Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bigger does not always mean better!

As a blogger, you really have to love your bloggy friends. Bex over at Brown Eyed Girl Bex sent me a 'personal' email (bonus marks for that!), with a link to a story about how infants who gain weight rapidily from birth to six months are more likely to be obese toddlers by the age of 3.

Whether this is true or not, is besides the point, but she's been reading along about E's weigh gain journey and saw the story and thought it would make me feel better! And it definitely did... finally some reserach to back up what I have been thinking for the last 6 months - thanks Bex!

I love when there is some good medical evidence (from one of my fave schools, Harvard), that basically throws a shoe in the face of the medical professionals who believe that bigger babies are healthier babies... when I personally think this is not always the case.

The research study followed 559 babies ... and measured length and weight at birth, six months, and three years. They looked beyond how much weight babies gained, and focused on how quickly they gained it. Results of their study concluded that babies who gained weight more rapidly from 0-6 months were more likely (by 40%) to be obese by his/her third birthday (and the results were no different for boys or girls).

Now obviously this will not be the case for all babies... but the underlying message of the story was that 'bigger' babies, are not neccessarily 'healthier' babies... and obesity aside, I like what this story is saying.

As a new mom to a 'smaller' baby (who was not premature), I get a lot of remarks about just how 'small' E is, and after a while you start to wonder if you've done something wrong in the size department. Its sometimes to the point that I wonder if our society expectations of a baby is to be that chubby, rolly-polly, baby that's fat jiggles when he/she smiles and laughs, and if he/she isn't ... then people start to ask questions of concern.

This leads me to the question... what is wrong with slender babies?

I realize that mothers of 'big' babies probably get sick of hearing 'oh she's sooooo big' the same way I get sick of hearing 'oh he's sooooooo small', but I think bigger babies are more accepted in our society than the small/petit babies who take a bit long to gain that baby fat everyone is looking for.

My hope is that no matter what weight a baby is that it is healthy ... whether he/she is a door stopper or a feather in the wind. What's your take on the story... and society's idea of a healthy looking baby?

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