From the moment our babies are born their lives are dominated by numbers, how many weeks pregnant was their mum? How long was labour? How much did they weigh? How long are they?
Then it's how many feeds to they have? How often are they feeding? How long do they sleep? How many wet nappies are they producing? How many dirty nappies?
It doesn't stop.
Our babies become defined by these numbers.
How many teeth do they have? How much weight have they lost/gained? What percentile are they on? How much are they drinking? How often?
It was worse with my first. I am the youngest of three siblings, neither of my elder siblings have children. I have no cousins (no, really. None) I didn't even have a friend with a baby. In this situation your venture into parenthood is a constant battle between what you think and feel versus what you're told. You're terrified of doing things wrong, of somehow breaking your baby.
Thing One was bottle fed. In a way the numbers were reassuring, it was there in black and white as to how many ounces and how many bottles he was supposed to have and the intervals between them. I had him weighed routenley so the nhs had their numbers to plot on their graphs of more numbers in order to tell me if my
Thing Two was breastfed and we did BLW yet for someone who has previously been parenting my numbers it had an element of 'Oh my gosh, how do I know if i'm doing it right?' because of that I literally went weekly then fortnightly to get her weighed for months and months and months. She point blank refused puree so we embarked on BLW. Breastfeeding and BLW makes it nigh impossible to garner how much your baby is actually having, you can no longer rely on numbers. You learn to trust your Mummy sense. You learn to trust your baby. It's liberating.
By the time The Dude arrived, I had a fuck it attitude. I had him weighed once or twice just to placate the number hungry health visitors. I learned to trust him. I learned to trust my own body. Together we knew what we were doing. So what if it didn't fit the graphs and tables. So what if it did.
Half the time documenting things in a professional capacity is just another cloaked attempt at control and ownership by the government.
We are more than the sum of our parts.
We are more than numbers, lines and curves on paper.
Now Moomin? She's probably been weighed about 4 times in her life, maybe 5. That's including at birth and the subsequent midwife visits at home. I've been to clinic once. It's not that I don't care, it's because I care. Don't get me wrong I'm not some rebel without a cause, if you have any worries or concerns about your baby of course you should always, always, seek help. Always. Without question. It's just when there's nothing wrong, sometimes parenting by numbers and incessant monitoring can be detrimental to the best parenting tool you'll ever have; your instincts. Nobody knows your baby better than you. Your baby isn't a statistic or a graph and I refuse to let mine become one. I know approximately what she weighs from idle curiosity and bathroom scales but more importantly she's happy. She's going up clothing sizes and nappy sizes. She wee's and poo's. She sleeps, like a baby. She's hitting milestones whenever she's ready to. She's experimenting with food when and how she see's fit to. She's happy. We're happy. We don't need a graph or chart to tell us that. She is a person. Her own universe and she'll revolve around the sun in her own pattern.
It's a lesser form of, for all intent purposes, free ranging.
Eliminate the pressures and expectations of books and charts.
We seek help when it's needed (such as her eczema. See? we're not crazy anti establishment renegade parents. We're not stupid nor irresponsible either.)
My children aren't numbers, they're individuals. They're humans. Doing things their way.