Physical changes in the second year

In their first year, Baby probably grew 5 to 8 inches or so, and tripled their birth weight – pretty impressive stuff! In their second year, there will be more physical growth, but it will look a little different.

Growth will slow down

Baby will still be getting bigger, don’t worry! They will just be growing 4 to 5 inches rather than 5 to 8, and probably gaining about five pounds over the course of the year. Fun fact: once they turn 2, they will likely be about half of their adult height!

Baby will speed up

You have to walk before you can run, but Baby is going to catch on really quickly – they will likely be running by 20 months! As they gain more confidence in their movements, they will start dancing, climbing, and generally running circles around you some days! Their hand and finger coordination will also improve, as well as their balance. Baby will still have trouble with coordination and balance, but their skills will continue to get better and better.

Fontanelles will close

Baby‘s fontanelles, the spaces between the bones in their skull, will close in the second year. Some (the posterior and sphenoidal fontanelles) closed a few months after they were born, but the mastoid and anterior fontanelles (spaces toward the back sides and top of the head) can take 12 to 24 months to close. This closing isn’t a physical change you’ll necessarily notice, but it means that Baby‘s skull is fully formed.                        

Proportions will shift

When Baby was born, their head was probably about two centimeters bigger than their chest. In the second year, for the first time, their chest circumference will be bigger than their head – your little brainiac is growing up! They will also start looking more like a little adult, with longer arms and a muscular build in place of a rounded abdomen.

Motor skills will improve

Within the second year, Baby will have the physical capability to learn how to grasp a ball, pinch a piece of dirt, use utensils, play with crayons, build block towers, turn pages, and more. They will start climbing up stairs, pulling themself into a standing position, and start holding their hands out to the side to balance. They will also be able to help with getting dressed and undressed. Even though Baby still has a way to go before learning how to tie shoelaces, slip-on shoes will soon be a piece of cake!

  • “Child Development Tracker: Physical Health.” PBS Parents. PBS. 2017. Web.
  • “Growth and Your 1- to 2-Year-Old.” KidsHealth. KidsHealth. January 2015. Web.
  • Hoecker, Jay L. “Infant growth: what’s normal?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. October 14, 2014. Web.
  • “Increased head circumference.” MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. April 21, 2015. Web.

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