How does the physical development take place in infants (0 to 15 – monthwise)?
The infancy stage usually refers to the early stages of childhood. Between the age of 0-2 years is when the primitive and rapid development of an infant usually happens. They grow physically, intellectually, socially and mentally. But once they attain the age of two, toddlers tend to grow at a slower pace than their initial stages of infancy. Physical Development refers to the biological developmental changes that an infant goes through, as they age. It consists of the growth of their sensory and motor skills, reflexes, perception, and other abilities.
Physical Development is rapid during the first two years of a child. Their weight doubles in a span of 6 months and usually triple by the time their first birthday arrives. There is not only an increase in the weight but also the height of an infant, they usually grow 10-12 inches longer (in height).
First 2 months
In the first two months, the infants can lift and turn their heads and flex their arms, fist their hands and all other kinds of reflex movements. But their head flops, if not held properly, as the neck doesn’t support their head at this stage. Babies also root. When they root they usually nuzzle their face into the chest of their caregiver. They also may try to roll towards one side and also try and grab different things by the end of the second month.
Infants gain a greater perception of everything around them. They also raise their head and hands when lying on their abdomen and can hold their head steady without much support. At this point, they familiarize themselves with the voices around them, may also coo and make small noises and squeal and laugh at small things. They cry purposefully, indicating that they are hungry, sleepy or tired.
Average growth in the height, weight and the size of the head of the child can be observed. The baby can sit alone without support for a short period, their reflexes become stronger and they begin to grasp things and small objects. Primitive reflexes have either already disappeared completely or are on the verge of disappearing. They have a sense of increased vision which helps them see different objects from the background.
At this age, we can witness babies crawling and sometimes even trying to stand, sitting for a longer period without any support. They also babble and make incoherent noises. Teething also starts at this age and they like putting everything in their mouth.
10-12 months (1 year)
The infant starts walking by holding onto someone’s hand for support and some of them start walking by themselves too. They engage in small activities like holding objects, play with a ball, bang objects and hold on to the furniture too. On average they have 2-3 naps a day and can try and imitate simple words and also show responsiveness to words like “No”.
Aspects of Overall Development
The motor skills of an infant go hand-in-hand with the physical growth of a child. The arms and legs of the child grow proportionately to the torso chest and the head of an infant. Muscle growth is also faster, as it helps the baby to support itself and aid in movement. There is a significant growth in brain development, especially in the frontal lobes. The motor skills of infant progress and acts as a helping hand in the growth of the brain.
Social and Emotional Development
In the first two months, a baby starts to get acquainted with its environment. Gradually an infant starts to recognize things around him and also recognizes his parents.
Anxiety can also be seen, when the baby is held by a stranger and not by someone familiar. Crying is an indication of not getting things, that they need or want at this stage. Babies also try to repeat and respond to basic words.
Parents and Caregivers play a major role in enhancing their child’s overall development. They can engage in small activities with their children to encourage growth. The major factor here is building a trust bound relationship with your child. The child looks up to the one, he is familiar with and whom he trusts.
Parents can encourage children by talking to them, holding them, engaging them in small playful activities, helping them walk among other things. Doing such things helps a child to grow. Children are very good imitators and therefore the parents should be careful in what they do in front of the children.
The physical development of an infant is a series of growth spurts. They grow at a rapid pace and most of their development happens between the first two years of their childhood and then it slowly eases into adolescence. As children grow, their abilities advance. Infants require love and care from their caregivers and a supportive environment with proper nutrition for them to grow healthily.