From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
is the term used to refer to the very young offspring
The term infant
derives from the Latin
, meaning "unable to speak." It is typically applied to children between the ages of 1 month and 12 months . However, definitions vary between birth and 3 years of age.
Approximate outline of development periods in child development
. Infancy marked in green at left.
"Infant" is also a legal term referring to any child under the age of legal adulthood.
Newborn and neonate
In general contexts, a newborn
is an infant who is within hours, days, or up to a few weeks from birth. In medical contexts, newborn or neonate
(from Latin, neonatus
, newborn) refers to an infant in the first 28 days of life (less than a month old).
The term "newborn" includes premature
infants, postmature infants and full term
Infant mortality is the death of an infant in the first year of life. Major causes of infant mortality include dehydration
, congenital malformation and SIDS
indicator is recognized as a very important measure of the level of health care in a country because it is directly linked with the health
status of infants, children, and pregnant women as well as access to medical care, socioeconomic conditions, and public health
Newborn infant, just seconds after delivery.
A newborn's shoulders and hips are narrow, the abdomen protrudes slightly, and the arms and legs are relatively short. In the developed world, the average birth weight
of a full-term newborn is approximately 7 ½ lbs.(3.2 kg), but is typically in the range of 5.5–10 pounds (2.7–4.6 kg). The average total body length is 14–20 inches (35.6–50.8 cm), although premature newborns may be much smaller. The Apgar score
is a measure of a newborn's transition from the uterus
during the first minutes of life.
A newborn's head is very large in proportion to the rest of the body, and the cranium
is enormous relative to his or her face. While the adult human skull is about 1/8 of the total body length, the newborn's is about 1/4. At birth, many regions of the newborn's skull have not yet been converted to bone, leaving "soft spots" known as fontanels
. .^ Position refers to location-on the right or left side of the mother-and the orientation-anterior [towards the mother's front], posterior [toward the mother's back], or transverse [lying crosswise]-of a given part of the baby, specifically, the occiput [back of the head], brow, chin, shoulder, or sacrum [the bone at the end of the spinal column].
^ For example, if the baby’s position is left occipitoanterior, the back of the head is on the left , pointing toward his mother’s front.
^ Warn the child about the anterior fontanel [the soft, boneless spot at the top of the baby's head], but don’t be unduly alarmed if he or she touches it; it’s protected by a firm membrane.
Later in the child's life, these bones will fuse together in a natural process. A protein called noggin
is responsible for the delay in an infant's skull fusion.
and birth, the infant's skull changes shape to fit through the birth canal
, sometimes causing the child to be born with a misshapen or elongated head. .^ When the cord falls off, usually within ten days to two weeks after the baby’s birth, it is not unusual for a few drops of blood to be left on the navel.
^ The gap should be back to the normal half an inch within a week or so.
Special exercises sometimes advised by physicians
may assist the process.
Some newborns have a fine, downy body hair called lanugo
. It may be particularly noticeable on the back, shoulders, forehead, ears and face of premature infants. Lanugo disappears within a few weeks. Infants may be born with full heads of hair; others, particularly white
infants, may have very fine hair or may even be bald. Amongst fair-skinned parents, this fine hair may be blond, even if the parents are not. The scalp
may also be temporarily bruised
or swollen, especially in hairless newborns, and the area around the eyes may be puffy.
Newborn's digestive tracts, which of course have never been used prior to birth, are filled with a greenish-black, sticky material called meconium
. This has the function of standing in for fecal material and allows the intestines to develop to the point where they can process milk immediately on birth. This material is passed by the child in the first few days.
Immediately after birth, a newborn's skin is often grayish to dusky blue in color. .^ When the cord falls off, usually within ten days to two weeks after the baby’s birth, it is not unusual for a few drops of blood to be left on the navel.
^ Filed under: Fitness — Baby Original @ 4:53 pm Begin the day of delivery [as soon as you return from the recovery room].
Newborns are wet, covered in streaks of blood, and coated with a white substance known as vernix caseosa
, which is hypothesised to act as an antibacterial
barrier. The newborn may also have Mongolian spots
, various other birthmarks
, or peeling skin, particularly on the wrists, hands, ankles, and feet.
A newborn's genitals
are enlarged and reddened, with male infants having an unusually large scrotum. .^ The tiniest of babies can be incredibly flexible, and you may be able to nurse the baby in the evenings and on the weekends when you are at home and have your caregiver feed the baby bottles of formula or your expressed breast milk.
