Infant Development: Physical Development Of Infants

The physical development of infants is dependent on hereditary traits, environmental factors and nutritional inputs. The abnormalities present in a baby at birth can also have an effect on the growth and development. Adequate nutrition, as well as good physical and mental health, is essential for the optimum growth of the infant.

In the initial days after birth some weight loss is observed in the newborns. In the first week, they may lose between 5% and 7% of their original weight at birth. The weight loss is more apparent in breastfeeding babies. The lost weight is typically regained within the next one or two weeks as the quantity of feeds increase. Babies gain weight rapidly after this, acquiring on the average, one ounce of weight everyday in the first two months of life. After this period, they gain about one pound every month. At five months, most babies would have doubled their birth weight, and tripling it, as they complete their first year of life, is considered a marker of optimum physical development. The length of the baby also increases correspondingly, with a 30% increase at five months, and over 50%, by the end of the first year.

The rate of growth of different organ systems may vary at different ages. After an initial spurt of growth soon after birth, the reproductive system of the child lies dormant till the pre-pubertal growth spurt. On the other hand, the brain develops rapidly in the first year, reaching three fourths of its final adult size by the end of it. The kidneys are too mature during the first year and reach the adult functioning level as the baby completes its first year of life.

The teething starts around the middle of the first year, with more often the lower incisors or front teeth making their appearance between the 5th and 9th months. The incisors on the upper jaw soon follow, and by the end of the first year, most babies have around 2- 4 teeth. It is quite normal for some babies to cut their upper incisors before the lower ones appear.

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Yasser Elnahas

MD, PHD, Professor Of CardioVascular Surgery
Dr. Yasser Elnahas, Is an associate Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery. Dr. Elnahas was trained as a fellow At Texas Heart Institute And Mayo Clinic Foundation.Dr. Elnahas is dedicated to educating the general public about different disease conditions and simplifying the medical knowledge in an easy to understand terminology.

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