Principles Of Growth and Development
The first year is full of amazing milestones for a baby. The baby will go from being totally dependent to being somewhat independent, or autonomous.

The baby will learn to roll over (both directions), crawl, sit stand, and perhaps even walk!


Growth refers to a change in size.

Development refers to an increase in physical, emotional, social, and cognitive skills.

Both, growth and development are very rapid during the first year. Growth and development during the first year is faster than any other time of their life.

Growth comes in waves, first fast and then it slows down after the first year until puberty, where growth, again, is fast.


Graph Your Information

Using the growth chart calculator, fill in your information from your birth announcement, and click "calculate" to see what your typical growth would have looked like.


Physical development follows 2 different patterns:

1. cephalo-caudal

2. proximal-distal

Cephalo-caudal refers to the growth from head to toe. We see this even before birth, as the head leads in development. Remember....the newborn's head is about 1/4 of the baby's length.

Proximal-distal development is the development that begins close to the core and moves out to the fingers. One has to be able to grasp the cheerio before he can bring it to his mouth!

How much weight should a baby gain during that first year?

Weight gain is the best indicator of general health. There is a slight loss of weight following the birth and then the should consistently gain weight.

1-6 months - about 1-2 pounds a month

6-12 months - about 1 pound a month

Do the Math.....

If your baby weighs 7 pounds 8 ounces at birth; she lost 8 ounces shortly after birth; how much can you expect her to weigh at her first birthday????

In general, a child will triple their weight in the first year.

What about Height?

The average newborn is about 20" long;

The average 1 year old is 30" tall.

There are many factors that influence one's height, such as, genetics, diet, health


Proportion is the size relationship of one thing to another.

The baby's head grows rapidly during the first year due to the swift brain development.

The fontanels (soft spots) will completely close by 18 months.

What about the "SENSES"? Let's look at sight.....

The development of the baby's eyesight is limited during the pregnancy due to the lack of light. The eyes do open and shut before birth....after birth?

at 1 week the baby can focus on objects 7-10 inches away

by 3 1/2 months the baby's sight is about as good as an adults.

At birth, the baby's eyes are not very coordinated and may blink at different times or they may look in two different directions.

What about seeing in color? Babies begin seeing in color by about 2 months old.

Tracking - how the eyes follow a moving object.

depth perception refers to the ability to recognize that an object is not flat. This usually occurs at about 2 months and by 3 months babies prefer 3-dimensional objects.

Eye-hand coordination is the ability to move the hands and fingers precisely in relation to what is seen.

This develops gradually and continues to develop throughout childhood and possibly adulthood.

Examples include coloring, catching a ball, hitting a ball, etc..

Pediatric-Neuro Exam 6 month: Cranial Nerves
LONG REVIEW - "Pounding Bench Toddler" - WHOLE TIME - Melissa & Doug Deluxe Toy


Hearing develops before birth. Babies can distinguish the direction a sound is coming from. Babies respond to is not what is being said, rather it is HOW it is being said.

Tone of voice is very important!

The baby's hearing will be checked at about 6 months.

Hearing is critical for the child to learn their language.

Signs of hearing problems:

1. the baby does not turn in the direction of the sound

2. the baby does not react to loud sounds

3. there is little or no attempt to speak, babble, coo, etc..

Hearing Loss in Children - causes and why early detection is critical

The Sound of Their Own Voice

The first sounds a baby makes are usually very shrill. As the lungs mature and their voice is used, the sound gets softer.

Babies begin to babble at around 3 months.

Physical changes in the throat muscles, tongue, lips, teeth, and vocal cords will alter the sounds the baby makes.

At about 1 year old babies usually begin to talk.

Smell and Taste

During the pregnancy, the baby senses cannot develop due to the water environment they are in.

After birth, taste develops quickly.

Which do you think they prefer??

Yes, like most of us, babies prefer sweet foods.

Babies respond to disagreeable odors as well. They can distinguish their mother's unique "smell" within 10 days after birth.

Teeth and Teething

Teeth actually begin to develop at about the 6th week of pregnancy.

The first set, or primary set are referred to as "baby teeth" and there are 20 of them.

The teeth generally start to erupt (teething) around 6 months. It is possible, but not very common for babies to be born with teeth present. This occurs in about 1 in 2,000 births. These teeth are referred to as natal teeth.

Teething may be painful, as the teeth must break through the gums. This will cause the gums to stretch and tear, which may be painful and cause swelling. As a result, babies may be cranky, restless, wakeful, desire liquids, and may have a cough and/or fever.

It takes about 2-10 days fir each tooth to erupt. If the teething pain is persistent or other serious symptoms occur, call the pediatrician.


What can a parent do to ease the discomfort of teething?

1. biting down seems to soothe the gums, so teething rings help.

2. Cold soothes, so you can chill the teething ring

3. Rub ice, being very careful, on the gums

4. Use commercial medications available but be sure to follow the directions for use

What is the order for teeth to come in?

The order in which the teeth come in is predictable, but the timing is not.

1st - the incisors or the front teeth. The bottom two will usually be the first to erupt. Many times teeth will erupt in pairs.

2. the lateral incisors - the teeth right next to the front or central incisors. You can expect these at about 9 months. The top two will come in first and then the bottom two.

3. the first set of molars will erupt around 13 months, leaving a gap between them and the lateral incisors, leaving room for the canines.

4. Canines (eye teeth) are used for tearing food, so these help the baby eat more textured foods.

5. The second pair of molars come in around the second birthday, hence they are often referred to as the "two year molars"

When do they start to lose these baby teeth?

Children start to lose their teeth at about 6 years old. They will lose them in the same order in which they came in.

By ae 12 or 13 children have usually lost all of their primary teeth.


Motor skills are abilities that depend on the use and control of muscles.

There are 2 types of motor skills:

1. small motor skills or fine motor skills ; grasping, tying shoes

2. Large motor skills or gross motor skills; walking, running, jumping, etc.

One of the first motor skills infants develop is control of the head. At birth, the head is large and heavy, and the neck muscles are weak. By one month, babies placed on their stomach can lift their head slightly, by three months, they can lift their chest.

Let's take a look at physical milestones during the first year....

Big image
As the baby becomes more autonomous, they will discover that the world is full of many

interesting, fascinating things that they want and need to explore.