How Tall is that Baby, Anyway?

Baby’s are wonderful little creatures that are unspeakably cute. They even smell pretty good, which considering all the pooping and spitting up, is nothing short of miraculous. As the parent of two former babies, I know these things to be true.

But could someone explain to me why we need to know the length of babies?

We recently got a birth announcement with beautiful pictures of the precious little newborn. Very lovely — but there under the kid’s name and weight it said “21 Inches.”

First of all, I have no idea how long a baby is supposed to be. You could tell me the kid’s 12 inches long I’d have no idea that’s small. Is a 21 inch baby tall? Can you even say tall since they don’t stand up? Am I supposed to do a mental calculation between weight and length that tells me if it’s a chubby baby? A skinny baby. A big boned baby?

When I want answers, I go to the internet:

Most full-term babies (born between 37 and 40 weeks) weigh somewhere between 6 pounds, 2 ounces (2,812 grams) and 9 pounds, 2 ounces (4,173 grams). Their average length ranges from 19 to 21 inches (48 to 53 centimeters).

OK, so that is a tall baby.

Weight, on the other hand, I can understand. One baby in the maternity ward may weigh seven pounds while the one right next to it weighs nine pounds. If you think that’s no big deal, pick up a two pound package of ground beef at Price Chaopper. That’s a lot of baby meat.

We have our whole lives to be judged by our height and weight. Thank God your little baby is OK and starting life healthy and sound. I suppose we could do without the baby length — unless you want to do something funny, which would be describing your baby as being 1’8″.

5 thoughts on “How Tall is that Baby, Anyway?

  1. In the long run it tends not to add up to anything. Some kids will still be short and others rather tall. With the stats you found my son, born 6 years ago today, was 19 inches while being delivered 6 weeks early. He measured in today at 4’1″. Taller then most of his friends that are older. So when he graduates high school I’ll send out the announcement listing him at 6’3″ 200 lbs.

  2. I’m with you on this one, Rob . . . for the reasons you note, and also because the concept of measuring a baby’s length/height seems sort of an inexact science, since babies are kind of squishy and blobby and amorphous at that stage. How do you measure the length of something with no firm edges? I suspect that if you gave the same baby to ten different Baby Wranglers and asked them to measure its height/length, that you’d get at least several different measurements being offered, since they’re so squishy and not apt to lean nicely and straightly against the yard stick to allow for accurate dimensional recording. But for those who are into that sort of thing, maybe they really SHOULD do height, which for a baby that can’t stand, would be what we as adults consider width or girth, and why not capture the third dimension while you’re at it too, so you’d know the size of the box or drawer that you’d need to store the baby if it came to visit. I’d feel better prepared to host a visiting baby if the announcement said something like . . . We proudly welcome Delmas Festus Hutson, 9 pounds, 4 ounces, 20″ x 10″ x 8″.

  3.’s kinda like fishing..

    “That’s a beaut, Vern. Musta put up a real fight.”

    “oh, that’s fer sure. 11 hours- A battle like that, you don’t throw it back. Yep.. as soon as we saw him, we said, ‘He’s a keeper’.”

    Shoulda seem the one that got away.

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