would be pretty boring. And whilst I’m ranting don’t you just hate it how they rush you out the door when they’ve just stuck needles in your baby and you’re still trying to soothe her?!


  1. I wouldn't worry too much about it! As long as she is eating healthily and you are happy with V's progress I would just nod and smile at the Health Visitor. My girl was always classed as underweight but she has grown up just fine!!!!

  2. Seriously don't stress about it! You are no doubt a fantastic mother and you can trust your mother's instinct as to whether your little one is growing properly or not.

  3. I totally agree with this post! I was made to feel so nervous about breastfeeding and the amount of milk that I was making at the beginning of Baby Bee's life because she was so small. And still when I take her for check ups I get the ...."well, she is below average for her age"...but I am a five foot, small woman and it just makes me want to scream when they don't take that into consideration! Grr!
    I know she is healthy and happy, so yes we should just nod and smile at the HV, but it still drives me nuts. Hope Baby V is recovering well...Baby Bee has hers in a couple of months. Yikes!

  4. You don't need a graph to tell you that she is doing fine. You know she's eating well. You're her mother.
    My eldest is on the 75th for height and the 25th for weight, always has been. He's tall and slim, but eats well and is perfectly healthy. I'm not concerned at all x

  5. Emma - Thankyou, yes nodding, smiling but inwardly seething! ;)

    PhotoPuddle - Thanks, we know she is doing so well x

    beesonskis - It's horrible that they can make us feel this way, especially in those early days when the hormones are giving us enough to be going on with! (my breastfeeding story would be a whole other post) It is so silly that they don't seem to take parents heights etc into consideration for the charts. My sister and her husband are both really small and they have always had that for their two and it seems so glaringly obvious why they don't make average on the graph! Parenting can be hard and worrying enough without getting us to worry about something needlessly. Hope Bee is okay with her injections, V has been fine after hers x

  6. Thankyou Sandy. I know she's healthy and we're proud of her gangly legs ever since we saw them on the scan (oh yes, and even when she was hoofing me with them from inside the womb!)x

  7. I am a strong believer that you don't need a graph to tell you if your little one is thriving - you can see that for yourself. My children were always classed as 'underweight' when in fact they were perfectly healthy but HVs used to scare me to death with their charts and worried tones.
    I'm sure your little one is just perfect x

  8. Thankyou, of course she's perfect ;) and you are absolutely right. It's a shame they scare us with their graphs instead of looking at the whole picture x


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