Sunday, December 31, 2006

Stages of Infancy

INFANCY

Infancy is the period of time in which babies are totally dependent on parents and care givers for their protection and support. Consistent, adequate, gentle care will encourage the infant to develop the capacity to trust people and to get along with others, as well feel good about himself or herself. This is all vital.


BIRTH TO 3 or 4 MONTHS

VITAL:
Physical care.
Bonding to mother - extremely important

Visual stimulation.
Gentle physical handling.

All these things help to develop the baby's central nervous system!

Emotional development:
Attachment of baby to adults is taking place.
Early trust develops.
Eating and sleeping schedules vary greatly; don't force it.
By 4 months, infants can be comforted when unhappy.

Social development:
Turns head toward familiar voice.
Will begin to smile when talked with or held.
By two months - shows excitement and pleasure when held.
Visually attracted to bright colors and contrasts.
By two months, may gurgle to get attention.
Appears to enjoy being held.


Physical development:
By 6-8 weeks can move head from side to side.
Can lift head when placed on tummy by about 6 weeks.
Begins to notice hands by around 6 weeks.
May roll over by 3-4 months.

Language and intellectual development:
Crying is the main source of communication: wet, hungry, frightened, uncomfortable, sick, or lonely. There are diffentent types of cries for parents to learn totell apart.
Make gurgle throaty sounds by 4 months.


WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
Talk to baby - This is vital, from the day of birth onward. Babies need to hear language in order to speak and read later on! The brain won't work well in language processing, otherwise.

Hold baby face to face, especially during the first month, when singing or talking.
Be flexible about eating and sleeping routines.
Hold baby during feeding times.
Take baby for walks and talk about the sounds, trees, etc.
Have playtime with baby: peek-a-boo, read stories, talk and touch body parts - nose, chin, hand, toes.
Shake a rattle and slowly move it so baby follows with their eyes.


TOYS FOR BABIES
Music Box
Crib Mobile
Soft Cloth Ball
Teething Toys
Crib Mirror, unbreakable
Busy Box
Ceiling Posters
Large Plastic Keys, Balls, Rings
Rattle


4 TO 8 MONTHS

Focus for this age:
Responsive physical care.
A close relationship with a special adult.
A safe play environment.

Emotional development:
Attachment of baby to adults occurs.
Early trust develops.
Eating and sleeping schedules becoming more regular.
Enjoys playing peek-a-boo and begins to grab at blanket.
Uses cry to call for attention, not always a distress call.

Social development:
Enjoys being held.
Smiles to show pleasure.
Less smiling around strangers by 8 months.

Physical development:
Can roll over.
Sits with support, then alone by 8 months.
Begins to push feet against floor or lap and then bounces.
Can see an object, then opens hand to grasp it.
Passes toys from hand to hand.

Language and intellectual development:
Babbles and coos.
Looks when name is called.
Imitates sounds.
Repeats interesting actions.
Continues to develop eye-hand coordination.

WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
Talk to baby often.
Read to baby daily.
Allow floor time for wiggling, and eventually, crawling.
Put toys just out of reach.
Place objects in boxes or cans with lids to make noise.
Play peek-a-boo and hide toys under a blanket or diaper.
Hold baby during reading or feeding times.
Establish routines in baby's daily life - bathing, meals and snacks, naps, bedtime.
Imitate baby's sounds.
Freeze a wet washcloth for baby to teethe on and mouth.
Talk calmly to a crying baby.
Do not shake or toss baby in the air.
Hold baby close to a mirror and talk about baby's face.

TOYS FOR BABIES
Music Box
Small Toys To Grasp
Teething Toys
Balls
Push and Pull Toys
Rattles
Books
Busy Box or Other Noisy Toy

8 TO 14 MONTHS

Focus for this age:
Mobility increases and infant begins to walk.
Infant can make choices.
Language use and understanding increases.

Emotional development:
Strong attachment to adults.
Fears can be shown, especially to things such as Santa, clowns, fast moving objects, large dogs.
Infant can tantrum when frustrated.

Social development:
Smiles easily and shows enjoyment of people.
Demonstrates signs of independence.
Beginning of understanding that some behaviors are acceptable and some are not.
Watches people and their activities.
Prefers to be with others while playing.

Physical development:
Enjoys crawling, walking around furniture, & standing.
Can pick up tiny objects.
Very oral - everything goes in mouth.
Develops arm and hand control.
Enjoys taking off clothes, climbing up and onto furniture, & crawling up stairs.

Language and intellectual development:
Uses names of familiar objects and people.
Loves to imitate actions of others.
Connects words to objects.
Looks at books and chooses them.
May scribble randomly.

WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
Show pleasure in baby' abilities - This is vital.
Baby proof the home: cover electrical outlets, put away breakables, check toxicity of plants.
Help baby practice pulling up, walking, and climbing.
Watch for small objects that baby can choke on and remove from play area.
Read to baby using simple books.
Play simple games.
Take walks together.
Name objects you see.
Encourage baby to play games of imitation: sounds, words, pointing, body parts.

TOYS FOR BABIES
Small Riding Toys
Push & Pull Toys
Balls
Stacking or Nesting Toys
Pictures, Books, Simple Puzzles
Crayons, with supervision
Busy Boxes
Teething Toys
Shape Boxes or Balls


See your family pediatrician for any questions or concerns!

Have a healthy baby!

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