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Infancy

By Kimberly Sinclair RN CPNP

Infancy is the greatest time of change and growth. No other time of life sees this amount of change in all aspects of a person’s being. Change to physical, mental, visual, hearing or nutritional needs. Their world expands and changes daily and sometimes by the minute. We are in awe and amazement of those changes. Let’s see how that small bundle of joy changes from their birth.


Physical:

The child comes into this world and we note their weight, height and basic measurements. By the time the child reaches the end of infancy at 12 months, they have tripled their weight, added 4-5 inches to their height. That precocious child goes from staying in one place to rolling over, sitting up at 6 months, crawling by 9 months, standing at 10-11 months and walking/taking steps by 14 months. Their head is still too big for their body, but they are learning so quickly. Sleep periods are shorter than for adults, but just as beneficial.


Mental:

Think about it! Everything to an infant is new and wondrous. EVERYTHING! They learn everything for the first time. Their biggest challenge is to trust. They are learning to trust their parents, grandparents and brothers/sisters. By the time the 12 th month arrives, they are learning that things outside of themselves exist. They are on the move and if anything could be claimed as having perpetual motion, it is an infant.


Visual/Hearing:

Visually, it is very unfocused and uncoordinated at birth. By 3 months, they start to follow objects and see more clearly. By 5 months 3-dimensional sight (the ability to see that objects are not flat) and the ability to see colors have greatly increased. Hearing is almost fully developed at birth. Startle reflex is a good note of hearing, as well as the birth testing for hearing. At any time that the child doesn’t turn to sounds or startle at large sounds after 3 months, further check ups may be needed. Not making noises, cooing or forming words (5-10) by the end of the first year should be talked about with your child’s primary care provider.


Nutritional:

Nutritionally, children breast or bottle feed at birth and move to soft table foods by the 12-month point. The amount of the feedings begins very small and really only increase minimally by 1 year old. They get introduced to many tastes and textures. Believe me, they will let you know what they like and don’t like! They start with needing maximal assistance for eating and then progress to feeding much of their food with minimal assistance.


Other Developmental Needs:

Toileting is strictly an inability to have bowel and bladder control. In other words, diapers. Lots and lots of diapers. Discipline is usually just removing a child from the situation that is either dangerous for them or anxiety producing. Discipline in other ways is not effective because they can not understand why it is being done or the reasons. Oh, the time of infancy seems long when the sleepless nights occur but it actually passes very quickly! Time is looked back on with much thought and love in the future. Enjoy this time it is so very precious and lovely! Enjoy that beautiful child.

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