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My Sumo Baby
Parenting Parenting
My Sumo Baby
October 2, 2018
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Parenting Parenting
My Sumo Baby
October 2, 2018
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Four years ago, I found out I was pregnant with our now three year old son Bertie. The pregnancy was classed as ‘normal’ throughout, there were no complications, my bump measurements correlated with however many weeks pregnant I was and I didn’t feel huge (despite being told by loved ones that they were all convinced I was having twins).

The first time alarm bells about his size started ringing was when, two weeks after my due date, I painfully laboured for over 12 hours and only dilated 2cm – there was no chance of him vacating the area and no one could figure out why. It wasn’t until after my emergency C-Section (which took three people to pull him out), that we got our answer. “It’s a boy!” my husband told me. “A very big boy,” said one of the nurses. Onto the weighing scales he went and there followed a comedic gasp from everyone in the operating theatre. “Well, now we know why he wasn’t coming out, he weighs 10lbs 14oz.” That’s two ounces off 11lbs. At this point though I really didn’t care – I was besotted, he was healthy (very healthy…) and making me laugh already by weeing all over the paediatrician. Plus, at least now I knew what the rib pains had been all about – there had literally been no room left in the inn. He was the talk of the ward – no one could understand how his size could have been missed, or how a slim-ish, 5 ft 7” woman (AKA superhero) could have carried such a heavyweight around, especially in the latter part of the pregnancy.

“Do I care that my baby was a little bit different? Absolutely not. In fact, his size makes me burst with pride.”

We soon got into the swing of the early stages of parenting, albeit needing to adapt where possible as a result of his birth weight. A lot of our pre-birth preparation had to be reconsidered. New born sized nappies? Forget it. We’ve still got the unopened packet of size ones somewhere. He was straight into size two resulting in an emergency dash to the nearest shop for my husband a mere hour after Bertie was born. My pristine newborn-sized sleep suits were also a no-go. We delved into the very few bigger ones we’d bought ‘in advance’ straight away. Breast feeding was a huge issue too – he was constantly ravenous and I was nowhere near satisfying his hunger. So, off my husband went to buy a breast pump and massive tub of formula within the first few days. I didn’t feel like a failure; these were desperate times for a poor, starved child who was months ahead of his time (and we wouldn’t want him to lose weight now would we?)

As the weeks went on and he grew even bigger, we soon discovered that transporting him anywhere was a little more challenging than for other new parents. The brand new £80 baby sling was left untouched and there was no draping the car seat over my arm like a designer handbag to take him to the car. He had to be wheeled everywhere in the pram particularly because, ridiculously, I wasn’t meant to be doing any ‘heavy lifting’ after my C-Section; oh, the irony. No one was going to stop this mama from ‘heavy lifting’ when he needed a cuddle or a feed. And then came the comments and facial expressions of strangers when they met him. The rudeness started to grate on me. “You’ve got a big one there haven’t you?” they’d say out of the blue before even saying hello, as if he were an animal at the zoo asking to be gawped at. Perhaps I was over sensitive but usually the question that came next was how I managed to give birth to him and, call me a prude, I’d rather not take part in conversation about the state of my nether regions on a dog walk with Bill from the Co-op.

“A lot of our pre-birth preparation had to be reconsidered. New born sized nappies?”

Do I care that my baby was a little bit different? Absolutely not. In fact, his size makes me burst with pride. It’s made him the big, beautiful boy he is today. So, as the proud (and fiercely protective) mummy that I am, allow me to have the final word on all the uninvited conversations I’ve had to endure with ballsy strangers: Apparently big babies are known to settle easier. And Bertie slept… and slept… and slept. He was sleeping through the night from the age of five weeks and had a two-hour nap both in the morning and afternoon. I may have missed out on the tiny baby stage, my back might be shot to pieces, I may have proved to be terrible at breast feeding, unable to use half the stuff we bought him and he may have seemed like a hilarious topic of conversation to some, but we got the last laugh. We created ourselves a sleeper. And if that’s down to his size then I’ll take a sumo baby any day of the week.

Philippa Pearne
@philippapearne
Former Beauty Editor @ Glamour UK. Freelance beauty, lifestyle and parenting journalist.
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