I am sure Paediatricians all over the world will agree that the most common query they get from parents of perfectly healthy children is
“Doctor, is my child growing right?”
In today’s world of fierce competition, we start off as soon as the child is born. Looking at percentile growth for the weight, the height and even the circumference of the child’s head. While I understand that these parameters need careful monitoring for early detection and prevention of problems, obsessing over them incessantly is what I have a problem with. When my daughter was a few weeks old, I remember a conversation in the waiting room at her Paediatrician. It went something like this
Mom 1: “So, what is your baby’s current weight”
Mom 2 (referring to the birthing chart): “It is xyz”
Mom 1: “But that must have been from the last visit. I asked current weight”
Mom 2: “That would be measured today”
Mom 1 gave a horrified gasp. Her eyes became large like an Ekta Kapoor over actress. She launched into a tirade over parent’s not caring enough about the child’s growth and relying too much on outsiders (the doctors!!!!). She stressed how important it was to monitor the daily progress of the children and know every statistic by heart. She went ton to recite weekly milestones of her baby’s growth including her sleeping patterns and the rest of the mom’s listened on. When she paused to take a breather, Mom 2 who was pretending to listen but had tuned her out at the first mention of statistics, asked..
“And how many times does your baby smile in a day?”
Mom 2 looked as if Mom 1 can a complete idiot for asking a question like that. How do smiles measure up to pounds and ounces, to percentile height growth and enlarging heads? Mom 1 decided Mom 2 was not worth her time and went on to pass on the gyaan to another new arrival in the waiting room while Mom 2 shook her head and looked on sadly. Mom 2 remembered an episode at work where the dad of a young girl was recounting their experiences of multiple doctor visits. Apparently his one and a half year old daughter had not started teething yet. They were going to visit the fifth doctor now. The parents were worried because no doctor they had seen thus far seemed to share their concerns. They all said that the teeth will come eventually. His boss then asked him, “Dude, have you ever seen an adult with no teeth?” and this everyone had a good laugh and Mom 2 learnt a valuable life lesson.
[Tweet “Children have their own growth rate and parents should not obsess about comparative growth”]
Now you probably have guessed that Mom 2 in the stories above is Moi. My philosophy is to ensure my daughter has good nutrition and the right stimuli for her physical and mental growth. I also realise on the judgement of her Paediatrician for this. If her doctor feels she needs more nutrition, I would supplement with a product like Horlicks Growth +. I ensure that she has plenty of puzzles, worksheets and toys that stimulate her brain. I ensure that she plays and gets physical exercise too. The one thing I don’t do is compare her to others. There are children in her class who are taller than her. Some run faster, some read better. I choose to focus on the fact that she dances better than the fact that she runs slower. I know she is growing at her own pace and will grow up to be a fine lady
What about you guys, do you feel anxious about your child’s growth? Do share your stories and thoughts with me!