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Growth and Your 1- to 2-Year-Old

You're in for many changes! By midway through this year, most babies are walking and learning to talk. They're turning into toddlers. By their second birthdays, most are losing that "baby" look. As toddlers get stronger and more capable, their rate of physical growth slows during this year.

How Much Should My Child Grow?

During this second year of life, growth slows down. Your toddler may gain about 5 pounds (2.kilograms) and grow about 4 or 5 inches (10 to 12 cm). By 2 years, children have achieved about half of their adult height and 90% of adult head size. Boys tend to weigh about a pound more than girls but average about the same height.

What you will notice more than actual growth are changes in a toddler's appearance. Body proportions are beginning to change. Instead of sporting the rounded belly and relatively short arms and legs suited to crawling on all fours, toddlers start to trim down, become more muscular because of increased activity, and will begin to look more like preschoolers than babies.

Should I Be Concerned?

Like babies, toddlers come in all shapes and sizes. Your doctor will continue to plot your little one's growth on a growth chart during regular checkups. Although you may be concerned that your child is too thin or too chubby at any one time, the most important thing is that your child continues to grow at a steady rate.

During the second year of life, babies are learning to feed themselves. They are transitioning to table foods and learning about new tastes and textures. Keep in mind that appetites slow down as growth slows and there may be times when your child is not interested in food. If you have concerns your child is not eating enough, speak with your doctor.

Encourage activity and exploration by providing a safe environment that lets your child be active every day. In addition to the physical benefits, this is also how a lot of learning takes place. This should be fairly easy, as most toddlers are naturally curious and seize every opportunity to move, whether by crawling, cruising, walking, or running.

Try not to let your baby spend too much time in confined spaces — such as strollers, playpens, and cribs — that restrains moving and exploring.

What's Next?

Your toddler will continue to grow at a slower but steady rate. Between 24 and 36 months expect your child to grow only about 2-3 inches in the whole year. But you will see your child growing in other ways, especially in the area of language.

Continue to provide a safe and healthy environment to foster optimal growth and development. Speak with your doctor if you have any concerns about your child's growth.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: September 2011