Callum is a large baby. A very large baby. He wasn't always that way, but he certainly is now.
When he was born he weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces. When we were discharged two days later he he had lost 5 ounces, only 3% of his birth weight. But when he went to the pediatrician the next day, he'd lost another 5 ounces. The pediatrician's brow furrowed. We left with instructions to supplement with formula and come back for another weigh-in the next day. We did. 8 pounds, 10 ounces. Half a pound overnight! We thought oh, he's gaining! Now we can wean him off the formula.
Nice try. The following week, at his well-child visit at 10 days old? 8 pounds, 5 ounces. Again we saw the pediatrician's concerned face. She told us that they wanted him back at birth weight by two weeks old, and suggested that we switch from the syringe to the bottle for his formula supplements. We did. At two weeks old, he weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces. Close enough, said the pediatrician. Now just keep bringing him in for regular weight checks. As long as he's gaining, I'm happy. Is it possible to gain too much or too little, we asked. No. Any gain is fine, we were told.
And his pediatrician has stuck by that statement. She has zero concerns about how big he's gotten. It's just weird, now, to think back on those times, those looks of concern on the doctors' faces as our baby's weight dropped, as they worried that he wasn't growing enough. It's hard to remember how worried we were about getting him to grow, given how his growth just took off after that.
The usual growth curve for a baby is that they gain a ton of weight in the first few months and then taper off considerably. By 4-6 months, they're usually gaining less. Not Callum. He's gained approximately 2.5 pounds in each of the last three months. There may be a vague pattern of gaining an ounce or two less each subsequent month. But that's it.
It's not a problem, from a health perspective. For one thing, some people say that formula-fed babies taper off later than breastfed babies (though our pediatrician thinks he would be just as big if he were exclusively breastfed). For another, all of his other growth measurements are on pace with his weight. At 23 pounds, 13 ounces, he is off the charts for weight. He's also off the charts for height, at 29.5 inches. And his head circumference is in the 99th percentile too. He's a completely proportionate baby. He's just very large. According to the pediatrician, at six months old he is the size of an average 15-month-old.
I did ask if there were any reason to be concerned about how much he has grown. If he could have some kind of hormonal imbalance or pituitary issue. The pediatrician said no. She said he's just a big baby. And it's no surprise, really. Torsten and I are far from tiny. We're both tall (Torsten especially at 6'4" but I'm also above average at 5'8"). We have big frames, big solid bones with big wrists. And neither of us is exactly skinny. So we knew we'd have a big baby. But we weren't expecting him to be QUITE this big.
People seem to equate "big" with "healthy." We get comments, not just from strangers but also from doctors and nurses, upon first glance, before they know anything about him, "What a healthy baby!" "What a big healthy boy!" "You can see that HE'S healthy!" and so on. And he IS healthy, though I think he'd be just as healthy if he were in, say, the 75th percentile, or even the 25th. I do occasionally worry a little bit about why he's SO very big, but the pediatrician's utter lack of concern helps. And the fact that he's completely proportional reassures me that we aren't inadvertently overfeeding him. I guess SOMEONE has to have the biggest baby, and it might as well be us.
It's just... he's SO big. I mean, he is just very, very large. The pediatrician warned us at our last visit that we may start getting comments from confused strangers who think that he's much older than he is and developmentally delayed. They see a child the size of a 15-month-old who can barely sit up on his own and says bababababababa round the clock and they think that he's an older, delayed child. And then they say something about it.
We haven't gotten any such comments just yet, thank goodness. But I do get the feeling that as he gets older we will start getting more subtle comments. Not so much along the lines of "does he have a delay?" and more along the lines of "he's too old for XYZ." Like strangers who will think he's four when he's actually only two and scold us for letting him ride in a stroller/suck his thumb/generally act his age.
The other thing I wonder about is when the medical conversation about his size will flip from "big = healthy" to "childhood obesity." Given his proportionality, he isn't obese. But at some point will the commentary change from "What a healthy boy!" to "Hm, are you SURE you aren't giving him too much juice?"
The thing about a child of this size is that it's really hard to contemplate just how truly enormous he is unless you've experienced it in person. I kept telling my sister, he's SO big, you won't be able to believe it, but until she saw him herself and held him herself, I don't think she could totally wrap her mind around it. Here we have Callum (~24 pounds) and Morgan (~11 pounds) together, to help you get a better size perspective:
I'm happy with his size, other than the occasional irrational worry that he might somehow be growing too much. And I'm happy that he is a completely healthy baby. I know that there are a lot of people whose babies are growing much more slowly who would be thrilled to have a 24-pound six-month-old. And believe me, I wouldn't trade. I love everything about him, including his giant thighs.
I think the thing is that he's just SO big that it feels like nobody really GETS quite how big he is. Other people say, "Oh, my baby was the same way!" and I think, "Oh! Someone who has been there!" so I say, "Oh, how big was your baby?" and it turns out that it's not even in the same ballpark. Not even close. Callum is literally off the charts. That means that MORE than 99% of babies his age are smaller than he is. He is THE BIGGEST ONE.
And sometimes it's a pain in the ass. He's outgrown his swing. He outgrew his swaddle before we were ready to give it up. He's too heavy to carry around in his car seat, and in fact even though the car seat claims it goes up to 30 pounds, he already fills it out so completely that we will certainly have to invest in a convertible seat well before he hits 30 pounds, because there is clearly NOT room for a 25% bigger baby in that thing. He can't go in his bouncy seat because when he lies in it it goes so far down that it actually touches the floor. The back of his head is flat because he sleeps on his back and the sheer weight of his head is enough to flatten his skull. When my sister was here we watched how she cheerfully carried Morgan around in the crook of her arm with no trouble at all. We can't do that with Callum. You can only carry him for a finite (and short) amount of time before your arm starts to feel like it's about to fall off. So he spends a lot of time on our laps, but not so much being carried around in our arms. Luckily, he's not the type of baby who wants to be held all the time, because at his size, it simply would not be possible. As it is, Torsten and I both have sore arms constantly.
But mostly, it's great. He's sturdy. He grows through each size of clothing so fast that it feels like we are always getting to put him in exciting new outfits we've never seen before. He's growing, he's developmentally on target, and I love his solidity. Plus, he has the cutest baby belly and thigh rolls that I've ever seen.
I guess it's just not what I was expecting. And it's the kind of expectation-flouting where you get a reminder every time you emit an involuntary grunt just from attempting to pick up your baby. And I guess the thing is that I STILL don't know what to expect. I mean, looking at the standard curves on the growth charts, it feels like he HAS to taper off by nine months. It's not possible that he will continue to gain 2.5 pounds per month and weigh 31 pounds by nine months old. But I almost can't believe that he will suddenly only gain one pound per month from here on out. And I find it hard to believe others when they say that their baby was also big and then tapered off, because so far I haven't come across anyone whose baby was as big as ours.
So this is a lesson in expectations. And the futility of having them, at least when it comes to babies. Callum is healthy, and he is growing, and his growth will taper off when his body is ready, and not when the chart says that it will. And that's fine. And in the meantime, we get to enjoy the best chunky thighs I have ever seen:
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