Growth and Development in an Infant – Child Development Example

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"Growth and Development in an Infant"  is an engrossing example of a paper on child development. Physical changes In an infant, physical development is cranial-caudal, meaning that it first commences from the head and then spreads to other body parts. One clear example is that sucking stars before the art of sitting or walking develops. Within two months, a newborn can lift and turn the head. The arms are also fisted and flexed. However, the neck is not in a position to support the head. The primitive reflexes present include Babinski, Moro, palmar handgrips, plantar and tonic neck reflexes (Lester et al. , 2011). At three to four months, the infant has good eye muscle control.

He can also follow and track objects. He begins utilizing both hands to accomplish some tasks. There is an increase in the strength of the vision. The neck support is strong; hence, the infant can with support and manage to hold his head. The disappearance of the primitive reflexes begins to take shape. At five to six months, he can sit on his own without necessitating support for at least 30 seconds.

He stars grasping cubes with the utilization of the ulnar-palmar technique. Additionally, he commences rolling from backside to stomach. When lying using the stomach, he tries to push up the arms, raising shoulders to high levels. Between the sixth and ninth months, the crawling process commences. The infant can also walk when an adult holds his hand. He can sit for a long time without any need for support. Between the ninth and twelfth month, the infant can balance when standing, and can take a few steps alone (Bremner & Slater, 2008). Cognitive changes The initial three months of an infant are usually full of wonders and amazement.

The major developmental milestones in this stage do focus on the exploration of common senses. The baby is eager to learn more about the environment. With reference to cognitive aspects, a good number of infants can see objects clearly within a distance limit of 13 inches. They can easily focus on any moving object. Their taste buds are well developed and can differentiate easily the bitter, sweet, and sour tastes. They can differentiate voice modulation.

They do utilize facial expressions to respond to different environmental issues. Additionally, they do show an anxious sucking reflex behavior at the nipple site, prior to breast-feeding (Raikes, Edwards, & Jones-Branch, 2008). At three to six months, they can have a strong perception sense. They can now remember familiar faces. They also respond to facial expressions from other people with similar imitations. Between six to nine months, most infants are in a position to gaze at some things for a long period. Moreover, they do seem to have an understanding of living and non-living things.

They can also differentiate various pictures. From nine to twelve months, they feel the urge to exploit the environment within them. Therefore, other milestones such as sitting, crawling, and walking, accompany the urge. They develop a wide perspective of the environment they are in. Imitations of gestures are common. They also admire the pictures in books. They are also keen to manipulate objects, hence they can be seen holding objects from different angles. Sensory changes The hearing process does commence even prior to delivery.

It does mature upon delivery. The human voice does attract more attention to the infant. The touch smell and taste senses are present at birth. The infant tends to prefer the sweet taste. During birth, the infant can see within a short range of eight to twelve inches. Color vision characteristics do develop between the fourth and sixth months. Tracking objects commences by the time the infant is two months. He can track objects within a range of 180 degrees. The neonate prefers tracking faces than any other object (Dunn & Daniels, 2002). Nutritional needs Breast milk is the best feed for an infant in the first six months.

The infant should be fed on breast milk exclusively without any other feeds. Breast milk is rich in immunoglobulin, proteins, fats, antibodies, and carbohydrates than any other formula milk. Slow weaning should commence at six months. Usher in solid and soft foods to the infant. The following table shows the nutritional needs of an infant (Tudehope, 2013).   Nutrient 0-6 Months 7-12 Months Energy (calories) 520-570 676-743 Protein (grams) 9.1 13.5 Vitamin A (mcg RE) 400 500 Vitamin D (mcg) 10 10 Vitamin E (mg alpha-TE) 4 5 Vitamin K (mcg) 2 2.5 Thiamin (mg) . 2 . 3 Riboflavin (mg) . 3 . 4 Niacin (mg NE) 2 4 Pantothenic Acid 1.7 1.8 Vitamin B6 (mg) . 1 . 3 Folate (mcg) 65 80 Vitamin B12 (mcg) . 4 . 5 Choline (mg) 125 150 Biotin (mcg) 5 6 Vitamin C (mg) 40 50 Calcium (mg) 200 260 Phosphorus (mg) 100 275 Magnesium (mg) 30 75 Iron (mg) . 27 11 Zinc (mg) 2 3 Iodine (mcg) 110 130 Selenium (mcg) 15 20 Copper (mcg) 200 220 Manganese (mg) . 003 . 6 Chromium (mcg) 0.2 5.5 Potassium (mg) 400 700 Sodium (mg) 120 370   Task 2 Nature- nurture issue Prenatal development Nurture is the environmental issue that does play a critical role in influencing the shape and behavior of an individual from birth onwards.

