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Poop and Weight Labels

December 22, 2010 by  
Filed under K.Rowell

Many of you probably know what I think of arbitrary labels for children and weight–adults too for that matter!

Well, I had a funny conversation with a friend the other day and it illustrated the absurdity of it all. We are both moms, feeding our children very well, they sleep well, they have opportunity for physical activity, they are happy and thriving, they are growing in a steady and predictable way. One is at the very top of the growth curve and always has been, the other girl is at the very low end of the growth curve and always has been.

We both shared how we would get worried before their checkups because they are growing at the extremes of the bell curve, but are growing in a healthy way for them. What was crazy was that a few ounces one way or the other would mean a few percentile points. Perhaps enough to be labeled “obese” or “underweight” or flag some concern, when in reality, clinically all was well.

“I hated it when she pooped right before her visit, then I knew her weight would look like it went down,” my friend confided.  I chuckled, because my little one was pooping every other day, and it was more than a few ounces in my estimation.  ” I was worried if she didn’t poop!” I said. “If she pooped, she’d drop a couple percentile points, and no one would care!”

Because really, in small children a few ounces can make a big difference if you live in the land of the extremes and arbitrary labels. ( According to the bell curve, ten percent of us will live at the top and bottom five percents happily and healthily.) In a five-year-old girl, 5 pounds can span the range from “normal” to “obese.” And while a few pounds may not be clinically significant, telling the mom of a five-year old girl that her daughter is ‘obese’ IS significant.

Did any of you worry about weigh-ins?

Comments
One Comment on "Poop and Weight Labels"

  1. mary D on Wed, 12th Jan 2011 10:11 am 

    Oh, man, the first month with my daughter (my first) was nerve-wracking. We are nursing only, and she kept losing ounces. I would obsess between visits, and exhaust myself timing and scheduling feedings. I think we were both miserable. But, despite weight loss, the doctor said she looked perfect. Good color, skin and muscle tone, reflexes, etc. So why is weight so important? My baby’s 7 weeks now and gaining again, so I guess we’re ok.
    And we’ve had no trouble nursing.

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