Thursday, 8 September 2011

Would I know if there was something wrong with my baby?

My baby is off the scale.

He is the best baby in the world. Officially. I've had three other babies so I should know.

He is three months old now. He gurgles, he smiles, he giggles. He grins at me, B, and the girls. He recognises our voices, he turns his head towards them. He rarely cries, preferring to sit and watch the chaos, smiling and nodding in non- judgemental approval.

He feeds well and happily, jaw moving strongly, eyes closed in pleasure, or wide open, framed by unfairly long lashes, as he seeks my gaze.

He sleeps, sometimes calmly and without moving, and sometimes noisily, sucking determinedly at the thumb he discovered about five weeks ago, but always deeply and solidly. For twelve hours a night and several during the day.

He has never weed on me.

He is the best baby in the world. He is off the scale of wonderful babyness. Even if he proves me wrong tomorrow and wees all over the place before wailing solidly through the night.

He does everything you would want a baby of his age to do. Only, of course, better. He is perfect.

But he is off the scale.

He is three months old and he weighs 10lb 4oz. In the last six weeks he has put on six ounces. Plotted against the newborn growth charts he is below the 0.04th centile.

He is off the scale.

If you lined up 1000 babies born on the same day as him, he would be one of the smallest four. The NHS red book says that babies of this size "will normally be referred to a paediatrician".

But M is not, yet, being referred. He is developing normally, he is doing everything a normal baby would and should do. He is not hungry. The health visitors are not worried. I am not worried.

Until we look at the charts.

One of the health visitors told me, and I don't think she was joking, that I should just stop getting him weighed. But then they looked at each other, and I could see the confusion and the tiny little edge of concern. Instinctively we all think he's fine. Small, but fine.

But what if we're wrong?


  1. He sounds GORGEOUS! What a little superstar.

    I think you need to trust your instinct. If your instinct says worry, then worry. If it doesn't then don't, stop having him weighed and wait and see what happens when you start weaning him in a few months time. Sam plummeted down the weight scales (ending up in the 5th percentile so not as small as H) but wasn't hungry. Started him on solids at 6 months and he bounced back up them.

    If you are worried then go and have him checked out properly - if nothing else it will put your mind at rest. x

  2. our babies are perfect.
    our babies are gorgeous.
    but sometimes we know that there is something different about them.
    mother's do know best.
    trust your instincts...

    i knew that there was something wrong with Eilidh. My GP and health visitor didn't want to refer her on. Initially I was prepard to wait, to give them the benefit of the doubt, but then my mothering insticts kicked in and we self-referred to the neurologist. I was right - I wish that I hadn't been, but i was. The outcome is the same but we knew sooner...

    As well as trusting your insticts, if i was your gp, if your gorgeous wee baby was dropping off the growth centiles, i would be referring you to paediatrics just to make sure and to put your mind at ease. as a gp i know that mummy's know best...

    hope that that helps.

  3. Oh gosh, I don't know what to say. I agree that trusting instincts is good, but could you have a conversation with a health visitor or doctor that asked "don't tell me what the various bad scenarios are, but in any of them, would we be making matters worse, or risking making matters worse, by leaving it a few weeks/months before investigating?" Do you have a nice GP who would get what you're asking without giving scary responses? Or could you go back to the health visitors? You might want to ask what length waiting lists for paediatrician appointments are, and get one in the diary. You can always cancel if it's a few weeks away and you've changed your mind by then.

    As for not weeing on you, I think you may have counted your chickens there.

  4. What can I say. I too am a great believer in instincts. As you know Maxi has a condition and we lived with the fact of not knowing if something was quiet as bad as it could be for nearly a year and I never realised just how much it had weighed on my mind (as we pretended everything was fine and we would cope regardless) until at last it was ruled out and we both burst in to tears.

    Do what you think is right for you and your family

  5. Orla was tiny and about 13th centile on the charts and the health visitors did nothing but make me worry. But she is just small. That's all.

    It could be that simple. Or it could be something. My best friend has had a similar situation with her third son. He didn't eat well and thus was small both in weight and height. The health visitor looked at how he measured compared to the other two and wasn't happy. So they did some blood tests and discovered that he was anaemic and since he started on medication he started putting weight on and is enjoying his food a whole lot more.

    I personally would just get it checked out if I was at all concerned. I think what I am trying to say with my long story is that it could be something very easily sorted, and thus why wait?

  6. Pants - you're so right! He is GORGEOUS! Had such a lovely day today with lots of giggles and chat (incomprehensible chat, but chat nonetheless). Thanks too for the Sam story. You're the second person today who's mentioned something liek that so maybe he will perk up once he's weaned.

    Fiona - the anaemic thing is interesting too. He's being breastfed so presumably though for him to be anaemic wouldn't I have to be? Although I keep coming back to the fact that he's not hungry. Hmm.

    What I've actually done, thanks Iota for putting the idea into my head, is to make a GP's appointment for next week, and then cheekily also text the GP (who also happens to be a good friend) and invite him round for supper and a chat... Because I'm not worried, and my instincts all say that he's fine, in contrast to hopeful mummy, but I don't know how much I can trust them. As Jen (Mad Mummy) implies too, perhaps it's better not just to let these things weigh on you when you can at the very least do something to find out.

  7. Centiles are interesting because someone had to be at the bottom and the top to put them there. So maybe he's just one of the ones at the bottom. But if the general advise is that children in a band should be seen then personally I would go with the flow and see the GP. Nicer to be told all is fine than find out later they was something that needed adjustment, like iron. But to be quite frank I think mother nature is unlikely to produce such a happy wee thing if there was something not right and mum tends to know best. I think your plan is spot on. xxx

  8. I have no useful advice at all but just wanted to say that there always seems to be something to worry about with these little people. If only they could tell us what is going on.

  9. My daughter was 10pm at 14 weeks old and there was no talk of referral or concerns...apart from prescribing infant gaviscon. She is now 9 months old and 16lb 6oz, and has gone up on the graph to the 9th centile now... Weaning definitely helped, as did switching from breastfeeding to formula at four and half months (despite initially being reticent!) All the best with your little boy, let us know how you get on xx

  10. Sorry, typo!!! Not 10pm!! 10 pounds at 14 weeks old! Damn iPod! ;)

  11. Well, first off, he sounds amazing. If only we could all book such an adorable baby... Secondly, having read the comments it sounds like you're on top of it & doing exactly the right thing. Will be thinking of you, in any case. Beautiful post, btw.

  12. Nothing to add as everyone has said it all. No harm in getting him checked, then you will have it medically confirmed that he is perfect. Thinking of you x

  13. My mother worried sick over my sister's weight for years...
    Today, my sister is a plump healthy woman worrying all the time about her weight!!!

  14. Maybe checking with a paed would put your mind at rest? if nothing else :-) It's quite funny, I'm happy to 'waste' the HV's time but feel shy about bothering the doctors, doh!


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