Kids & Company Blog

Markers of Healthy Growth in Infants and Toddlers

This blog is written by our guest author, Nivine El Alami, a Certified Nutritionist, with a Master degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. Nivine has her private practice at HealthCare House and Ottawa Holistic Health Centre. She holds periodic nutrition seminars and healthy cooking workshops. You can learn more about her seminars and services on and

As parents, we try our best to provide our children the best nutrition from birth. As they grow up, we want to make sure that their nutrition is appropriate and adequate to achieve their optimal growth. Nutrition plays a vital role in the healthy growth and development of infants and toddlers: Monitoring their growth milestones is crucial to ensure they are thriving and meeting their developmental needs. But how do we accomplish that? In this blog, Nivine El Alami, Certified Nutritionist, shares the key markers of healthy growth in this age group that nutritionists utilize in their assessments, including usage, indicators and significance.

Steady Weight Gain: 

  • Adequate weight gain is a positive indicator of healthy growth. It is very important to have your child’s weight measured at each pediatrician appointment. Infants should regain their birth weight by 2 weeks of age and continue to gain weight steadily, doubling their birth weight at 3-4 months, and tripling it by 1 year.
  • Afterwards, weight gain slows down and varies between breastfed and formula-fed babies. Since you cannot measure their weight at home, you can monitor their milk intake by looking at the number of wet and soiled diapers per day to assess if your infant is nourished well, especially during the first months. Another method is to monitor their behaviour: if they appear satisfied and sleep well after a meal, this means their milk supply should be adequate. This can also apply to older infants after introducing solid foods. In general, a hungry baby won’t settle or sleep well, and with time, will fall short on weight gain.
  • As for toddlers, things become a little bit easier! Now you can help them stand on a scale to monitor their weight gain. They should experience a slow but consistent and gradual weight gain as they transition from a milk-based diet to solid foods. They should gain approximately 5 pounds between 12 and 24 months.

Length and Height: When referring to the measurement of how tall children are, we use the term “length” for infants, and “height” for toddlers. Steady growth in length and height indicates proper skeletal development. Both infants and toddlers should exhibit an increase in length and height as they grow, at an appropriate rate for their age:

  • Infants: should grow around 10 inches (25 cm) by the time they are 12 months old.
  • Toddlers: should grow around 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 cm) between 12 and 24 months.

Head Circumference: Measuring head circumference is an essential marker of brain development. A steady increase in head circumference signifies healthy brain growth. This is also another important marker which should be measured during every health check-in.

  • Infants’ and toddlers’ head circumference, weight and length (or height) should be assessed using WHO growth charts. These charts are recommended by the CDC for monitoring growth in this age group. Keep in mind that they are based on data from breastfed infants until 12 months old. There is a chart for head circumference-per-age growth, and for weight-for-length, weight-for-age, and length-for-age for boys and for girls. As a nutritionist, these are the first tools that we use to assess a child’s growth.

After assessing the first three markers, we move on to these last two, which are equally important and indicative of health growth, and somewhat easier for parents to assess and monitor:

Developmental Milestones: Achieving developmental milestones is indicative of healthy growth. Motor skills, cognitive abilities, and language development should progress within normal ranges. Adequate nutrition, including essential nutrients like iron and omega-3 fatty acids, supports brain development and facilitates reaching these milestones. Previous blog posts by fellow nutritionists at Kids & Company have explained these milestones thoroughly. 

Appetite and Energy Levels: Two of the easiest markers to be monitored for parents are your child’s appetite and energy levels. A healthy appetite and consistent energy levels suggest proper nutrient intake. Infants and toddlers should display curiosity about food and show interest in trying new flavours and textures. As for energy levels, parents should watch for any unexplained decrease in their child’s energy levels, such as sleeping more than usual, reduced activity or alertness, and/or lack of interest in crawling, walking or engaging with others. A significant decrease in a child’s energy levels might indicate inadequare nutrition and can impact their growth.

By closely monitoring these markers of healthy growth in infants and toddlers, we can identify any potential issues early on and ensure appropriate nutrition to support their overall development. Parents should consult with a healthcare professional if they notice significant deviations from the expected growth patterns, such as a sudden weight decline, limited or excessive weight gain, stunted height or length growth, delayed developmental milestones, or persistent issues with appetite and energy levels. Regular visits to healthcare professionals, including nutritionists, can provide valuable guidance and support for parents in promoting optimal growth and nourishment for their children. 

As nutritionists, our role is to help parents monitor their children's growth and provide guidance on nutrition-related aspects. We can assess their dietary intake, identify any potential nutrient deficiencies, and make appropriate recommendations to optimize their nutrition.

Remember, each child is unique, and growth patterns may vary. Consulting with healthcare professionals is essential for personalized guidance to meet individual needs. 

About Nivine:

Nivine El Alami is a Certified Nutritionist, with a Master degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She has been practicing clinical nutrition since 2009. She specializes in child nutrition, weight management, food intolerance and insulin resistance management. Nivine uses a scientific approach to assess and treat her patient’s nutrition related symptoms and diseases. She provides body composition analysis and food sensitivity testing as part of her initial patient assessment. She is an expert at meal planning and recipe development, and provides only personalized meal plans based on each person’s assessment, needs and goals. Nivine has her private practice at HealthCare House and Ottawa Holistic Health Centre. She holds periodic nutrition seminars and healthy cooking workshops. You can learn more about her seminars and services on and

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *