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"Why do you care so much what my newborn weighs?"

Of what interest is it to you?

Here is what I don’t get – why you care what my newborn baby weighs.

I understand why her pediatrician needs to know and I understand why my baby nurse wants to know. But why do you want to know?

Here are the first questions people usually ask:

1. What did you have, boy or girl?

2. Oh, what did you call her?

3. How big was she?

It’s always puzzled me and with the recent birth of the yet-to-be-seen Bingle-Worthington baby boy and a Duggar baby boy once again there has been a focus on the bub’s weight.

The Daily Mail has reported that Lara Bingle gave birth a week early to a “tiny” baby boy weighing in at “just 2.7 kilos”. They went to say that this explained why she had a “smaller than average baby bump.”

Then Jill Duggar had her baby and the tabloids fell over themselves to proclaim just how big he was with Perez Hilton reporting that family members had to rush out to buy bigger clothing for newborn, Israel.

Picture via @jillmdillard

Why do we care?

Why are we interested in how big, or small these celebrity babies are? Why do we care how big the woman in sales newborn was? Or the babies in mother's group?

Unless you are trying to win the office sweepstake I just don’t get it. What I fear is that it is just the beginning of mummy judging.

No one would ever say it out loud but isn’t it just a bit of a stab? A jibe?

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Oh, your baby was really small. You mustn’t have looked after yourself.

What? He was that big, gosh she must have chowed down in those last few months.

Are we secretly imagining the pain levels of squeezing a 4.8 kilo baby out a small hole. Is it a form of mummy schadenfreude? Are we comparing our baby’s against others when we ask? Do we feel like we have failed if our newborns are bigger than the rest of the mother’s group? Do we feel like we don’t measure up if our baby is the smallest?

Is it the start of mummy-judging?

I genuinely don’t know.

When I had my three I avoided putting their weights in the (somewhat old-fashioned) birth announcement cards I mailed out. I simply didn’t think it was anyone else’s business and I hoped that, for my daughter especially, it would be the beginning of a lifetime where a number on a scale only mattered to her doctor and not to her at all.

When people asked me, because let’s face it everybody does, I just said they were healthy. The honest truth was that my three were all very small and as a sensitive new mother I worried it was something I did wrong. I worried I had failed them somehow. I worried that I wasn’t up to sustaining my own baby.

The fact is that what a newborn weight is determined by a number of factors including genetics, the mother’s weight at time of conception, weight gain during pregnancy, the father’s height, alcohol, smoking, drugs, anemia and even altitude can all impact what size your baby is going to be.

The average baby in Australia is 3.4 kilos or 7 pounds but it doesn’t necessarily mean that a baby of 2.1 kilos is going to be small for life or a 4.5 kilo baby is destined for a lifetime of weight problems.

Shaming women for having large or small babies is ridiculous. We need to focus on the health of a mother during pregnancy and the health of her baby post-natal instead.

Let's stop the weight dialogue.

What I hope is we could change the dialogue around baby weight instead focusing on other factors.

How does she feel to hold? What did you feel when you first laid eyes on your precious newborn? How are you coping? What can I do to help?

How much do you love her?

Because, frankly that is what matters the most.

How did you feel when people asked you how much your baby weighs?

Want more? Try:

This is how you should treat a first time Mum.

What not to say to someone who has just announced their pregnancy.

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