Does anyone else seem to have a toddler who eats like a bottomless pit? No? Just mine?
Well, alright then.
Just in case you encounter the toddler that can't get enough food and seems to be hungry all the time, let's take a look at the stages of toddler growth spurts.
Your Child's Growth
Babies are notorious for growing, and there is a tremendous amount of physical growth that happens, especially in the first year of life.
Babies do most of their crazy physical growth during their first year, especially when you consider that proportionally, their heads are way bigger than their bodies. But after 12 months of age, growth slows.
It's not uncommon for toddlers to only put on 2 to 3 pounds during the whole second year. I think of it as your toddler's body kind of "catching up" to all that growth from the first year.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes that in the second year, even head growth actually slows from 3/4 inches to 1 1/4 inches over the next 10 years. At only age 2, your toddler's head is actually 90 percent of its adult size. Height also increases as the toddler legs grow and catch up with the rest of the body. Toddlers are also on the move a lot and you will notice that your baby starts to lose the "baby" look as the stores of fat are dispersed and disappear.
The most important thing to remember about your toddler's growth is that even though your little one's growth will be measured out on a growth chart, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all growth chart.
Instead of focusing on what your toddler's growth is compared to other children, the only thing you and your pediatrician will need to be concerned with is how your toddler is growing on their own growth scale. Every child's personal growth chart will be different, and your doctor will assess if your toddler's growth is on track for their own numbers. There are also growth charts for special needs, although again, each chart will need to be tailored to an individual perspective.
To put things into perspective, the AAP says that the average toddler girl at 15 months old weighs about 23 pounds and is 30.5 inches tall. An average toddler boy weighs about 24.5 pounds and stands 31 inches tall.
By 18 months old, both female and male toddlers will each gain about an extra 1 1/2 pounds and another inch of height. And then, by the age of 2, that same girl will weigh 27 pounds, while your little man will have an extra pound at 28 pounds.
Two-year-old girls will be about 34 inches tall, and 2-year-old boys will have an extra 1/2 inch. But keep in mind: All of those numbers are simply averages and will not be "normal" for every single toddler.
Some kids will actually slow in growth when they reach the toddler age. These kids will have grown normally as babies, but will slow down around the age of 2 for two main reasons.
- Short parents. Sorry toddler. If your parents (or just one of them) are short in height, you may wind up short too. It's nature's way, but there's no medical worry to being short.
- Constitutional growth delay. Also known as delayed puberty, children with constitutional growth delay will be normal-sized babies, but slow down on growth between the ages of 6 months and 2 years. Then after age 2, their growth goes back to normal, but they will start puberty and have their big adolescent growth spurt later, too.
Part of all that growth is a distinct shift in your toddler's food preferences. If you notice that your toddler only seems to want to eat the same food over and over again, don't worry. Your toddler is just being, well, a toddler. And toddlers aren't always known for their sophisticated palates.
Thankfully for me, and my daughter's not-varied palate, the AAP reassures us that it's totally normal for toddlers to get on some serious food "kicks" when they only want to eat the same foods over and over. For my toddler, that food would be our family's favorite chicken breakfast sausage, the quantities of which she can consume honestly frighten me at times.
To combat those food strikes, keep on the course to present a variety of healthy foods, even when your toddler lacks enthusiasm for those healthy foods. They’ll get there eventually! Consistency is key and the most important thing is that your little one stays fed with healthy foods that you both can feel good about.