A healthy baby boy, and a disappointing doctor’s visit.

Oliver is 6 months old today, and is a happy and healthy 25 pounds, 8 ounces and 28 inches long. Yay for my big healthy boy! My happiness at his glowing health was diminished a bit by the discussion that followed his exam.

I am going to find a new pediatrician. Our culture is so unbelievably paranoid about obesity, and this paranoia has apparently begun to rub off on her. Despite the fact that on average babies about double their birth weight by about 4 months of age, which in Oliver’s case would have put him at 22 pounds 12 ounces at four months instead of 25 pounds 8 ounces at six months, my doctor suggested to me that I stop nursing him at night now.

Hmmm… we co-sleep, said I.

Oh, said she, well that will make it difficult to stop nursing him at night. We like to see babies his age sleep through the night and get all their nutrition during the day. So you should move him to his crib, and then stop nursing him at night.

Oh, I see, thought I, as she explained the health benefits of a crib sleeping baby. I should completely alter my parenting style and forgo any further co-sleeping or other attachment parenting planning because you like to see babies sleep in cribs through the night at six months of age without nursing.

Beyond simply waving away my parenting choices as unimportant or uninformed and failing to ask if I was interested in placing him in his crib at night, she went even lower in my opinion as her explanation continued.

She claimed it was to promote healthy sleeping and eating habits, and that is when it hit me. My pediatrician thinks my baby is fat. My handsome, amazing, baby, who has done his job of more than doubling his birth weight by six months.
He is not obese, he is a baby! When a baby’s birth weight is over 11 pounds, of course he is going to be up in the 20 pound range at 6 months, unless there is some failure to thrive stuff going on. According to the experts, he is supposed to almost triple his birth weight at 8 months. If he does, he will be 34 pounds 2 ounces.

It sounds alarming doesn’t it? A 34 pound baby? He must be fat! But a 6 pound baby is supposed to be 18 pounds around 8 months, because infants on average triple their birth weight in the first 8 months. Well, Oliver had a higher than average birth weight, therefore, it is a larger than average number when tripled. He would have to gain 9 pounds from today in order to meet the “average” increase in weight for babies his age. Yet I am supposed to stop him from eating at night.

Basically, I am supposed to limit my infant’s calorie intake. Wait a minute…. I am supposed to put my baby on a diet?! Who on earth would put a baby on a diet? Don’t most doctors tell parents not to limit their babies nutrition because they need it, including fat, for important brain development? Ack!

Anyway, I am seeking a new doctor, who at the very least, won’t dismiss my parenting choices out of hand because she would like to see all babies sleeping through the night in cribs without nursing at 6 months. Babies are not kittens, or puppies, they are people. They are individuals. My little individual is afraid of his crib. If you put him in it, he cries his scared cry, his startled cry, his “mommy something is coming to get me please protect me” cry. Am I to teach him that his most urgent cry is something I won’t listen to by leaving him in there to “get used to it”? What lessons will he really learn from being left somewhere that really scares him?

I don’t believe 6 month olds need to be left in cribs to have good sleeping habits. My daughter never slept in a crib, and slept with me until she was 18 months old. Then we had one horrible week where she learned to sleep in her own bed, and she has had little to no trouble sleeping through the night ever since. For the most part, she goes to bed at 8 and gets up at 7, every night. Keeping her in bed with me has not seemed to destroy her ability to sleep well.

I also don’t believe 6 month olds need to be placed on a calorie restriction diet. I was a hugely fat baby, complete with ankles that rolled down over my shoes and socks. By the time I was a toddler, I was a lean and muscular athletic child, and I remained that way until childbearing and laziness added a paunch here and there. I am sure my son will do the same thing, and will be a strong and healthy toddler and child, without me restricting his diet now.

Now I simply need to find a new pediatrician, and all will be well.

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12 thoughts on “A healthy baby boy, and a disappointing doctor’s visit.”

  1. Oh how frustrating!
    There is not an instruction manual on being a parent… All we can do is what feels right to us ~ and as long as we’re not beating the snot out of our kids, I think they mostly turn out Ok. I definitely have a problem with a pediatrician giving unsolicited advice… especially without hearing you out to see why you’re doing what you’re doing and how it worked with your older child.
    I hope you find someone that fits your parenting style better!
    Hooray for healthy (not fat!) Oliver ~ he sounds perfect to me!
    (My babies were big too ~ not that big but still in 95%ile and I would never have considered putting them on a diet! Now they are running around, so skinny I can see their ribs!)

