Here's an interesting thing I've been pondering lately.
I have a four month old baby. Like her sister, she's sits on the leaner side of the charts used by our health nurses to determine if a baby is healthy.
My eldest was pretty much spot on the 50th percentile for everything, so when our girl child was born it was a cause for some discomfort for me that she was persistently 'underweight' according to the charts. Luckily we had a sensible health nurse who assured me she was fine (and as a nearly 6 year old she is tall and very lean still, and perfectly healthy).
My toddler boy is very tall and quite solid, well above the averages for his age, our small girl has lovely rolly polly legs but is never likely to be a chubster like her brothers were as babies.
It was pointed out to me recently that actually only one percent can actually be at the 50th percentile, if other kids didn't fall either side then it wouldn't BE the 50th percentile. Yes, I needed that explained lol.
There is so much pressure on parents to have 'average' children though. It feels like we spend the first two years trying to fatten them up (and at least now the charts also represent breastfed children, when my big boy was a baby they were based entirely on formula fed babies whose weight gains can be quite different) but as soon as they turn two we are told to switch to low fat dairy because obesity is such a problem.
I wonder what kind of mixed messages we send our children from such a young age. They are expected to conform to a set of guidelines that take no account of their parentage or a number of other factors. People who know my family in real life wouldn't be terribly surprised that my children tend to be tall and fairly lean... so why is it a problem if this trend is seen in them as early as babyhood? Conversely families we know with shorter and/or rounder parents tend to have shorter and/or rounder babies. Why on earth should we be fighting the basic genetic makeup of our kids?
And the thing that bothers me most, why is it 'preferable' for our children to be tending towards the long/lean body type just because of what our society currently deems acceptable in terms of appearance? I've been reading a bit lately about health at any size and fat acceptance movements and am likely to blog about them more in the coming weeks, but it makes me so sad that these movements are even necessary. Why can't we from birth tell our kids that they are perfect as they are? Because you know what, they really are!
Obviously I'm not talking about situations where there are genuine causes for concern in terms of health, but for the majority. My friends come in a huge range of shapes and sizes. Should I be surprised that their children do as well?