Mystery of the Incredible Shrinking Toddler Pants..

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that for most of his life  Jasper has been on the low side of the height and weight charts.   More specifically about 15%-25% for both until he somehow ended up at the 50th% at his two year pediatrician visit.   So when I buy him pants, I always make sure they have adjustable waists and I usually have to cinch them in almost ALL the way to get them to stay up.  Such was the case with the the two pairs of Baby Gap corderoy pants I bought him for fall – I almost thought the little buttons would pop off from being adjusted in so tight!

Fast forward a few washes and I notice that OVERNIGHT his Gap pants are really really tight on his waist.  So tight  that I have to let them out almost to the last button.  Then, this morning, one more wash cycle later and even let out all the way they are too small on his waist and won’t button!

Now I’m really perplexed.. I did notice his Gap jeans got tighter too and needed to be let out, so I’m not sure if he could have POSSIBLY grown in girth that dramatically in the matter of days or if it’s the pants themselves somehow shrinking so drastically?  I’ve always heard that thinks shrink in length and hardly at all (if at all) in width, so I’m just not sure if that could be it…

Is it possible that at 25 months instead of wearing a 2T I need to buy him 3Ts?  That seems so bizarre to me because a) I’ve NEVER had to buy him the next size up ever! and b) the one pair of 3T anything (pjs) he owns were positively swimming on him.

Has anything like this happened to you?  I’m in uncharted territory here!

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Sofia says:

My son is 19 mths – he has been in 50% for height – he wears 2T pjs, but his his pants are still 18mths – pretty much all of them i have to adjust the waist (including GAP) so they won’t fall of. However i did notice his new GAP jeans did shrink after wash and i needed to readjust the waist and loosen it up.

Kristy says:

Is it just the one pair of pantsthat are suddenly too small of ALL of his pants? If its just the one pair, then you can most likely blame it on the dryer. I always dry all of my toddlers clothes on the “delicate” or “low” temperature. I have found that Gap and Old Navy shrink faster than other brands like Children’s Place and Carters. It is tough in the middle of sizes at this age tho! Jonas is 2.7 and still wearing 2T (24 mos at Children’s Place). Size 3T is HUGE usually! I normally buy pants at 2T and sometimes shirts at 3T because shirts seem to shrink faster.

esther says:

ariana, my twin boys are the same exact age as, too, have always been small. at 24 months, they were 21lb and 34-34.5in (or 0 percentile in weight, 40-50th in height) Up to now, i’ve always had to buy pants maybe a size smaller since there was never any bulk on them to fill out the pants- and hence, they were long enough. but recently, as in the last 3-4 months, i suddenly had to switch to 2T pants, too. They are a bit long and we need the adjustable waist and sometimes even a belt with it. In other words, it’s possible that our boys are simply catching up to where they should be (my hubby is very tall and maybe my preemie boys are catching up now?).
As far as the shrinking- never heard of shrinkage waist-wise, just a bit lengthwise…hmmmm….

PS: I love Old Navy pants for my boys because I find that they are more narrow than others. And Children’s Place pants? Would only work for chubby/ier kiddos, never for us!

jbhat says:

It’s not the dryer, silly. My kiddos do this: eat and sleep more when they are growing physically. Sleep more fitfully and be less interested in eating when they are growing cognitively.

Or maybe he just had too much Halloween candy. ; )


Fiona says:

Weird….no experience in this but can’t wait to hear whether is is Jasper of your tumble dryer….

Melanie says:

Zoe’s always been big, so this happens quite a lot. But I did notice that all of the sudden her 3T jammies were way too short and riding over her belly!! How can a 2 year old who is 50% for height and 80% for weight really need a 4T in jammies!? So weird.

nkc says:

I second Meaghan’s comment. My son recently went up a size and now needs to be in 2T — we noticed that he was eating A TON and that his belly was getting huge. Then one day, everything was too tight and too shrot. Have you noticed Jasper eating more than usual? If not, maybe things are just shriking in the dryer (I hope not). My clothes have always tended to shrink width wise, instead of length wise, so I can’t vouch for that theory!

ariana says:

NKC, I don’t think he’s been eating A LOT more than normal, but he does eat a bit more than he used to… but nothing so crazy that it would make his clothes not fit OVERNIGHT? I’m wondering if it’s those Gap cords.. maybe I need to find out if thos are particularly prone to shrinking..

ariana says:

Alexandria – yes it DOES feel great, but I wasn’t counting on him growing out of things I bought just a few wees ago LOL!

Meaghan, I’m not sure – I mean if I’m going by the fact that his pants won’t button then yes, I guess his belly MUST be bigger? That or everything is shrinking in the dyer?? Good to know about the belly and growth spurts though!

Meaghan says:

God – there are so many typos. Sorry about that.

Meaghan says:

Is his belly getting bigger? Someone the other day told me that her kids always got bigger bellies right before a big growth spurt. And my mom is always saying how “all of a sudden” our clothes wouls just stop fitting – onesie buttons would work one day and pop the next.

I just saw this thing recently on baby steals. It was a little snap thing that helps make pants that are too big around the waist fit, but going through the back belt loops and cinching them) and I wish I had looked more closely at it – it seemed like it was not work the $18 or whatever they charged and would be super simple to make but I cannot remember the name of it.

Alexandria says:

Phoenix is the same age as Jasper & as always been small in his weight so this summer he was in some 6-12 month shorts. But now I’m noticing that it’s his height that we are soring at so I buy everything now at 2T (but tighten waist band) or 3T so we can get longer wear.

But as a fellow mother of a small child, doesn’t it feel good to see that your child is finally getting big? The other day someone said to me “Wow he’s so big for 2!” I’m just so used to hearing how small he is so my heart swelled with pride :)