It's always really disconcerting when "experts" announce that they've been getting it wrong for ages. It now seems that mothers may have been feeding their babies too much milk all this time, and new growth charts are being introduced.
The growth measurements used up until now have been based on bottle-feeding, which makes babies bigger. This means that mothers have been encouraged to feed their babies more, or top them up with formula, putting them at risk of obesity. Brilliant.
The World Health Organisation has now changed the tables so they are based on breastfeeding. It's a bit disturbing that it took so long. Why were they based on formula-fed babies in the first place, when we are constantly told that breastfeeding is the ideal?
I'm also wondering if I should rip out the growth chart in my baby's red book, and if this now means that my daughter, who has been chugging along quite nicely on the 50th percentile, is actually overweight...
But when I took her to be weighed this week, I asked the nurse/midwife/health visitor – I haven't got to grips with which is which – about these changes. She looked blank. "We haven't been told anything about it," she said.
So will the new charts only be used for new babies? And when are they planning to tell the people at the business end of the scales? What advice will they be giving to mothers who are worried about their baby's weight?
I know one mother who's already panicking because her little girl is up towards the top end of the scale. She is already feeling guilty about bottle-feeding, but couldn't get the hang of breastfeeding.
She's probably got nothing to worry about – the girl is just one of those giant babies with long legs, taking after parents who are both over six feet tall. But announcements like this aren't going to put her mind at rest.
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