What is the ideal weight and height for a 2-year-old?
The first few years of your baby’s life will be typically marked by rapid changes when it comes to his height and weight. Increase in the circumference of his head and width of his chest, along with weight gain, alterations in muscle mass, and increase in height, will be easily noticeable during the first year. So, naturally, providing him with sufficient nutrition during this phase is of paramount importance.
From the first birthday onwards though, growth will take place at a slower pace. Now, nearly 2 kilos get added to the neonate’s body weight within the first three months of birth. And this should almost equal the increase in body weight that will take place throughout the second year. For a baby girl, the increase in body weight during the second year might be around 1.8 kg. And these weight changes will depend on several factors that you must keep an eye on. The factors are:
- Birth weight: Several studies suggest that the birth weight of a baby is related to the mother’s weight and diet during the pregnancy period. This factor determines his or her future weight gain patterns too. If your baby’s birth weight is high, the weight gain by the age of 2 years might be higher as well. The opposite will be the case if your baby’s birth weight is low. The weight change pattern will also depend on genetic predisposition.
- The child’s physical activity: As your baby experiments with movements such as crawling, walking, or tries to play, muscle mass might build on, and weight might begin to show small scale reductions.
- Dietary choices: When you select foods for your baby, they must not only be simple to digest, but also rich in nutrients, to support a healthy weight gain. As sugar is restricted at this age and fat sources are very limited, weight gain needs to be backed up with sugar substitutes such as honey and dates. For fat sources, you can choose a little ghee. Also, provide him or her with small meals at frequent intervals to keep the baby satiated and facilitate adequate weight gain.
- The lactation phase: Sometimes, breastfed babies tend to show low weight gain. This can be due to insufficient breast milk production or due to the inability of the infant to draw enough milk. In such scenarios, check with the doctor for the appropriate solution to help meet the child’s growth and nutritional needs.
- Malnutrition: Insufficient or imbalanced nutrients in your infant’s diet might hit the kilos first. In fact, your child might experience weight loss too. Consulting a doctor to diagnose deficiencies is a must in this case.
Also remember that weight gain must be monitored constantly. The same attention must also be paid to your infant’s height. Annually, the average height of an infant increases by two to three inches. Factors that affect this increase in height are:
- Genetic predisposition: Genetics play a vital role when it comes to height changes. Hence, force-feeding your child to make him or her gain height quickly will not help.
- Birth weight: Babies who are born prematurely or have low birth weight can show stunted growth, especially between the first and second birthdays. However, if the genetic predisposition is positive, growth spurts might be observed close to puberty.
- Dietary choices: Including proteins in your baby’s diet is essential for an increase in height. But note that an overload might stress your little one’s kidneys, as they will need to filter large amounts of protein while they are in the developing stage. Make sure that your little one’s diet consists of a variety of proteins too. Eggs, fishes, meat, dairy products, beans and legumes are some popular protein sources.
- The lactation period: Breast milk is a rich source of protein and provides the most ideal form and quantity of protein to your baby. So, if your child has not been breastfed due to some reason, his or her height might be affected.
- Physical activity: Walking, running, jumping, crawling, etc. are important contributors to gain in muscle mass and height. Once your baby reaches 2 years of age, you can encourage skipping and cycling too, for better height gain.
Height and weight monitoring during the growing years, particularly the first two years of your infant’s life, is thus extremely essential. Maintaining growth charts can also help you to keep track of your child’s overall development.