heaven fro babies

The changes that occur in a child’s development in the first few years of life are crucial. Children’s development as they begin to smile, laugh, sit, crawl, babble and talk are the measure to the parents/caregivers.  They acquire important skills to get along with others such as turn-taking, sharing and following instructions, as well as skills that will help them academically such as drawing, counting, reading, and writing.

Early child development usually follows a sequence, as the child needs to master one skill before he can acquire the next, but all children develop at their own rate. At times, a child may take a long time to master a new skill; at other times ,they may seem to skip a skill in the expected sequence in his speed of development. Careful observation, assessment and communication from the parents is imperative; professionals can draw a clear picture of the child within their setting.

Growth

An indicator of healthy development is physical growth. Infants grow at an astounding rate. By the age of two, a child will have more than tripled his birth weight and have reached about half of his adult height. His bones, that were somewhat flexible at birth, harden and become better able to support his weight. The bones of his skull also harden and fuse. The soft spots on his head disappear by 18 months.

  • Each individual child will have a growth trajectory” that is right for him. His growth curve is  a combination of factors including:
    • Cultural background
    • Genetic potential
    • Environmental inputs such as nutrition, exercise and social stimulation.
  • A child’s growth is measured using three parameters:
    • Weight
    • Height
    • Head circumference

Infants grow quickly and put some of their weight gain into body fat, giving them the characteristic infant look. As they continue to grow and increase their motor skills, fat is gradually replaced by muscle.

Height also increases rapidly. During the first four months infants grow about 14 cm (6 inches). The increase in height also begins to slow. By the age of two, children have reached about half of their adult height.

At birth, most of the infant’s body mass is in his head, but over the next two years his body growth catches up giving him more adult-like proportions. His head also continues to grow and is measured by head circumference.

Key Recommendations

  • Infant is breastfed exclusively for 6 months and continues to breastfeed for up to 2 years.
  • Exclusively breastfed infant receives a Vitamin D supplement daily up to one year
  • Formula is prepared and stored following preparation and storage guidelines
  • Expressed breastmilk is stored following storage guidelines
    • Expressed breastmilk or formula is not heated in microwave ovens
    • Solids or sweetened substances are not added to the infant’s bottle (e.g. cereal or corn syrup)
  • Complementary foods are introduced when the infant reaches 6 months of age, with particular attention to iron-rich foods (e.g., iron-fortified cereal, meat, fish, cooked egg yolk, well-cooked legumes, or tofu)
  • A variety of age appropriate foods are offered to the infant from 6 months of age.

 

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