the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Giant Babies (but not mine)

as you are well aware if you have been following my twitter updates, i've been freaking out about max's weight a little bit lately. intellectually, i am perfectly sure that max's weight is normal and that he is growing just as he should be. but i have fallen into the trap of comparing him to other babies. and compared to other babies he looks skinny. scrawny, if you will.

i walked into daycare one day and really looked around at all the other babies in max's room. most of them are huge. not really chubby butterballs (well, a couple are chubby butterballs), just big overall. then there is max. he is definitely not a chubby butterball. and he is tall for his age, which makes him look even skinnier. there are two other babies in his room who are around the same size as max (i'd say their weights are within a pound or two of each other). one is a month older than max (he is slightly bigger than max), the other is about a month younger than max. the other 7 babies are considerably bigger, even the one who is three months younger than max and the one who is 4 or 5 weeks younger than max who was a preemie (5 lbs when he was born, 29 lbs now). i have no idea how much the baby who is 1 day younger than max weighs, but he is ENORMOUS. easily the biggest baby in the room, while max is among the smallest. they are about in the middle of the age range in the infant 2 room.

the other day we met an almost 11 month old (some obscure relation to chad) who weighed 31 lbs at his 9 month checkup (that is well outside the normal growth curve at 9 months, and is 95th percentile for an 18 month old boy). they're not sure how much he weighs now. max weighed 20 lbs 6 oz at his 9 month checkup. according to my scale at home (which does 0.5 lb increments; weighing myself and then myself holding max), max weighs about 22 lbs., maybe a few ounces more. according to the growth chart we have (the same one used by pediatricians nationwide), 50th percentile for a 12 month old boy is 22.5 to 23 lbs. max's 12 month checkup is next week, so i'll know then exactly how much he weighs and where it falls on the growth chart. max's weight has consistently been in the 50th percentile, with his height in the 75th percentile, since his 2 month checkup (he was in the 25th percentile for both at his 1 month checkup). so you would think that he would fall somewhere in the middle size-wise compared to other babies. but we keep meeting all these 30 pounders, and i have yet to see a baby close to max's age who is significantly smaller than he is. how is this possible?

i'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how a 9 month old ends up weighing what a large 18 month old normally weighs. even scarfing table food as early as 6 months and eating tons of fried and fatty food doesn't explain that to me.

i'll admit that max has weird eating habits sometimes. he's been sick twice since his last checkup (sore throat & ear infection then a stomach bug). the first time, he barely ate anything for almost 3 weeks then ate almost non-stop for a week (to make up for lost calories, i assume). then his eating leveled off, and he was eating 3 solid meals a day plus a snack and 16-24 oz. of formula. then he got a stomach virus and ate nothing but small snacks of crackers, bananas, applesauce, or yogurt for a week (he wouldn't eat anything else, and he didn't eat much of those). then he spent two days eating non-stop and gulping down an extra cup of formula. now he's eating normally again, with one snack added to his usual routine (so now he eats breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 snacks). that's pretty normal for a 1 year old, as far as i can tell. i don't try to control max's food intake at all. if anything, i encourage him to eat as much possible.

max is pretty much eating all table food now (he still gets baby cereal for breakfast a few times a week, though), and it's really hard to figure out how much to feed him. so i pretty much load up his plate with what looks like a reasonable amount of food for him and let him eat as much as he wants. if he finishes everything, i offer him a little more. sometimes he wants it, sometimes he doesn't. my philosophy is to feed him as long as he's eating. we keep mealtimes to about 30 mintues or so, though. longer than that, and he's just playing and struggling to get out of his high chair. i also try really hard to make sure he eats a variety of foods and gets enough fruits and veggies, but he also eats things like french fries and cookies every now and then.

i don't really think i could make max chubbier if i tried. when he doesn't eat much, i make sure he eats high-calorie (but still nutritious) food. maybe if i loaded everything he eats with butter he'd be chubbier. but i still don't think he'd be as big as the babies he's around all the time. they're all on the same schedule. they eat the same things for lunch every day (most of the babies in max's room eat the cafeteria lunches, two or three eat baby food). max's snacks are probably higher-calorie than most of the babies' in his class (he frequently eats yogurt and fruit cups along with cheerios or puffs at snack, where most of the babies just eat puffs or other really low-calorie baby snacks). maybe he's just more active than other babies. he certainly bounces more than the rest of them. he's the bouncy baby at daycare. everyone there knows him as the one who likes to jump. maybe all that bouncing just burns off all his extra calories. he also doesn't sleep for as long as the other babies at naptime. so maybe that's it.

anyway, i know i should't really worry about max's weight. most of the time, he eats. i know he isn't hungry. but i would still really like to see a few babies max's age who are smaller than he is.

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