Monday, July 19, 2010

Size Matters

Usually in the 95th percentile for weight and height at each check up, it seems that I'm constantly facing a dilemma with my son's above average size.  At five and half months old, he's already about 21 pounds.  He lost a bit of weight during a teething week at the beginning of the month but quickly gained it back and then some. 

Before I became a mother, I used to think that preoccupation with the petite was reserved for adults.  I am, however, rethinking that as I've been researching exactly what it means to be in the 90+ percentile compared with the median weights for infants at various stages.

Even though my son is ahead of the curve, the median weight for a 6 month old boy is 18 pounds.  This is only 4 pounds away from the maximum weight limit of infant car seats which are ideally supposed to last until the child is 1 year old.  Many brands of infant clothing have a maximum recommended weight of around 19.5 pounds for 9 months sizes.  It seems that baby products are designed with girls in mind who have much lower median weights.  Since this is true, one would think that manufacturers would make different lines of products to accommodate the different needs of boys and girls, especially with clothing.  But they don't.  It's as if companies purposely under size their products so that consumers will have to purchase multiple items (often costly items) in order to span the entire period of use.

What about when it comes to play pens and the height limits on car seats?  The story is much the same.  I've blogged about my car seat woes, so there's nothing new there.  I've also been looking at play n plays, play yards, and play pens since my son is of the age where he needs to be contained to make sure he doesn't get away when I'm not looking.  The largest I've seen, however, is 34" on it's longest side, and it's not cheap.  My son is already over 26" tall.  That doesn't leave much room for crawling and exercise.  I was extremely disappointed because I have fun memories involving the extra large playpens from the days of yore.

Because of that, I've had to search for alternatives to the traditional play pens.  If you search for gate or fence style play yards, these start with dimensions of at least 36"x36" and most of them have optional extensions available for purchase.  The pros are that they are convenient, versatile, highly portable, often able to be reconfigured to the shape and size that best fits the room, and cost much less per square foot than traditional style play pens.  The cons are that they aren't padded in the walls, need a separate pad for the floor if your baby is still learning to sit up or crawl, and the selection and styles are limited.

In a world where manufacturer's capitalize on the fast growth of infants and small children by making products that run small and your child is already larger than average, a mom has to get creative sometimes.

Image: Rasmus Thomsen /

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