Letters to My Daughter: You are way off your weight chart dear #MyFriendAlexa

Dear Ilakkiya,
I had initially thought of writing monthly letters to you, but I couldn’t do it after your birthday. I was troubled with many things, most related to you. I feel so much better now and we are having a good time. So, I really thought you should know what happened and what has changed between us within these months.
In a post here, I mentioned about your weight gain issues. You are a bit off the mark from your birth weight. What this means is, you were 3 when you were born, so per the standard charts you are supposed to triple your weight on your first birthday. Actually you didn’t and I didn’t know why. I was bombarded with a thousand questions on why you hadn’t gained any. Personally, I had not much idea on where I went wrong. I sat and saw your photos over time and you looked hale and healthy just as you do now. I really had no idea where things went wrong. It took me time to realize why you hadn’t gained weight for close to 3 months straight.

A couple of mistakes had lead to your stagnant weight. I moved to Appa’s place when you were 5 months old. For the first two months, I was able to nurse you every two hours. However, as time went, I was asked to focus on the chores and cut down slowly on the feeding schedules since you had started solids. I thought that is how it worked and I hardly fed you thrice a day. Neither was I ready to give you cow’s milk which was strictly prohibited till age 1. So, now I realize that I had not compensated on your regular milk with other options and I was supposed to continue the feeds until 1. I am sorry to have missed out on a crucial time, but I am glad your Ammama was the first to notice and ask me about it. She literally fought with me and ensured I feed first and then focus on everything else. I fought back with her, but now I am glad she noticed and she was the only one to come and help. Others didn’t know much. It is feeding that brings the best in a child!

Secondly, there was one instance where a mild dosage of honey was given to you in the name of medicine. I came to know this late, but was immensely pissed off when I knew it. Honey is generally given in drops to a child before 1 because it could cause botulism. Half a teaspoon in the name of medicine causes more harm than good. I cried when I first heard it, but I couldn’t do anything about it because I came to know it late. I only explained to the concerned person on why honey is dangerous for kids before 1. From then on I personally prepared medicine for you and also learnt to bathe you to prevent any miscommunication and interventions. Also, I was asked not to give you Ragi because it would cause cold. I had to fight this off and started giving you the porridge.

As a mother, I am not questioned just by family and friends about your growth, but by most unknowns because I have a tiny child. Trust me, it is tough being a mother. I also had to go through some critical comments from so many people I personally thought were friends. I am glad I learnt about many through our tough time. People really thought I hardly fed you. I was almost put under the radar by some. After facing the drum, I made up my mind not to give heed to any comments and also not to ask anyone for suggestions anymore. I sat and researched on healthy foods for kids. I asked my mother and grandmother to help me with recipes. I pretended I knew what I was doing, even though it was a trial and error method for me. I brought ingredients and my mother in law offered to help. Finally, your porridge got ready and I made a few changes to your routine. Slowly, you started gaining weight. Throughout the struggle, your Appa was very understanding and patient with others for throwing their mind our way.

Image Courtesy: Google

Earlier I used to be bothered about your weight, I even used to yell at you to eat. You wouldn’t. You would just move around. It took me some time to understand that a child’s cognitive development is the most important factor over weight. Appa and I used to sit down and talk about this. He wasn’t a tad worried about your weight. He always asks me to let you be and ignore everyone’s comments. I felt even my mother was very critical about you and I gave her a piece of my mind. After which, she realized how it has to be said and that you were alright. Just like us you prefer to eat fruits over juice. That was the first sign of a healthy baby to him. We never gave much fruit juices to you. People would try and pull you to follow the norm, but sometimes you need to go with your own flow to accomplish what you set out for.

Babies gain weight. Sometimes it is a slow process. That is acceptable. I have stopped yelling at you. I am not making a fuss over your food anymore. I give you everything that is prepared at home for us. I am not trying hard to push it on to you. If you wave your hand to a No or shake your head sideways, I am okay to accept it as enough and not stuff more on to you. I have realized where to stop. This has helped you enjoy most foods now. Biriyani is your current favorite. You try to eat what you can. I am okay with breaking the meal time and meals. This helps me keep my calm and let you eat what you want. A hearty meal could be a spoonful or a plate full. I am okay with both now. You are still way off the chart, but I am okay with it. You are gaining and the doctors don’t see any problems with the slow weight gain either. They always ignored my weight queries. They just ask me if you are alert, active and happy. I say, “Yes Doc, she turns the house upside down!”



To all new moms,

Don’t worry about infants being way off the chart. None of our parents or grandparents weighed us everyday and worried. Neither did they bother about every doctor visit like today. They provided good food and a happy environment. The rest followed. They were okay with the children being the children. That’s all we must bother about. Junk will help gain easy weight, but that isn’t going to help us in anyway. A little of everything is all they need. So let’s keep them happy and healthy!

People could make you feel terrible by sharing their children’s weight or grandchildren’s weight. That is okay. Just tell them every child is different and their growth spurts matter. If people don’t bother to listen and focus on the weight, well, that’s all they know folks! Leave it at that. Don’t waste a calorie more to explain. You need it to run behind your child! Let’s just be thankful that we have abundance to give our child. Let us remember the nations were parents are starving and their children are dying. This is enough to forget our doubts and be thankful.


A Mom!

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About Jayanthy Govindarajan

I share the reflections of my mind here as a mommy blogger. I share my parenting experiences and life experiences with gratitude.

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