Why 1 Mom Never Wants to Hear Again That 'Fat Babies Are the Cutest'

Brianna Bell Writes/Facebook

Celebrating your newborn's weight gain milestones is something most parents don't think of as being possibly hurtful to others. If your baby is gaining healthy amounts of weight it's normal to not think twice when you're making comments about "fat babies" being the cutest. But one mom is here to explain why statements like that are sometimes so difficult for other moms to hear.


"Can we please stop bragging about our babies' weight gain?" writer Brianna Bell wrote in an emotional Facebook post. "'Good job mama.' 'Fat babies are the cutest babies.' 'What a champ!' These are all things I am guilty of saying. I have fist-bumped so many women who have said their baby is in the 90th percentile. I have bragged about my own huge babies."

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It wasn't until she gave birth to her youngest daughter that her view of these seemingly harmless comments changed. "My youngest did not gain weight after she was born. We had appointments daily. Sometimes twice in one day," she wrote. "I was scared and I felt alone. The eyebrows of my midwives knotted in concern. There were no pats on the back."

The mom said she felt very little support from those on the outside, and this changed the way she viewed herself as a mother. "I felt like a failure," she wrote. "I felt like I wasn't doing my best, when really I was working harder than I ever had before."

Brianna Bell Writes/Facebook

Over time, doctors and midwives helped the mom solve her daughter's weight gain problem, but her eventual success didn't do much to make Bell forget the pain she had experienced while her daughter was struggling. "I will never forget that time. And now when I hear people excitedly sharing about baby's and weight gain, my heart hurts a little," she admitted.

Her experience on the other side, the side of a child "failing to thrive," has made her more aware of the struggles so many other parents face in silence, without support, and full of self-doubt. "I remember clearly the silence," Bell shared. "I remember aching to hear that I was doing a good job. And I remember shaking while my daughter was undressed and weighed, only to be crushed by the number on the scale."

While her struggle may have ended, the mom said she wants to encourage others in her shoes to ask themselves some important questions. "Are you doing your best? Are you loving your children?"

She wants moms everywhere to feel confident and secure in the fact that their best is always good enough, "even if they aren't thriving. Even if they are sickly and weak." She added, "Failure to thrive is not failure."

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Failure to thrive is diagnosed when babies don't double their weight by 4 months and triple their weight by the time they're 1 year old. According to KidsHealth.org, it's most commonly associated with babies being undernourished, but there are also a lot of other reasons why babies might not gain weight as quickly as others, including underlying illness, digestive issues, allergies, problems with latching or the method by which they're being fed, or even metabolic disorders.

It's easy to blame ourselves when something like this is happening, but as Bell's post reminds us, parents want their babies to be healthy, and we're all doing the best we can. What we need more than anything when our babies are struggling is support and encouragement. 

"You are doing an amazing job," Bell wrote at the end of her post. "Your baby is beautiful. Good work mama (and daddy)! We see you."

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