I have spent the last few days doing quite a good impersonation of a neurotic mother. I know, what's going on? And the root of my neuroses is food, of all things. Regular readers will know that (salt obsession aside) eating is one of the few things The Baby truly excels at. So why the wiggyness? It's the stupid Health Visitor's fault.
SHE HAS DROPPED OFF HER LINE! Dun dun duuurrrr.... (that was scary dramatic music, by the way. Did you get that?)
"The Lines", for those of you who are lucky enough to not have to worry your heads about such things, are, apparently, the ONLY way you can tell if your baby is well-nourished or not. When you go and get your baby weighed, the HVs plot their weight on a graph which has lines on it showing how they're meant to grow, and your baby MUST STAY ON THEIR LINE or BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN and you are a TERRIBLE MOTHER.
The Baby came out a pretty average weight, and by the time she was 4 weeks old, had jumped on to the 75th centile line, and cruised along there quite nicely ever since. 75th centile, by the way, means that in a room of 100 babies, she would try and eat 74 of them. In other words, she is, as is well-documented in this blog, a bit of a chunk. However, on Friday, I was informed that, despite the fact that I may soon be reduced to selling family heirlooms and possibly my organs on eBay just to keep her in organic rice cakes and spaghetti bolognese, she has dropped off the 75th centile, and is now hovering somewhere between there and the 50th.
This is, of course, my fault. The Baby has decided that milk is just not something she really wants to get involved with now she knows that there are chips and blueberries in the world, so apparently her diet now does not have enough fat in it. What the hell???? So now there's another thing for me to worry about? Fruit, veg, fish (as omega3 may or may not be good for babies, but hey, best be on the safe side), iron, vitamins, checking for salt and additives, trying to introduce new flavours, encouraging her to eat wholesome meals with the rest of the family, and now dairy and fat - THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH MEALS IN THE DAY TO COVER ALL THESE BASES!!
After this little discussion, as I was trying to wrestle The Baby back into her clothes, I then heard the Health Visitor advising another mother on weaning her 6-month-old. It seems that in the 8 months since I first shoveled some porridge into The Baby's open and extremely willing mouth, the Guidelines From On High have changed, and now you are meant to skip purees and mush, and instead give them finger foods like bits of banana and let them feed themselves. This is called "baby-led weaning", and parenting circles are full of people who've been harping on for years about how it's the best, most natural and instinctive way to wean a baby, and now get to be even more smug that everyone else is catching up with them (not that all people who do baby-led weaning are smug, I hasten to add before I get myself in trouble with all the very lovely people I know who have done it, just that many of the people I know to be smug in general do baby-led weaning). Meanwhile, the rest of us get to feel like there's another thing that we've somehow done wrong.
So I have spent the weekend trying to sneak milk into The Baby's mouth, and covering everything with cheese sauce, and generally having a little bit of a worry that I have failed and am failing my child in some way. My child, who by the way, is obviously completely healthy, still fairly chunky, can now feed herself with a spoon, and has loved pretty much all food (except the anti-green veg phase we're having right now) since the second that spoon touched her lips. I think the worry may be, as always, slightly unnecessary.