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Babyhood continues from infancy to the second year. It is the true foundation age with rapid growth and development.
During babyhood, changes in the over-all size of the child’s body are more rapid than any other time after birth. The baby measures between 23 and 24 inches at four months, by the end of one year the baby measures between 28 and 30 inches and between 32 and 34 inches at two years.
During the first year, weight changes are more than height changes. At four months the babies weight will double their birth weight and triple it at 1 year. At one year, babies weigh, on the average, three times as much as they did at birth, or approx-imately 10 kilograms. Increase in weight during babyhood comes mainly from an increase in fat tissue.
Growth of the head slows down in babyhood while the trunk and limb growth increases. Thus, the baby gradually becomes less top-heavy and appears more slender and less chubby by the end of babyhood.
The fusion of bones increases during babyhood. Calcification begins in the early part of the first year but is not completed until puberty. The soft spot on the skull (tontanelle) will be closed by the end of two years.
Muscle fibers are present at birth but in very under developed forms. They grow slowly during babyhood and are weak. The fat tissue develops rapidly during babyhood due partly to the high fat content of milk.
Babies begin to form characteristic body builds from during their second year of life. The three most common forms of body build are ectomorphic, which tends to be long and slender, endomorphic, which tends to be round and fat, and mesomorphic which tends to be heavy, hard and rectangular.
By the end of one year the baby has four to six temporary teeth and sixteen by the age of two. The teeth present in the front will emerge first and the molars which are situated at the back appears last.
The brain weight is one-eighth of the baby’s total weight at birth. During the first 2 years, brain weight is gained and this leads to the baby’s top heavy appearance. The cerebellum and the cerebrum triple its weight in one year. Immature cells, present at birth, con-tinue to develop after birth but rela-tively few new cells are formed.
By three months, the eye muscles are well developed and babies can see things clearly. They can also see colours. Hearing develops rapidly during this stage. Smell and taste are improved during babyhood. Babies are highly responsive to all skin stim-uli because all sense organs relating to touch, pressure, pain, and temperature are present in well-developed forms.
After the fast growth spurt in infancy, the growth rate of the baby is slow. Motor development means the ability to control movement of several parts of the body through coordinated movement of mus-cles and limb. The sequences of postural control and locomotion among babies as reported by Schiamberg are as follows
In this sequence of development it can noted that the development proceeds from head to foot as shown in figure 6
The baby begins to communicate with others by gestures and also develops close relation with care givers like mother and father. At about five weeks of age, the baby smiles in response to patting. By the sec-ond month it recognizes his/her mother and by the third month the baby will turn its head in response to human voice. Once the babies get attached to their mother they show fear on separation.
Until use of language begins, it is emo-tions that make adults know the needs of baby. As age increases, emotions become less diffused and more specific and differ-entiated in relation to cause, and they can be aroused by a wide variety of stimuli. It is shown in figure 7
According to Piaget’s theory babyhood is the “sensory motor” stage. Babies under-stand the permanence of objects and peo-ple. They visually follow the displacement of objects and begin to use instruments and tools. They also understand discipline and what behaviour is appropriate and in appropriate. They also understand the con-cepts of words like “please” and “thank you”.
Language development is an important means of becoming independent for the baby. It gives him a new power to commu-nicate their feeling to others.
· Before the baby speaks words, they show the ability to produce vowel and consonants sounds.
· By the third month the baby coos and babbles before he/she speaks words. These two along with gestures are known as pre -speech forms.
· By six months he/she produces most of the vowels and few consonants sounds.
Cooing – quick burst of squealing noise.
Babbling – production of inartic-ulate meaningless speech sounds which are sequences of vowels and consonants such as da-da-da.
Babyhood is the time when the fundamen-tal physiological patterns of eating, sleep-ing and elimination should be established, even though the habit formation may not be completed when babyhood ends.
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