This is caused by naturally-occurring maternal hormones and is a temporary condition. Females (and even males) may actually discharge milk from their nipples (sometimes called witch's milk
), and/or a bloody or milky-like substance from the vagina. In either case, this is considered normal and will disappear in time.
The umbilical cord
of a newborn is bluish-white in color. After birth, the umbilical cord is normally cut, leaving a 1–2 inch stub. .^ When the cord falls off, usually within ten days to two weeks after the baby’s birth, it is not unusual for a few drops of blood to be left on the navel.
^ If the umbilicus doesn’t dry up in a few days after the cord comes off, an umbilical granuloma may be present.
may apply triple dye to the umbilical stub to prevent infection
, which may temporarily color the stub and surrounding skin purple.
Newborns lose many of the above physical characteristics quickly. Thus prototypical older babies look very different. .^ This may sound like a contradiction for the postpartum period-a time that is often associated with sleepless nights, baby blues, tears, and fatigue.
^ Your baby’s daytime naps may give you some precious time.
^ Even later, when you may not feel the need to sleep every time your baby does, nap time should be for you, not for housework.
Internal physiological changes at birth
Upon its entry to the air-breathing world, without the nutrition and oxygenation from the umbilical cord, the newborn
must begin to adjust to life outside the uterus
The newborn's senses
As an infant's vision develops, he or she may seem preoccupied with watching surrounding objects and people.
Newborns can feel all different sensations, but respond most enthusiastically to soft stroking, cuddling and caressing. Gentle rocking back and forth often calms a crying infant, as do massages and warm baths. Newborns may comfort themselves by sucking their thumb, or a pacifier
. The need to suckle is instinctive (see suction in biology
) and allows newborns to feed.
.^ The “lift” comes from the shoulders and should be straight up, about six inches maximum, face toward ceiling.
While this may not be much, it is all that is needed for the infant to look at the mother’s eyes or areola
. Depth perception
does not develop until the infant is mobile. Generally, a newborn cries when wanting to feed. .^ Even later, when you may not feel the need to sleep every time your baby does, nap time should be for you, not for housework.
^ Even the baby’s sex may be disappointing, and the fact that he or she does nothing but eat, sleep and cry-and monopolize your attention-surely will be.
^ For example, your child’s temperature may have gone up a lot, or he may have suddenly begun to cry and pull at his ear, or he may just begin to vomit violently.
Usually anything that is shiny, has sharp contrasting colors, or has complex patterns will catch an infant's eye. However, the newborn has a preference for looking at other human faces above all else. (see also: infant metaphysics and infant vision
While still inside the mother, the infant could hear many internal noises, such as the mother's heartbeat
, as well as many external noises including human voices, music and most other sounds. Therefore, although a newborn's ears may have some catarrh
and fluid, he or she can hear sound from before birth. Newborns usually respond to a female voice over a male voice. This may explain why people will unknowingly raise the pitch of their voice when talking to newborns (this voice change is called motherese
). The sound of other human voices, especially the mother's, can have a calming or soothing effect on the newborn. Conversely, loud or sudden noises will startle and scare a newborn. Newborns have been shown to prefer sounds that were a regular feature of their prenatal environment, for example, the theme tune of a television programme that their mother watched regularly.
Newborns can respond to different tastes, including sweet, sour, bitter, and salty substances, with a preference toward sweets. It has been shown that neonates show a preference for the smell of foods that their mother ate regularly.
A newborn has a developed sense of smell at birth, and within the first week of life can already distinguish the differences between the mother's own breast milk
and the breast milk of another female.
Care and feeding
Infants cry as a form of basic instinctive communication. A crying infant may be trying to express a variety of feelings including hunger, discomfort, overstimulation, boredom, wanting something, or loneliness.
is the recommended method of feeding by all major infant health organizations.
If breastfeeding is not possible or desired, bottle feeding is done with expressed breast-milk or with infant formula
. Infants are born with a sucking reflex allowing them to extract the milk from the nipples
of the breasts or the nipple of the baby bottle
, as well as an instinctive behavior known as rooting
with which they seek out the nipple. Sometimes a wet nurse
is hired to feed the infant, although this is rare, especially in developed countries.
As infants grow, food supplements are added. Many parents choose commercial, ready-made baby foods
to supplement breast milk or formula for the child, while others adapt their usual meals for the dietary needs of their child. Whole cow's milk
can be used at one year, but lower-fat milk should not be provided until the child is 2 to 3 years old.
