I told her not to grow up so fast…

May 12, 2011 by Kara Moore
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The baby and I went for her nine-month check-up yesterday. She did great (except for a naptime fit). She got one shot and barely flinched. Me? I didn’t do so well.

She’s always been a tall, skinny baby. She comes from tall, skinny people, so it shouldn’t be any kind of surprise. At her six month check-up she was something like 90th percentile in height and 50th in weight.

This time she was about 50th in height – so, not so tall anymore — and fifth in weight. FIFTH.

The doctor showed me two growth charts. The first, the one we’d been using since she was born, was the one that had her at fifth for weight. But he said that one was a little outdated, so he showed me a new one that the World Health Organization has come up with. On that one she’s 20th for weight and 50th for height.

So when you factor in babies from third-world countries she shoots right up to the top of the bottom quartile. Great.

OK, I don’t actually know if it factors in babies from developing nations. The doctor did tell me that it factors in more breast-fed babies.

The doctor isn’t worried, and he told me not to either. (He’s very calming. The friend who recommended him to us said that he really understands that when you’re caring for babies and children, the real patients are their parents. So true.) He said she’s healthy and developing well, she’s wetting and dirtying diapers (that’s code for “peeing” and “pooping”), and she’s got a good appetite. She’s just petite.

That’s not the first time I’ve been told she’s petite. I hear it all the time.

Stranger: “She’s beautiful! How old is she?”
Me: “Almost nine months.”
“Oh wow, she’s tiny!”

Until yesterday I always replied, “Actually, she’s really tall.” As if saying it made it true.

It’s not that I need her to be tall. I mean, I’m tall and always registered in the 90th percentile for height, but my husband isn’t excessively tall, and so far she really seems to be built like him and his side of the family. One of his sisters is so petite that when she was a baby the doctor thought she might have failure to thrive. But she’s fine! She’s short, but she’s perfectly healthy! THIS IS GOING TO BE FINE!

My paranoia comes from breastfeeding. I’m constantly worrying about my milk supply, even though all indications are that it’s fine. Plus, the baby eats actual food now. But when you can’t see the milk in the bottle and measure exactly how much she’s getting, any indication that the baby isn’t going to be Paul Bunyan (no, Word, I don’t mean “bunion”) can be a test. This is one of the myriad reasons women don’t breastfeed, and I totally get it.

The doctor also suggested she might have a growth spurt in another week and get right back on track. So as I take deep breaths to calm down, that’s the hope I’m secretly clinging to.

Please, moms, tell me about your tiny children and how they’re perfectly healthy.

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5 Responses to “I told her not to grow up so fast…”

  1. KristenNo Gravatar says:

    This is why I hate the charts. First of all, your doctor should have been using the WHO chart from day 1 as you breastfeed. But it’s really great he told you not to worry, because seriously, you should NOT worry. Your daughter is perfect. I know I’ve only seen photos, but she has really never struck me as strangely petite or anything. I’ve met a lot of babies in Portland over the past 5 months, and they are all different proportionally and chunk-wise. I know one woman with a baby a bit older than Dax who had anxiety for nearly 6 months (from 6-12 months) about breastfeeding because her doctor was using the wrong chart for her daughter! Real terrible anxiety! It’s just not cool. The word on the street is, Look at the baby, not the numbers.

  2. Karan I.No Gravatar says:

    Genevieve (now 8 and petite) was growing according to schedule (and charts) until about 9 months, when her doctor abruptly declared that she was in the 5th percentile and was failing to thrive. And, that it was my fault b/c I hadn’t been feeding her enough solid food.

    I took her to the hospital, on doctor’s orders, where they stuck her to get blood for tests. Later, all tests came back normal.

    I switched pediatricians and sent a letter to the one who had accused me of poor parenting accusing her of poor bedside-mannering. (Actually, failing to provide nutrition to one’s child is probably considered worse than “poor parenting”.)

  3. Katy BrownNo Gravatar says:

    I wish I could help you, but Ava’s long feet were referred to as “sleds” when she was born. ; )

  4. Katy BrownNo Gravatar says:

    …oh, and I forgot about my sweet Maryn, referred to as the “only toddler in the nursery”.

  5. CaraNo Gravatar says:

    Someone told me once that a sign of a good doctor is one that looks at the baby, not the chart. Sounds like you’ve got a good ped.

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