Growth Spurts in Toddlers and What You Can Do

Your baby’s growth during the first year is amazing! They will grow from a helpless infant to an energetic, on-the-move toddler. As they continue to grow, sometimes there will be growth spurts. These toddler growth spurts will happen seemingly out of nowhere, and during that time your child might outgrow all his clothes very quickly. It is important to remember that though it might seem like these spurts are random, they aren’t – there are ways to tell it’s going to happen.

Toddler Growth Spurts

When a baby is born, they are already genetically programmed to grow up to be a certain size. For instance, a very small baby might grow rapidly during the first few years, while a very large baby might grow slowly. They are simply growing to the size they are meant to be, and the fast or slow growth is just fine for them.

How Are Toddlers Developing?

Between one and two years, most toddlers will put on about 6 pounds and gain 5 inches in height. A year after that, most will gain another 4 pounds and put on another 2 to 3 inches in height. Your baby is going to be moving around a lot, with so much energy that they can be very hard to keep up with throughout the day. Despite all this activity, your child should continue to grow at a regular weight, as evidenced by the doctor’s measurements at routine checkups.

Signs of Toddler Growth Spurts

Experts vary on when they believe toddler growth spurts happen. Some think that the body does this on a set schedule, while others are sure it happens anytime your baby’s body feels like it is time to grow again. Regardless, you can usually tell when it is going to happen by these signs:

  • Your baby wants to eat everything in sight. A sudden increase in appetite can be a sure sign that your baby will be growing out of clothes a week later.
  • When your baby is really fussy, it could be because a growth spurt is imminent. Sometimes a baby will wake up more during the night to eat, and that means that they are cranky, in turn, the lack of sleep makes them really fussy during the day.
  • Your child might also be very sleepy, sleeping right through the night, and taking longer naps. These times are likely when the growth spurt is actually occurring; up to 80 percent of growth hormones in humans are secreted when the body is at rest. Let your baby get all the sleep he needs during this time.

If these symptoms last for more than a few days or there are other changes in your baby’s behavior, talk to your doctor. Though all is probably well, sometimes these signs of a growth spurt can also indicate teething or an illness.

When to Be Concerned

Sometimes growth spurts come along with “growing pains.” This is normal, but it is not normal if the pains are accompanied by a rash, fever, swelling, an inability to move their limbs properly, or other things that just don’t appear to be right about your child. If these things happen, it’s time to contact the doctor with your concerns. Your doctor can evaluate your child and also check out his growth at that time, to make sure he is still on the right track.

What Can You Do?

Remember that your child can grow up to ten inches during those toddler years, and can put on an impressive amount of weight along with it. To help make sure your baby stays on track with proper growth, make sure he gets plenty of sleep, eats nutritious meals, and gets adequate exercise. Sleep of 10 hours a night is usually sufficient, and exercise throughout the day is often recommended. Create meals that are wholesome, filled with plenty of fruits and veggies, and be sure to offer snacks, too.

Here’s more on how to support your child’s physical development:

Overall Growth Spurts in Your Kid

There are generally 4 phases of child development. They are divided into:

  • Infant years
  • Preschool years
  • Middle childhood years
  • Adolescent years

During the first few weeks of life, your child might actually lose weight. But they gain it back by the second week, and it is full speed ahead from there. By the age of four to six months, the baby has usually doubled in weight. After that, expect your baby to gain up to 5 pounds per year until the age of five or so. Until the age of ten, growth steadily increases. Then the child hits puberty, and the biggest growth spurt of all seems to happen almost overnight!

It is important to note that until 2002, the growth chart that most doctors used was based on what was normal for Caucasian children who were bottle-fed. But remember that if your baby is Hispanic, Asian-American, or breastfed, he could be smaller than the usual charts. New charts do offer averages for all ethnic groups, but keep in mind that your child might not be the same size as your neighbor’s child is, based on many various factors.

To break it down a little more, here’s what to expect at each phase of your child’s life:

  • Birth to 12 months: Add 10 inches in height and triple the birth weight.
  • 12 to 24 months: Add five inches and six pounds.
  • 2 to 10 years: Add 2 ½ inches and 6 pounds per year.
  • 10 years through puberty: Girls can grow 9 inches and gain 15 to 55 pounds; boys can put on 11 inches and gain up to 65 pounds. 

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