Until they are toilet-trained, infants in industrialized countries wear diapers
. Diapers are usually changed by a parent or adult caregiver. Children need more sleep than adults—up to 18 hours for newborn babies, with a declining rate as the child ages. Until babies learn to walk, they are carried in the arms, held in slings or baby carriers, or transported in baby carriages or strollers. Most industrialized countries have laws requiring child safety seats
for infants in motor vehicles.
Common care issues
Attachment theory is primarily an evolutionary
theory whereby the infant or child seeks proximity
to a specified attachment figure
in situations of alarm or distress, for the purpose of survival.
The forming of attachments is considered to be the foundation of the infant/child's capacity to form and conduct relationships throughout life. Attachment is not the same as love and/or affection although they often go together. Attachment and attachment behaviors
tend to develop between the age of 6 months and 3 years. Infants become attached
to adults who are sensitive and responsive in social interactions
with the infant, and who remain as consistent caregivers for some time. Parental responses lead to the development of patterns of attachment which in turn lead to 'internal working models' which will guide the individual's feelings, thoughts, and expectations in later relationships.
There are a number of attachment 'styles'
namely 'secure', 'anxious-ambivalent', 'anxious-avoidant', (all 'organized') and 'disorganized', some of which are more problematic than others. A lack of attachment or a seriously disrupted capacity for attachment could potentially amount to serious disorders.
- Simkin, Penny; et al. (1992 (late 1991)). Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide. Meadowbook Press. ISBN 0-88166-177-5.
- ^ ""Infant"". Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Merriam-Webster. http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=infant. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
- ^ ""Neonate"". Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Merriam-Webster. http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=neonate. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
- ^ Garrett, Eilidh (2007). Infant Mortality: A Continuing Social Problem. Ashgate Pub Co. ISBN 0754645932.
- ^ Hertz,, E; Hebert JR, Landon J. (July 1994). "Social and environmental factors and life expectancy, infant mortality, and maternal mortality rates: results of a cross-national comparison". Soc Sci Med. 39 (1): 105–14. doi:10.1016/0277-9536(94)90170-8. PMID 8066481.
- ^ "The relationship between socioeconomic factors and maternal and infant health programs in 13 Argentine provinces" (in Spanish). Rev Panam Salud Publica 21 (4): 223–30. April 2007. PMID 17612466.
- ^ Warren SM; Brunet LJ, Harland RM, Economides AN, Longaker MT (2003-04-10). "The BMP antagonist noggin regulates cranial suture fusion". Nature 422 (6932): 625–9. doi:10.1038/nature01545. PMID 12687003.
- ^ Gartner LM; Morton J, Lawrence RA, Naylor AJ, O'Hare D, Schanler RJ, Eidelman AI, etal (February 2005). "Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk". Pediatrics 115 (2): 496–506. doi:10.1542/peds.2004-2491. PMID 15687461.
- ^ Salkind, Neil (2006). Encyclopedia of Human Development. SAGE Publication. ISBN 1412904757.
- ^ Tronick, Morelli, & Ivey, 1992, p.568. "Until recently, scientific accounts ... of the infant's early social experiences converged on the view that the infant progresses from a primary relationship with one individual... to relationships with a growing number of people... This is an epigenetic, hierarchical view of social development. We have labeled this dominant view the continuous care and contact model (CCC...). The CCC model developed from the writings of Spitz..., Bowlby..., and Provence and Lipton... on institutionalized children and is represented in the psychological views of Bowlby...[and others]. Common to the different conceptual frameworks is the belief that parenting practices and the infant's capacity for social engagement are biologically based and conform to a prototypical form. Supporters of the CCC model generally recognize that the infant and caregiver are able to adjust to a range of conditions, but they consider the adjustments observed to reflect biological variation. However, more extreme views (e.g., maternal bonding) consider certain variants as nonadaptive and as compromising the child's psychological development. Bowlby's concept of monotropism is an exemplar of the CCC perspective..." (Tronick, Morelli, & Ivey, 1992, p. 568).
- ^ Bretherton,I. and Munholland,K., A. Internal Working Models in Attachment Relationships: A Construct Revisited. Handbook of Attachment:Theory, Research and Clinical Applications 1999eds Cassidy,J. and Shaver, P., R. Guilford press ISBN 1-57230-087-6