Baby Development at 2-3 Years Old

Children of this age…

  • Will have all their milk (primary) teeth by the time they’re about 2½:
  • Will probably be sleeping 11-12 hours at night - sometimes with a nap during the day
  • Between the ages of 2 and 3, will grow, on average, about 8cm (just over 3”) and gain about 2kg (just under 4½ lb) in weight
  • 10 teeth on the top and 10 on the bottom

When they’re good, they’re very very good…

We’ve all heard about the ‘terrible twos,’ and this can, on occasion, be a very demanding time. But it’s also a magical age, when your toddler is making great strides when it comes to talking, thinking and growing (both physically and emotionally). During the course of this single year, most 2-year-olds start nursery, learn to play imaginatively, learn colours and start learning to count, among many other things - so much is happening!

You can encourage imaginative play by happily ordering and accepting (again and again!) imaginary cups of tea or plates of food. Play shops with your little one, or help to look after dollies, help them to master puzzles or join in a session of 'vroom vroom'ing cars around the lounge. And don’t forget the pleasure of reading and talking about books together.


Around the age of 2-2½, your toddler will have a third health and development review, carried out by your health visitor or children’s nurse. This is a good chance for you to talk about how things are going and air any queries or concerns you may have.

Extra information

What is one serving of dairy food?

Toddlers need less milk than babies - a total of 3 servings a day. But what represents one serving for a toddler?

  • About 120ml (4 fl oz) of whole cow’s milk or Follow on Milk or Growing up Milk
  • 60g pot of full fat yogurt or fromage frais
  • Cheese on a pizza or in a sandwich
  • Cheese sauce, eg in macaroni cheese
  • 60g of custard

How big is a toddler-sized portion of food?

Bread, potatoes, pasta, rice or other carbohydrate food - offer one portion at every mealtime and at some snack times ½-1 slice of bread 3-6 heaped tablespoons breakfast cereal 1-3 heaped tablespoons cooked pasta 2-5 tablespoons cooked rice 1-3 tablespoons mashed potato
Fruit and vegetables - offer at every mealtime and as a snack. Aim for 5 portions a day 40g any vegetable or fruit is equivalent to one portion
Dairy foods - 3 portions a day 120ml (4 fl oz) whole cow’s milk or Follow on Milk or Growing up Milk 60g pot of full fat yogurt or fromage frais Cheese on a pizza or in a sandwich 60g of custard
Meat, fish, eggs, beans, lentils etc - 2 portions a day 2-4 tablespoons minced or chopped meat or fish ½-1 egg, well cooked 2-4 tablespoons pulses (beans, lentils, hum