Things you realise when you have a ‘big-boned’ baby

Both of my babies missed the memo about being meant to lose weight in the first few days after birth.

Each put on 300g in the first week of their lives. It turned out they started as they meant to go on – they kept gaining weight apace through their first years.

Although they were both born small, I’ve had two babies of the sort of size that prompts strangers to stop in the supermarket and exclaim over how “bonny”, “extremely healthy” or “chubby-legged” they are.

This is all good news on the surface. A good coating of padding helps keep them warm and means I don’t have to fret too much if they get sick and start dropping a feed or two. The experience of the first tells me that by the time my daughter is a rampaging two-year-old, she too will be as lean as the next child.

But there are a few significant drawbacks to having an infant who goes through a Rubenesque stage.

My back

Imaging how your body might feel if you had to lug around a very large sack of potatoes for a day. Then do that every day for the next six months. Babies don’t really start to cling on and take any of their own weight as they are carried until they are into their second year. So if you have a big baby, you get strong fast. I’m currently carrying 12-ish kilograms of child much of the day – doing squats with my sack of potatoes as I try to get on to the floor to play with my son and lunges as I try to get back up again. My knees are in the worst shape they’ve been since I played netball as a teenager. But I’m destined to carry my child for longer than normal, even though it’s harder, because…

The later milestones

Bigger babies have too much body weight for their limbs to handle, so they tend to be later crawlers (or so I am told). That’s good news since my house is entirely un-childproofed at present and not really ready for a crawler but not so good for my tired arms.


I read something that proclaimed that every bit of fat on a breastfed child had come straight from its mother. This doesn’t bear scientific scrutiny but it does sometimes feel as though every nutrient is being sucked out of each cell of my body. It takes work for those kids to get their gorgeous bodies – and it’s mostly mine.

The clothing

My baby has been in a size one since she was about six months old and I’m resisting moving to the next size up. There’s always an “is this going to fit” moment when I get a onesie out and try to clip it for the first time in a while.  I cover up increasingly gaping necklines with jumpers. But she’s still not really size one in length, yet. Any pants that fit around the middle tend to dangle off the bottom of her legs.

The comments

I’ve run out of ways to respond to the “she’s a big girl, isn’t she?” statements. Yep, yes, she is.

The well-meaning comments are fine. We can agree she’s super cute. But when people ask me if I’m worried that she’s bigger than her peers, it’s not that helpful. For the record, no, I am not. But my knees wouldn’t mind a break sometime.


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