  2. I think your concerns are very real. And sadly, your pediatrician is very narrow-sighted. My babies required food in the middle of the night until 8-9 months. They were sleeping in their crib, but that didn’t stop their tummies from being hungry. I (think) parented both kids similarly and Elliot is an awesome sleeper, Audrey not so much.

    I wonder how much of your doc’s concern is generational? I remember telling my mom Elliot’s stats after one baby visit and she asked if the doc was concerned that he had gained too much weight. The kid came out at 5 lbs 14 oz. He had no where to go but up! And today, at 4 yo, he’s 35 pounds. So, uhm, yeah – I think he’s fine.

    I wish you luck finding a doctor that appreciates you parenting choices. As you know, you & your doc need to be a team so that if there are issues trust won’t be one of them.

  3. Well, I know I talked to you earlier but I wanted to reiterate that you have every right to feel angry and want a new pediatrician. You are a good parent and you aren’t over feeding him. I know I won’t argue to much with ya anyway seeing as I am a co-sleeping, extended breast feeder myself!

    You might get a few good recommendations for a new pediatrician if you can come along to the LLL meeting on Thursday with me!

  4. Wait a minute! Isn’t this the same exact ped that hasn’t made anything other than approving “Yay you” noises over his growth so far?

    That being the case, what exactly has changed so suddenly? You don’t have an “average” sized baby. You are not an “average” sized woman. Why would she expect your kid to suddenly turn into an average 6 month old?

    Color me confused.

  5. I’m all about finding a doctor who actually treats ‘patients’ like human beings. So yeah, I think you should find someone else. Even aside from the baby-fat issue (I’m totally with you there), it sounds like this pediatrician didn’t listen to you, assumed you aren’t capable of making rational, informed decisions on your own, and then couldn’t read your face or body language well enough to know that she might have to do some damage control to keep you as a patient. Totally inappropriate! You, Misty, are one of the most intelligent, informed, and articulate people I know! What the Hell was she thinking?

    But I think you should let her know why you’re leaving. It’s only fair. It gives her a chance to apologize. And it gives her a chance to learn and grow, so maybe she’ll be better informed for the next Mom-of-an- Oliver-sized-little-one.

  6. congratulations on a healthy baby boy! sounds like he and you are doing marvelously.

    now as for that doctor – ugh!!! i would be looking for another ped too. what sucks is that some parents don’t think twice about questioning a dr’s advice and WOULD put their baby on a diet or restrict his nighttime feeding just because “doctors know everything.”

    julian is nearly 11 months old and still nurses through the night. my daughter nursed at night ’til she night-weaned on her own at 22 months. not saying i want julian to keep it up ’til 22 months, but i think our kids know what they are doing and will certainly not nurse at night for the rest of their lives.

    keep up the good work. 🙂
    amy

  7. Oh my – as a parent of a child that is considered “overweight” I can see your frustration. Our doctor looked at Amber’s BMI and told me that because of her build it was not entirely accurate. Amber is in the 150th percentile for height and BMI has been proven as “the best available” tool for weight calculation but it has been disproven more than 35% of the time.

    Hang in there – find a new doctor and love your son the way you know how to – as his incredibly loving mother……. you know what’s best for him Misty.

  8. Deleted for author’s unwillingness to use a name to tell me I am thoughtless, selfish, and in denial.

    To whoever you are: You are a coward. You want to say something mean to me? Take your mask off and use your name or pseudonym.

  9. Wow! That is quite some weight I’ve to say. From what I know a baby’s weight should double by 6 months and triple by their first b’day. And accordingly, your baby ought to be in the 30 pound range at 1 year.

    Since most babies don’t weight so much I think people may be shocked to hear his weight. On the other hand, if he is healthy and his weight is not causing any developmental delays, then I wouldn’t worry.

    The only irony here is that we live in a culture that is obsessed with being thin and I find it quite funny how people flaunt the weight of their babies.

  10. Anonymous,

    If you are going to write nasty commentary on my blog, have the fucking guts to put your name to it. Because you were too chicken shit to stand behind your ignorant and useless commentary on the fattening up of children, I am deleting it.

    If you wish to repost this drivel, be an adult and use your damn name.

    As for your belief that fat babies are stupid, my fat baby, 8 months later, is brilliant, strong, and doing just fine. You clearly have no idea what you are saying about anything relating to children in general, and my children in particular.

    I was a fat and chubby baby, as was my daughter. Both she and I thinned out as soon as we began walking and running around. I spent my youth at nearly 6 feet, and was a size 8. I was a swimmer and wieghtlifter who practiced with my high school football team. I am now a lawyer.

    Clearly I am neither obese, nor stupid.

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