Let me begin with this important message: Please refrain from comparing children, especially when it pertains to their growth and development.

If you happen to notice differences in a child’s height, weight, or appetite compared to another, that’s perfectly fine. Your observations are appreciated. However, I kindly request that you avoid openly discussing these comparisons as such conversations can inadvertently distress a parent who may already be grappling with concerns about their child’s growth trajectory. Trust me, I say this from personal experience.

Recently, at a dinner gathering, a couple casually remarked that someone’s 1-year-old child appeared larger both in weight and height than my 2-year-old daughter. I chose not to respond, but their comment affected me deeply.

At the time, I had been anxious about my daughter’s growth, and their words struck a nerve. While I believe their intention was not to cause harm, I found their remark disconcerting.

RELATED: Please Don’t Comment on My Son’s Size—He Already Knows He’s Short

That evening, my focus shifted away from the dinner table and onto my daughter, who sat beside me contentedly enjoying her meal. Her slender frame seemed even more delicate to me, and her height suddenly seemed inadequate. Perhaps they were correct in their observation. Maybe my daughter was genuinely delicate, and it saddened me that I had overlooked this aspect until now.

Upon returning home, I scoured the internet for images of 2-year-old children. I found that they came in all shapes and sizes, each possessing their unique characteristics. But my inner turmoil persisted, and I became consumed by the idea that perhaps I had not been doing my best as a parent.

In the days that followed, I meticulously crafted a meal plan for my daughter, compiling a comprehensive list of foods intended to help her gain weight. Full-fat milk, yogurt, avocados, butter, finger millets, cheese, and more—I was determined not to falter.

However, what I failed to recognize at the time was that my daughter was a content and joyful child who consumed precisely what satisfied her appetite, neither more nor less. Her daily intake consisted of five meals—three main meals supplemented by two snacks, occasionally indulging in sweet treats. Regrettably, during that period, I also neglected to acknowledge that she was experiencing healthy growth, albeit at her own pace.

As the stress of trying to increase her weight took hold of me, my daughter too sensed that something was amiss with me. I was no longer my usual cheerful self. Instead, I appeared troubled and irritable. During mealtimes, I would insistently seat her and urge her to consume more than she desired, leading to her outbursts of screaming and flailing her arms in protest. Mealtimes became an agonizing ordeal. She began to dread them. She was no longer the child who once relished food. Instead, tears streamed down her face, and I felt a profound sense of helplessness.

It took me nearly a month to realize that her eating habits had further deteriorated and my relentless efforts to make her gain weight had dimmed the sparkle in her eyes. The infectious laughter that used to fill our home was gone, replaced by a sad and fragile figure.

RELATED: You Cannot Parent a Child into Perfection

“Just take it easy,” a dear friend advised me when I confided in her about my situation. “I have been there too, you know,” she said.

Her words provided solace, and suddenly, it felt as though the burden I had carried on my shoulders the last few weeks had vanished. I felt lighter.

We reverted to our previous routines, and before long, she returned to her former self—enjoying her food, and playfully interacting with her meals. Yes, there are days when she chooses not to eat, but I’ve come to accept it. I’ve come to recognize that as a parent, my responsibility is to give my best, provide her with a diverse range of meals, and keep a close eye on her well-being, leaving the rest to the expertise of a doctor.

And as for fleeting, unassuming comments and comparisons, I have learned to invest significantly less mental energy in such remarks. My most fitting response is to smile gracefully and move forward.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Sushmita Iyer

Sushmita was born and raised in India. She moved to Virginia, United States in 2015. She has previously worked as a senior copy editor, dedicating a substantial portion of her career to meticulously refining news stories. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and embarking on adventures with her toddler, often exploring new parks and beaches together.

“What’s Wrong With Your Baby?” Our Heartbreaking Struggle With Severe Eczema.

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy with rash on cheeks, color photo

“It’s just baby acne,” his doctor told me time and time again. His cheeks blossomed with red bumps that turned into wide, angry abrasions. I was instructed to put steroid cream on his cheeks once, twice, three times a day, but the redness spread until it covered his entire cheeks, upper lip, and chin. The old ladies who stopped me in the store meant well, but every time I was asked, “What’s wrong with your baby?” I bristled in defense. Weeks went by and then months, and my baby gained control of his arms. He raked at his itchy face,...

Keep Reading

Please Don’t Tell Me How To Parent My Child

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy on playground

As we go for our evening walk, I watch my oldest son searching.  He is looking for the perfect stick.  It needs to be perfect.  It has to be.  Because he will remember everything about his stick, every detail, every notch, and every knick.  When he is done with his adventure, captaining a ship or exploring a distant planet, that stick will come home to join his collection of other essential sticks.  He loves sticks.  He will always find one, no matter where we go. Walks, hikes, the softball field, visiting a friend—and they will all be unique.  I inevitably...

Keep Reading

To the Woman Who Commented on My Baby’s Weight

In: Baby
To the Woman Who Commented on My Baby's Weight www.herviewfromhome.com

After picking up a few things at the store, I pulled my cart over near the exit to dig out my keys before we hit the blazing heat outside. My 3-year-old daughter was in the cart ecstatically playing with her new Elsa doll. My 1-year-old son was a happy little clam sitting in his seat. He’s a social bug and was smiling at you with excitement as you approached us. I saw your warm face and grey hair as you slowed down to check out my little man. He has stars in his eyes and a smile that will melt...

Keep Reading