7 Things you need to know about having a big baby / toddler
We can’t choose how big our children will be born and ultimately – as long as they’re healthy, it really doesn’t matter. I’ve talked before about the fact that I have a really big baby (99th percentile since 6 weeks, currently 14 months at time of writing), and although I know his size doesn’t affect who he is, it does have an affect on some practical and emotional aspects. So if you’ve got a bigger than average baby you might need to approach things in a different way, use different products, or be prepared for a few different things.
We prepared a beautiful selection of newborn clothes – which he had outgrown by a week old! Consistently in at least one size up, he’s currently wearing 18-24 month clothing at 14 months old. This means we’ve had to buy quite a few more clothes than we anticipated and I’ve discovered you can find some great bargains on websites like Facebook, Gumtree and eBay. Baby clothes are often sold in very good condition as they’re not worn for very long, so buying them at a quarter of the price used can save an absolute ton of money. On his first birthday my son received a number of clothes gifts from relatives that were already too small! Sometimes these can be taken back or exchanged, but not always, so it’s worth letting close relatives know his size before gifts are bought. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for the receipt if it’s possible to exchange the item for something different – better than the gift going unused!
I may have spent a fortune on clothes but as my father in law likes to joke, “I don’t think we’ve ever seen him in the same outfit twice!” so at least I get to experience lots of outfits!
Car Seats, Prams and other size/weight restricted toys
Chilling out in the Cosatto Giggle 2 at 13 months in 18-24 month clothes.
We had to ditch our bouncer at 4 months as he was already over the weight limit and our newborn car seat was useless by 6 months. An umbrella pram we bought for quick trips and travel unfortunately just wasn’t big enough, and the jumperoo and door bouncers we had quickly hit their weight limit.
If anything is size or weight restricted double check the safety listing on it first. You don’t want any accidents due to exceeding the weight limit. It’s always worth shopping around and finding things that are available for larger sizes – they are there, but you might need to hunt for the right product for you.
Check out my review of the Joie Tilt, a budget friendly Stage 0+/1 car seat that allows rear facing up to 18kg/40lbs.
People might make comments about his size, or assumptions about his age
People are quite nosy when it comes to children. They want to interact with them, and they seem quite happy to make comments about them. At 12 months old my son was quite happy to sit in trolleys and go around the supermarket, but the worst time is always at the checkouts when people start trying to chat or wave to him. From a young age, since he’s looked like a 2 year old at 1, people have expected a few words, a wave or communication back. I’ve had people ask him questions repeatedly and as he stares at them blankly they’ve said, clearly embarrassed “a bit shy is he?” or “don’t feel like talking today?” and I have to let them know “He’s only 12 months old, he doesn’t know any words yet.”
I also get comments a lot such as “What are you feeding him?” “Does he need to go on a diet?” (yes, really!) and 6 billion jokes about how he’s going to be a lot bigger than his dad (who is 5’9 and weighs about 10 stone). You’ll get used to it, but it’s definitely worth being mentally prepared as some conversations are awkward and sometimes even what I would consider to be quite rude.
Mobility development might be delayed
I am obviously not a healthcare professional, but I’ve had doctors and my health visitor tell me that his delayed crawling and walking is nothing to worry about and that larger babies – especially those with a large head or an unstable center of gravity often can be a little bit behind smaller babies in mobility skills. That doesn’t mean anything is wrong, it just means there is a very large curve for “normal” and larger babies can be on the higher end of the curve when it comes to mobility milestones. As a mother you’re probably going to feel a little bit of anxiety about it though, as we’re always worrying about the possibility something could be wrong. It’s worth getting reassurance from a health professional if you’re at all concerned and not comparing to other children at all as they all move at their own pace.
Your back is going to hurt
Carrying a 12 month old who can’t walk but weighs the same as an average 2 year old or even larger can be quite challenging. I’m an older mum and I’ll be honest, really not very fit at all. I already have some back problems, but even my husband who is very fit will complain about the weight. Minimizing lifting where necessary (such as changing on a floor mat instead of on a high changing table if this is more comfortable), getting in some muscle exercises, having a deep massage if you feel your muscles aching, and keeping in shape (as much as you can) might help alleviate the burden a little.
This might affect how much older grandparents can interact with him as well, so keep playing at floor level or on the sofa when secured. My parents in law are in their 70s so can’t really lift or carry him – but can still interact with him at ground level.
On the plus side my husband jokes that he doesn’t need to go to the gym as the baby is a set of weights and a lot more fun to lift!
My husband and William at 12 months and 26lbs.
He might eat more than other children – but weaning can be easier
I’m in a group for mums of large babies and kids and a lot of people there says that weaning can easier. Larger babies are hungry babies and they’re often willing to eat a lot more than others. This doesn’t mean they’re overweight – at the end of the day a larger frame means more calories burned through movement, and more growth needs more energy to sustain it. If you have a larger baby you might find weaning easier, but you do need to have plenty of milk and food to hand because no one wants a meltdown from a hungry baby!
Depending on where you are in the world, some medication may be different based on weight as well as age. I don’t want to give any specific instructions here as this is obviously an important medical issue, but when giving medication you need to read the dosage leaflet carefully and see if there is a weight or age guide. If there is any confusion or conflicting advice, it’s best to speak to the pharmacist or phone your doctor before giving the medication, quoting both their age and weight. You might need a different size syringe or measure to give it as well.
But there’s some fun stuff too!
And hey, think about it this way, he’ll be able to jump on that rollercoaster and access all his favourite rides, he’ll be easy to pick out of a crowd and spot in a school photo and strong enough to help you carry things and put the shopping away!
So, do you have a bigger than average baby or toddler and has it caused you any problems or things you hadn’t previously thought about?