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Sketch the physical changes of infants beginning from birth

By : Farah Farzana Binti Mohammad Din

Basic Principles in Physical Development

1) Development starts from the head down to legs - After birth, the size of the head will develop first (a child can control his head movement first) 2) The growth direction starts from the middle part of the body and proceeds outwards - Development starts from the back bone and moves outward 3) The childs ability becomes clear and specific 4) The physical aspect develops at different stages

What is infant?
The term infant is typically applied to young children between the ages of 1 month and 12 months; however, definitions may vary between birth and 3 years of age. It is a time of extreme dependence on adults. Many activities, such as language development, symbolic thought, sensorimotor coordination, and social learning, are just beginning.

Physical Changes
There are five things that are important in physical development: Head circumference Length Weight Vision Teething

0-3 months
Weight He will gain an average of 4.5 to 6 pounds (or 2 - 2.7 kg) before the end of the third month. Length He will grow about 3 - 4.5 inches (or 7.6 - 11.4 cm) longer. Vision At birth, he will only be able to see about 8-15 inches away - just enough to see your face. What he does see will be mostly black and white. He will be able to sense light, shapes and movements, but most things will be blurry.

Activities : By 6-8 weeks can move head from side to side. Can lift head when placed on tummy by about 6 weeks. Begins to notice hands by around 6 weeks. Smiles at sound of caretaker's voice

3-6 months
Weight She should have doubled her birth weight by the end of the sixth month. Length Babies usually don't grow as much during this quarter. It tends to pick up again around the 6th to 7th month. Vision She is beginning to understand depth perception, which helps her motor skills develop. By this time, she's an expert at identifying primary colors and is beginning to be sensitive enough to notice pastels. Teething Some babies may start teething as early as four months. Watch for excessive drooling, fussiness, and endless chewing.

Activities: Can roll over. Sits with support, then alone by 8 months. Begins to push feet against floor or lap and then bounces. Can see an object, then opens hand to grasp it. Passes toys from hand to hand.

6-9 months
Soft Spot His soft spots (called fontanels) are beginning to grow together. It may take up to 18 months for them to completely fuse together. The presence of the fontanels enabled her skull to make the treacherous journey through the birth canal. Vision Her eyes are almost adult-like in clarity and depth perception. She probably prefers looking at items close up, but her vision is getting strong enough to recognize people and objects across the room. Her eyes are near to their final color. Teething She is most likely ready to start eating solid food (but definitely not steak and potatoes).

Activities : Crawling may begin Infant can walk while holding an adult's hand Infant is able to sit steadily, without support, for long periods of time Infant learns to sit down from a standing position Infant may pull into and keep a standing position while holding onto furniture

9-12 months

should have tripled his birth weight by now. Length He has probably grown about 10 inches (25.4 cm) since birth and is most likely between 28 or 32 inches long (71.1 - 81.3 cm).


Activities: Infant begins to balance while standing alone Infant takes steps and begins to walk alone (1-2 steps) Drinks from a cup Speaks several words

The factors that influence each stage of the physical changes in infants

Factors :
(i) Heredity: Development depends upon the potentials that child gets from his parents. These potentials decide the limit of development of a child, e.g., height, weight, body structure, etc. (ii) Nutrition: The nutrition that child gets before birth or after birth affects his development. If the child gets good nutrition he develops well and completes his developmental tasks. His bones, muscles and internal organs also develop well.

(iii) Immunization at proper time saves the child from various diseases: This helps the child to grow properly. Children who suffer from infectious diseases become weak and their body development lags behind. (iv) Proper ventilation: Sunlight and pure air helps in good body development. Sun rays are good source of Vitamin D which makes bones of the child strong. (v) Endocrine gland: Hormones help in the development of the child. - Secretions of thyroid and parathyroid glands help in the growth and development of bones and body. - Hypo secretion of pituitary gland makes the child midget and hyper secretion makes the child abnormally tall. - Thyroxin secreted by thyroid gland controls the physiological activities of the body.

(vi) Prenatal period: Health of the mother, her nutrition, immunization, her mental state affect the baby in the womb as the body of the foetus develops in the womb of the mother. (vii) Family: It provides proper atmosphere, opportunities, encouragement to the child to explore his environment so that he develops himself through this exploration. (viii) Sex difference: At the time of birth the rate of physical development is more but it is different in boys and girls. - In the beginning bones and muscle development is better in girls but till the end of childhood boys also grow and are ahead of girls. - Sexually girls mature faster.

(ix) Intelligence: It has been seen that intelligence affects the physical development. Children who are intelligent grow fast physically and children with low intelligence achieve their developmental tasks at a slow speed. (x) Socio-economic status: Families which can provide all the facilities like good nutrition, clothes, hygienic conditions, healthy recreations, etc. help in maintaining good health of the children so that they can develop good physique. Parents of low income group cannot provide good facilities to their children and the health status of the children are not good as they lag behind in physical development.

References :

John W.Santrock (2011); Child Development; McGraw-HILL Haliza Hamzah, Joy N.Samuel, Rafidah Kastawi (2008); Child Development, KUMPULAN BUDIMAN SDN BHD atrics/physical_growth_and_development/childho od_development.html#v1084884 What are the Factors that Affect Physical Development of Children? what-are-the-factors-that-affect-physicaldevelopment-of-children.html