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Gateshead doctor tells mother to put her baby on a diet

A mother says she was left shocked after a doctor told her to put her six-month-old baby on a diet.

Danielle Parker says she was instructed to stop feeding her daughter Grace any solid food and only allow her water in between breast feeds.

She says the advice came after she was ‘warned’ about her infant’s weight of 18lbs – which is deemed a healthy weight.

The 21-year-old, from Wrekenton in Gateshead, claims she was told by the doctor ‘you need to stop obesity before it begins’.

NHS guidelines state six-month-old baby girls should weigh between 12.9 and 19lbs – which Grace falls within. 

Danielle Parker was upset when a doctor told her to out her six-month-old baby on a diet

Ms Parker said: ‘The doctor advised that I cut out all food and only offer water in between feeds, basically suggesting I put my baby on a diet.

‘I left the hospital feeling very upset and angry. As a young mother, I feel like we already get a lot of judgement and criticism.

‘I was really taken aback by what she said – I couldn’t believe it. It made me feel really inadequate as a new mum.’  

The 21-year-old and her partner Matthew Fisher were shocked when she was instructed to stop feeding Grace any solid food

The 21-year-old and her partner Matthew Fisher were shocked when she was instructed to stop feeding Grace any solid food

She insinuated she was fat

Ms Parker took Grace to Gateshead’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital when she was suffering from constipation.

After weighing her daughter, she says the doctor expressed disgust at the scale reading.

‘The first thing they said to me was, “oh my goodness, what are you feeding her?” insinuating she was fat,’ she said.

‘I would understand when she rudely asked what I was feeding my baby if I answered with chocolate pudding and huge portions of food with a lot of calories, but I don’t.’

Astounded Ms Parker told the doctor that Grace – born a healthy 8lbs 3oz – was breastfed.

Ms Parker felt the doctor was insinuating her daughter was 'fat' after she was weighed

Ms Parker felt the doctor was insinuating her daughter was ‘fat’ after she was weighed

Grace's GP has since said he was no concerns over Grace's weight

Grace’s GP has since said he was no concerns over Grace’s weight


Steady weight gain is one of the signs that your baby is healthy and feeding well.

It’s normal for babies to lose some weight in the first few days after birth.

Your baby will be weighed during their first two weeks to make sure they’re regaining their birthweight. Four out of five babies are at, or above, their birth weight by two weeks.

Your midwife or health visitor will support you if your baby loses a large amount of weight or doesn’t regain their birthweight by two weeks.

They’ll talk to you about how feeding is going, possibly ask to observe a feed if you’re breastfeeding, and look at your baby’s health in general. 

After the first two weeks, your baby should be weighed:

  • No more than once a month up to six months of age
  • No more than once every two months from 6-12 months of age
  • No more than once every three months over the age of one

Your baby will usually only be weighed more often than this if you ask for it or if there are concerns about their health or growth.

You can go your local baby clinic to see your health visitor at any time. There’s no need to wait until your baby needs to be weighed.

Your baby’s length may also be measured at some of their developmental reviews.

Source: NHS Choices 

And she explained that for the last three weeks, she had been weaned on to pureed fruit and vegetables, as advised by her GP.

Grace’s diet includes carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, as well as baby porridge, which is added to cool boiled water to make it easy for her to eat. 

According to the NHS website, a baby’s first foods can include mashed or soft cooked fruit and vegetables, which should be cooled before eating.

That is when the doctor gave her warning about preventing obesity before it starts, according to the mother-of-one.  

‘I make my own foods so I am aware of exactly what is in the food I am giving her and I get Grace weighed at the clinics locally every week, if not every two weeks,’ said Ms Parker.

‘I also chat to my health visitors to ensure I’m doing a good job and to make sure Grace is doing well.’ 

GP has no concerns

After leaving the hospital, Ms Parker visited her local GP and was told he had no concerns over her daughter’s weight.

Now, Ms Parker and her partner Matthew Fisher have made a complaint to the Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust.

A trust spokesman said: ‘We’re sorry to hear that a patient didn’t feel they had a good experience in our emergency department and can confirm that an informal concern was raised with us.

‘However, it would not be appropriate to comment further until our patient advice and liaison team has had the opportunity to look into the issues mentioned.’