Prenatal development does focus on the development of the fetus occurring prior to delivery. Nurture does influence the period of prenatal development more than nature. The way the pregnant mother nurtures the fetus during the prenatal period determines the outcome of the fetus at birth.

Sometimes, diseases and disabilities may crop up during the prenatal period. However, the nurturing method will have the final impact and influence on the health condition of the fetus. Failure to nurture the fetus in the best way may lead to the worsening of the diseases largely. Therefore, it is very clear that the nurture component is a prerequisite in the prenatal development of an infant. A pregnant mother, who is careless of her feeding habits, exposes herself to occupational health hazards, gets involved in sexually transmitted infections, and the likes ultimately reflect the same to the infant.

This is more of nurture since the child will inherit the condition from the mother who was not keen on her personal behavior during the prenatal period. Therefore, nurture is the mother of prenatal development and the outcome of the infants (D. P. Keating, 2011). Labor, birth and birth complications Both nature and nurture do affect the processes of labor, birth and birth complications largely. With reference to the labor process, exercises during the antenatal clinic aids in the creation of a good passage.

The mother will be flexible enough to push the baby during birth. A mother who has received counseling and education with reference to the delivery process will not be anxious about the process. Anxiety may lead to prolonged labor, which predisposes the fetus to a hypoxic state. She will not suffer from psychological trauma. Feeding with a balanced diet during the prenatal period will convert to being strong, and having good hemoglobin content.   Feeding well ensures that the fetus is also healthy, hence not of low birth weight.

Investigations done during the antenatal period will aid the mother in making any possible diagnosis during the labor process. Such investigations may diagnose multiple pregnancies or malposition; hence, the mother is advised to take necessary steps during labor and delivery to minimize complications. All these are efforts a mother should seek during the antenatal period and forms part of the nurture component. On the other hand, nature also affects the outcome of labor and delivery, for example, in cases of cephalopelvic disproportion. In essence, most complications of labor are controlled by nurture.

They depend on the efforts of the mother during the prenatal period (D. P. [Ed] Keating, 2011). Development of a competent newborn Both nature and nurture play roles in the development of a newborn. The environment within which the infant is brought up dictates his developmental milestones. Additionally, the genes inherited from the parents also influence the path of development.


Bremner, G., & Slater, A. (2008). Theories of Infant Development. Theories of Infant Development (pp. 1–379).

Dunn, W., & Daniels, D. B. (2002). Initial Development of the Infant/Toddler Sensory Profile. Journal of Early Intervention.

Keating, D. P. (2011). Society and early child development: Developmental health disparities in the nature-and-nurture paradigm. In Nature and nurture in early child development (pp. 245–291).

Keating, D. P. [Ed]. (2011). Nature and nurture in early child development. Nature and Nurture in Early Child Development.

Lester, B. M., Miller, R. J., Hawes, K., Salisbury, A., Bigsby, R., Sullivan, M. C., & Padbury, J. F. (2011). Infant Neurobehavioral Development. Seminars in Perinatology.

Raikes, H. H., Edwards, C., & Jones-Branch, J. (2008). Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development. Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development (pp. 614–624).

Tudehope, D. I. (2013). Human milk and the nutritional needs of preterm infants. In Journal of Pediatrics (Vol. 162).

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