When you have a baby, it’s easy to get obsessed with numbers. How many hours is she sleeping? How much milk is she drinking? And the big one…How much does she weigh?
Numbers, numbers, numbers.
Call me thick, but I’ve always hated Maths. The sight of a graph fills me with dread. Pie charts bring me out in a cold sweat. And I would rather sit in a bath with a tarantula than work out a conversion from kilograms to pounds.
So, imagine my horror, when I found out that having a baby involves pretty much all of the above (except for sitting in a bath with a tarantula. Obviously).
When people meet your new baby, one of the first things they’ll ask is “how much does she weigh?”. This is the only time in your baby’s life that they will be introduced with their name and weight in the same sentence. At any other time this would be considered strange. I mean, can you imagine introducing a friend to a friend with, “This is so-and-so and she weighs 9 stone”? No, didn’t think so.
So why do we do this with babies? In the early days, I have to admit, Competitive Mum was making an appearance. I was as guilty as anyone of posting my baby’s new weight as a status update on Facebook, as if anyone actually cared. It’s pretty ironic that we spend the first few months of a baby’s life worrying that they’re putting on enough weight, when they’ll probably spend a lot of their adult life trying to lose it. (No? Just me then).
Frog had a weigh-in today (no, she hasn’t taken up Boxing. It was a check up with the Health Visitor). She’s dropped a bit on the chart thingy. Don’t ask me how much she weighs because as soon as the Health Visitor told me it went straight out of my head. I’m no good with numbers, remember? The Health Visitor told me to try giving her some more solids. As if. She already packs away three full meals a day, about a gallon of milk and grazes on snacks in between. She actually spends most of her day eating. She hasn’t got time to eat any more!
I spent the rest of the day worrying about how to “fill her up”. How can I cram in more food? How can I make her fat?
Until I realised it’s a load of old bull. When she’s hungry she cries, so I feed her. When she’s full she stops eating. Since when did we assume babies don’t know how much they need anyway? She’s still putting on weight. She’s reaching all the developmental milestones she “should” be meeting. What’s the problem? She isn’t making a nice neat line on the growth chart? Maybe she just hates Maths as much as I do.