5 good things about having a big baby

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 Photo: Getty Images

Big babies have a bad reputation.

In many minds they're a risk factor to be managed, a caesarean waiting to happen, a result of gestational diabetes and the cause of labour injuries to their mums. But wait, there's apparently more as these babies grow older: they're more likely to be obese adolescents, and to be diagnosed with childhood cancer. Oh boy.

The thing is, there's little we can do to control the size of our babies. Maintaining the healthiest pregnancy possible and doing the best you can are the most scientific strategies there are to managing the size of your little (or not-so-little) one.

At 4.49kg (9lb 14oz) and 4.8kg (10lb 10oz), you could say my babies were on the larger side of the newborn scale. And while the modern way of seeing big is to look for the problem, the reality is there's often nothing wrong with having a big baby.

In fact, there are some benefits to be found in having a newborn the size of an average two-month-old.

They aren't fragile

When I had my first baby, the midwives at hospital told me they were surprised to see me handling her with confidence. This was, in part, because my baby didn't look fragile; she was rolly-polly and strong, and just looked like she could handle being moved around lots as I changed her nappies.

This helped others feel confident holding here, too: anyone feeling nervous about holding a newborn had her thrust into their arms with the reassurance that they wouldn't break this big baby.

Sleep, glorious sleep

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Admittedly, the way a baby sleeps is about more than just size, but I believe it does play a role.

When one midwife told me not to let my first baby sleep more than four hours at a time without being fed, I sought a second opinion. My instinct told me that, given her size and the fact she had no other health issues, I should just let her sleep. On asking for more professional opinions, most agreed with me. She was the best sleeping baby ever … although my second proved that there's much more to it than size.

Those rolls of fat are cute

My babies were born with rolls of chubbiness, and it was adorable. And bath time was an exercise in pulling back the rolls of chub in order to wash and dry them properly.

Handing down brand new baby clothes

This one is a benefit to others around you if you've had a big baby. After buying and being given little size 0000 newborn clothes, newborn sized nappies and tiny booties, I had to turn my attention to the next size ranges and hand down those brand new items to pregnant friends. The good news for those of us with the bigger bubs? The slightly bigger clothes are just as cute and just as useful.

Oh, and size doesn't always impact the labour

While my first baby was a struggle to birth (think long labour, epidural, forceps), which could easily have been attributed to her size, my second (and larger) baby was born so quickly and easily that she accidentally arrived at home. Yes, a big baby can be born vaginally, with a range of factors at play that decide how labour will go.