Mother knows best – so goes a saying. This is because, with the birth of a baby, the mother’s instincts are born too. However, it is also unfair to expect a mother to know everything by default. There are many things we learn as a new mom while on the job. And, let us not forget those well-meaning relatives who wish to give their two cents of wisdom on baby care. One such ‘area of concern’ will be the baby’s weight. “Is Mumma not feeding you well? You are so light” “Why isn’t your baby growing fat?” “Look at Minu’s baby. He’s as old as your baby yet so chubby and healthy.” Remarks and taunts such as these are commonplace for a new mom. And so were they for me.
A few weeks after I gave birth, such statements started coming my way each time I visited a family gathering or when some relatives dropped in to see the baby. Initially, I would get offended and then ignored them. But after a month or two, I started to get really concerned about my baby’s weight. She seemed to be feeding and sleeping well. Except for a few episodes of colic, she seemed healthy to me. Yet, those comments about her low weight gain made me rush her to a pediatrician. To my relief, the pediatrician advised that as long as my daughter was feeding well, peeing and pooping, and active throughout the day, she was fine. After being rest assured, I worried less and cared better for my little angel.
But things changed once again when my daughter was ready to go to a pre-school. She was no more that baby who survived on milk or pureed food. And yes, feeding a toddler is a real struggle. All those moms who have endured it will know what I am talking about. Let me confess, the initial unfinished mug of milk or breakfast left in her bowl did not bother me that much. Mornings were usually rush hours and I’d convinced myself that it is unavoidable. I thought I will make up for it by feeding her a good amount of lunch or dinner. But that wasn’t the case. My daughter’s fussy nature left me with no patience to force-feed her.
Soon, I started noticing a change in my daughter’s behavior. She used to come home tired and cranky. She showed less energy during her playtime. She even had irregular bowel movements. It seemed as though she was in a bad mood all the time. Concerned, I took her to the pediatrician again. He patiently heard me out and then measured my daughter’s height and weight. To my dismay, she was way behind in achieving the growth milestones for her age. The doctor reassured me that she will be fine but not before explaining all the signs of growth deficiency. Here, I’m sharing them for all the mothers’ reference:
Common Signs Of Growth Deficiency:
- Frequent illnesses
- Low energy level and fatigue
- Less-than-average height according to family, gender, or age-group
- A slow rate of growth
- Increase in fat around the waist
- Delayed or slow eruption of teeth according to growth milestone
- Poor concentration
- Inability to perform skills such as hopping on one foot, using a tricycle, etc
I found some of these signs in my daughter. The pediatrician gave me a list of things to include in her diet like fresh fruits, vegetables, dry fruits, dairy products, etc. He also prescribed some multivitamins, advised adequate fluid intake, and proper rest for my daughter. He asked me to keep track of my daughter’s improvement for the next three months. I stuck to the instructions to the T!
Also, to tackle the problem of morning breakfast getting missed, I came up with unique recipes. I also spoke to the staff at my daughter’s playschool and requested their help in feeding her. On any given day, if my daughter missed her breakfast, I’d pack it in tiffin and hand it over to the playschool staff to feed it to her.
Needless to say, all these efforts paid off. My daughter was back to her usual self. And all this wouldn’t have occurred had I known the signs of growth deficiency beforehand. If you too are unaware of it, I suggest you make a note of it now. In case of any doubt, visit your pediatrician immediately.