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Why We Weighed Our Baby in Grams During Her First 18 Months

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When you’re pregnant, you have amazing dreams about your roly-poly baby with cute baby fat rolls and chubby cheeks. But when reality sets in, those dreams change.

Bella was born tiny. In fact, she was one of the smallest babies on the neonatal intensive care unit floor. When you’re in the NICU and have a baby who is growing unbelievably slowly, ounces can seem like mountains. So you hope for grams. That was the unit of measurement we used to weigh Bella during the first 18 months of her life. A gram is about the weight of a paper clip. 

We were ecstatic when Bella gained 10 grams in a week, while other parents got upset if their baby didn’t gain a pound in a month. Trips to the pediatrician were uncomfortable and odd. Other moms sitting there got upset because they thought their 3-month-old babies seemed small at 12 pounds. They would me ask how many weeks my baby was. I told them Bella was 9 months old and weighed 6 pounds. The looks I would get made me laugh.

You know you’re in a very special group when you need to continue to weigh your baby in grams after you leave the NICU. There aren’t many of us. Most people use ounces and pounds before they leave the NICU. Staying in grams doesn’t mean anything bad, it just means you get to keep that little baby a bit longer. No one should feel singled out for it.

When we decided at 18 months to start using ounces and pounds to weigh Bella, it seemed weird. Learning to convert became a new skill for us.

Bella has reached a point now where until she fluctuates within a few ounces most of the time. This is fine with us and her doctors. She is healthy and proportional for her size, so everyone is happy.

A version of this post originally appeared on Our Tiny Fighter.

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Originally published: May 21, 2015
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