When Shall We Weigh the Baby?

I had just labored for fourteen hours, given birth to my beautiful son, and passed my placenta. Once  our parents heard the news, they began to call our siblings and their families. They proudly pronounced that we had a boy and shared our son’s name. The next question? “How much did he weigh? How long?” Our parents couldn’t answer these questions just yet. Why?

It was because I had my new son on my chest, skin to skin, holding him snugly to my heated body. It was because he was searching with his little mouth for the breast, attempting to get a taste of colostrum. It was because we were both still blood stained and a mess. It was because we had still only gently dried my son and wrapped him in a towel- we had not yet bombarded him with a bath in the outside world. It was because we were savoring each other’s scents and taking in the feel of each other’s skin. It was because I was drinking in every one of his little features: bright eyes, tiny lips, purple fingers, wet hair, cone head, small toes, round legs… It was because we were nuzzling one another, capturing that rare bonding opportunity that only happens once in a lifetime. It was because my husband and I didn’t even think of pounds and ounces at the time- all we could think of was finally meeting this little person who grew in my womb for nine months, whom we had awaited anxiously, whom we adored before we met him… We were wrapped up in a frozen moment of time, absolutely in love with the tiny one who had just traversed a trying passage to meet us.

It was somewhere between an hour and two hours that went past before I made it to the shower- I can’t be quite certain exactly how much time it was. While I showered, my husband got to bond with and hold our precious son. It was only after that time that our baby finally received a gentle sponge bath and went through his reflex tests and measurements. In fact, our families were on their way in when we finally reached that point.

I find it saddening that our culture whisks the baby away from the mother so quickly after birth in order to check things that could very well wait. Those initial moments are so fleeting as it is, so why do we cut them even shorter? I once read in a birth story, “No baby has died yet from not being weighed right away.” Perhaps we should consider these words and choose to revel in the newness of life that only comes with birth.


6 responses to this post.

  1. YES!

    I cuddled and nursed my daughter for a little bit. She is my second child, and is now 6 weeks old. The birth was awesome! But she seemed SO much bigger to me than my son was, that I requested they weigh her real quick, because I just had to know! 🙂 Turns out, she was 8 lbs. 3 oz…nearly 2 lbs. heavier than her brother. I was plenty proud of that, and also happy that I didn’t tear this time. Hee!

    The nurse was quick to do the measurements and get her back to me, and they did the bath and other stuff much later. I didn’t even have to request it that way. Nice!


  2. Beautiful!

    There was a moment at the end of last year when I realized that when I left the hospital, I didn’t know the weights of 5 out of 7 of babies whose births I attended as a doula. And this is because even an hour after birth, the babies hadn’t left their mothers’ chests!


  3. YES! I can’t wait to spend those precious moments with my new baby some day 🙂


  4. Beautiful! It’s funny what is ‘important’ (stats) in a hospital birthing culture. I think some of my family was even embarrassed that I didn’t know the birth weight for a couple days!


  5. Posted by michelle on April 24, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    Oh, how I wish I could go back and capture that time. I declair it will not be robbed from me again unless it is truely necessary!


  6. Posted by dac on April 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    What a very lovely description of such a precious time.


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