Development During Infancy

Learn about the stages of development during infancy

What a wonderful period of life, from birth to those first few hours, days and weeks of being an infant. The infant will be able to see as his eyes will be open unlike, for example, a kitten. His experiences in the womb will have already begun to shape his behavior and development. Basic bodily functions will be apparent from birth as the newborn has mechanisms to keep his body systems in balance. Infants will sleep a lot sometimes about sixteen hours per day but as they grow they will require less sleep.

One of the first basic behaviors is sucking. This is considered the foundation of survival. This is a behavioral pattern that he must perform precisely. An infant comes into the world almost devoid of behavioral dispositions and learning and experience are the manner in which he develops his own personality.

There is always interest in the science of the newborn. As he begins life virtually helpless and learns to deal with his new environment many interesting studies have been made on this infant development. We need to think about the newborn before he arrived at birth and how his world changed and his life began.

He will show signs of reflexes that are stimulated by certain stimuli. Closing his eyes under bright lights is one of the first to be noticed. Sometimes when a baby's palms are pressed he will begin sucking and this is an example of the reflex of an infant and a sign of development. He will also have the tendency to root toward any object that will stimulate the corners of his mouth. The grasping reflex will become apparent also as he grasps a finger of another person. He will also thrust out his arms in an embracing movement. He will have a type of stepping motion with his legs as he grows those first few days and weeks.

He will show signs of sensory capabilities and develop the ability to think and to learn. He will develop vision and will have the ability to focus on a person or an object. He will show that he can hear also and will look toward sounds. Very little is know about an infant's sense of taste but he will definitely react to strong odors by turning away from the odor. As he grows he will notice movement, patterns and also brightness. He will be able to respond very early to movement.

It will fully depend on the individual infant as some infants will be more active than others. Newborns also differ in their irritability as some are very peaceful and content and others seem to cry a lot. Some babies like to be cuddled and others seem to dislike handling and cuddling.

Even at the point of infancy a child's personality for his later years in life will be developing.

As he grows you will notice a difference in his physical growth and also his motor development. A baby will learn to control the movements of his shoulders before he can direct his fingers or his arms. He will also gain control over his upper leg before he can manage to control his lower leg of his left foot. The movement and motor ability of a baby will slowly become more controlled and complex in progression from head to toe. Even long before he can walk he will make complicated movements of his arms and his legs

There is also a stage of growth during infancy which has been called differentiation and integration. Differentiation means that an infant's abilities becomes increasingly distinct and specific. He will gain more and more mastery of movement. As he grows his movements will become more specific. He will learn to respond to specific noises and voices. This will form his infant language, which is very complex. Growth progresses from the center of the body toward the periphery. Movement will seem to be traced from a baby's arm as he becomes more and more accurate in reaching out on a finger or an object.

He will at one point seem to cry less as he becomes more interested in sounds and in making his own sounds. He will pay more attention to what is happening around him. He will also start to have more visual involvement in the world around him. He will begin to show signs of boredom or habituation when you might show the same rattler over and over to him. He may show interest in the sound and the sight of a new object as he grows day by day. He will learn to grasp an object such as a rattler in his hand and really hold it tightly. He will reach out and want to hold an object as he grows.

During this time of infancy his body will be changing and there will be many patterns of infant growth and development that will present a profile of his own. His body will be growing, his senses will become stronger and his personality will be developing. He will spend a good deal of time during those first three months just eating, crying and sleeping. A parent can see small but steady changes as they days go by as they see that the infant seems to notice his own world. Of course the time each infant spends sleeping or crying will greatly differ from one child to another and it is very hard to compare one to another. During the first few weeks he will develop patterns of crying and sleeping as this will change by probably twelve weeks. He will also not require as many feedings and will drink more at the lesser feedings than those first few days and weeks.

You will be able to tell the progress of his growth by a series of interactions. As his body grows and he becomes larger, so the functions and structures of his body will become more and more complex. Never in his life will he grow as fast as when he is an infant than at any other time after his birth.

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