What concerns me is the sudden slow down of growth of my son in the last 2 years.


My question is regarding my son. I am concerned about his rate of growth. How much weight and height should a child gain during the 2nd and 3rd years of life. My son is 34 months and is 35.5 inches and 28 pounds. At birth he was 8 pounds 6 ounces and 20.5 inches; at his first birthday, he was 33 inches and 23 pounds. I guess what concerns me is the sudden slow down of growth. He’s only gained 5 pounds and 2.5 inches in the last 2 years, is this normal?

Doctors tell me he’s fine since I’m short (5 feet 3 inches) and my husband is (5 feet 9 inches). Doctors always seem short on time and don’t go into much detail on why the sudden slow down in his growth. I would appreciate any info you could provide. Thank you.

Growth rate slows down between 2 and 3 years of age. The average child gains 3 1/2 pounds and 3 inches as opposed to the rapid doubling of birth weight that occurs in the first year.

At birth, his length was at the 75th percentile and weight was at the 50th percentile which is probably due to good nutrition during pregnancy. We don’t perform BMI calculations for children under 2 years of age. At 12 months his height was above the 97th percentile and his weight was at the 50th percentile. I am wondering if his height measurement is accurate and if it was measured lying down or standing up since a person’s height is taller when lying down. It would have been expected that his height would have been around 30 inches or the 50th percentile for height at 12 months. Please confirm your son’s height at his 12-month doctor visit was 33.5 inches.

On current growth charts (2000), your son is in the 25th percentile for height, 25th percentile for weight and 25th percentile for BMI. (This means that 75% of kids his age are taller than him and weigh more.) What that means is he is small compared to children his age which is a departure from his birth weight/height and at 12 months when he was tall for age. This could be due to his individual growth or it could be due to other factors. You should discuss this with his doctor.

It is good that his height and weight are in close percentiles. I am concerned that his height has dropped from the 75th to the 25th percentile since birth and that it may have dropped from the 97th percentile to the 25th percentile at 12 months. I would suggest that you measure his height every three months to share with his doctor at the next visit.

If his doctor is not concerned and you still have some questions, I would suggest you talk to a pediatric nurse practitioner. Ask your doctor if one works in his office. Otherwise, call your local public health department. Next time your son goes to the doctor, bring a list of questions and ask the doctor for answers.

You didn’t say anything about his eating habits, but children do eat more during a growth spurt. Unfortunately, two-year-olds start to get picky with what they will eat and will often pick one food and eat just that for several days or even longer. Just remember that children will eat when they are hungry. So as his parent, provide a variety of foods in 3 meals and 3 snacks per day. Let him pick what he wants to eat from the food you offer. If you are unsure about his nutrition, write down what he eats for 3 days and make an appointment to see a registered dietitian who can analyze the nutritional content of his food record.