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Part II. Chapter Five . The First Two Years: Infant and Toddlers. Body Changes Brain Development Senses and Motor Skills Public Health Measures. “Adults don’t change much in a year or two.

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Part ii l.jpg

Part II

Chapter Five

The First Two Years: Infant and Toddlers

Body Changes

Brain Development

Senses and Motor Skills

Public Health Measures

Prepared by Madeleine Lacefield Tattoon, M.A.


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“Adults don’t change much in a year or two.

Their hair might grow longer, grayer, or thinner; they might be a little fatter; or they might learn something new.

But if you saw friends you hadn’t seem for two years, you’d recognize them immediately.”


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  • “By contrast, if you cared for newborn 24 hours a day for a month, went away for two years, and then came back,you might not recognized him or her, because the baby would have quadrupled in weight, grown taller by more than a foot, and sprouted a new head of hair.

  • Behavior would have changed, too. Not much crying, but some laughter and fear—including of you.”


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“A year or two is not much compared with the 75 or so years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”


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Biosocial Development years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”


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Body Changes years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

  • In infancy

    • growth is fast

    • neglect can be severe

    • gain needs to be monitored

    • health check-up need to include

      • height, weight and head circumference


Body size l.jpg
Body Size years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

  • rapid growth

    • double their birth weight by the 4th month and triple by the 1st birthday

    • physical growth slows in the 2nd year

    • by 24 months weight is about 30 lbs, height about 32”-36”

  • these numbers are “norms”


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Body Size years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

  • “norms”

    • an average or standard for a particular population

  • “particular population”

    • a representative sample of North American infants

  • “percentiles”

    • a number that is midway between 0 and 100, with ½ the children above it and ½ below it


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Body Size years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

  • Weight increase in the early months is fat, providing insulation for warmth and nourishment

  • Nourishment keeps the brain growing, if teething or illness interfere with eating

  • When nutrition is temporarily inadequate, the body stops growing but not the brain

    • this is known as a phenomenon called “head-sparing”


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Sleep years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

  • Infants sleep about 17 hours or more a day

  • Regular and ample sleep correlates with normal brain maturation, learning, emotional regulation, and psychological adjustment in school and within the family


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Sleep years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

  • Over the first month the amount of time spent in each type or stage of sleep changes

  • Newborns dream a lot, or at least they have a high proportion of “REM sleep”

  • REM sleep

    • rapid eye movement sleep is a stage of sleep characterized by flickering eyes behind closed lids, dreaming, and rapid brain waves


  • Sleep12 l.jpg
    Sleep years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Sleep Patterns can be…

      • affected by birth order

        • first born typically receive more attention

      • diet

        • parents might respond to predawn cries with food, and/or play (babies learn to wake up night after night)

      • child-rearing practices

        • “Where should infants sleep?”

          • co-sleeping or bed-sharing

      • brain maturation


    Brain development l.jpg
    Brain Development years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • the newborn’s skull is disproportionately large

    • large enough to hold the brain, which at birth is 25% of the adult brain

    • the neonate’s body is typically 5% of the adult weight

    • by age 2 the brain is almost 75% of the adult brain weight

    • the child’s total body weight is only about 20% of its adult weight


    Basic brain structures l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Neurons are one of the billions of nerve cells in the central nervous system, especially the brain.

    • Located in the brain or in the brain stem

      • the region that controls automatic responses, I.e., heartbeat, breathing, temperature, and arousal

    • 70% of the neurons are in the cortex


    Basic brain structures15 l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • The cortex is crucial for humans…

      • 80% of the human brain materials in the cortex

      • in other mammals the cortex is proportionally smaller, and non-mammals have no cortex

      • most thinking, feeling, and sensing take place in the cortex, although other parts of the brain join in.


    Basic brain structures16 l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Areas of the cortex specialize in particular functions:

      • visual

      • auditory

      • an area dedicated to the sense of touch for each body part

      • regional specialization within the cortex occurs not only for motor skills and senses but also for aspects of cognition


    Basic brain structures17 l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Between brain areas, neurons are connected to other neurons by intricate networks of nerve fibers called axons and dendrites

      • a neuron has a single axon and numerous dendrites, which spread out like the branches of a tree

      • axons and neurons meet the dendrites of other neurons at intersections called synapses which are critical communication links within the brain


    Basic brain structures18 l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”


    Basic brain structures19 l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Transient Exuberance and Pruning

      • The fivefold increase in dendrites in the cortex occurs in the 24 months after birth, with about 100 trillion synapses being present at age 2

      • The expanded growth is followed by pruning in which unused neurons and misconnected dendrites atrophy and die

      • Synapses, dendrites, and even neurons continue to form and die throughout life, though more rapidly in infancy than at any other time


    Basic brain structures20 l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Experience Shapes the Brain

      • brain structure and growth depends on genes and experiences

      • some dendrites wither away because they are underused; no experiences have caused them to send a message to the axons of other neurons.


    Basic brain structures21 l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Stress and the Brain

      • the role of experience in brain development begins when the brain produces cortisol and other hormones in response to stress, which happen throughout life


    Basic brain structures22 l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Experience-expectant refers to brain functions that require certain basic common experiences, which an infant can be expected to have in order to develop normally

    • Experience-dependent refers to brain functions that depend on particular, variable experience and that therefore may or may not develop in a particular infant


    Basic brain structures23 l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Basic, common experiences must happen for normal brain maturation to occur

    • in contrast, dependent experiences might happen. Because of them, one brain differs from another

    • experience varies; language babies hear or how their mothers reacts to frustration

    • all people are similar, but each person is unique, because of early experiences


    Basic brain structures24 l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • The last part of the brain to mature is the prefrontal cortex

      • The area for anticipation, planning, and impulse control

      • Virtually inactive in early infancy

      • Gradually becomes more efficient over the years of childhood and adolescence


    Basic brain structures25 l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Implications for Caregivers

      • Early brain growth is rapid and reflects experience…

        • caressing a newborn,

        • talking to a preverbal infant

        • showing affection

      • …are essential to develop that person’s full potential


    Basic brain structures26 l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    The human brain is designed to grow and adapt

    • some plasticity is retained throughout life

    • the brain protects itself from overstimulation

    • babies adjust to understimulation


    Basic brain structures27 l.jpg
    Basic Brain Structures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • THINK LIKE A SCIENTIST

      • Plasticity and Orphans


    Senses and motor skills l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Sensorimotor stage

      • cognition develops from the senses and motor skills

      • depends on sensory experiences and early movement

    • within hours of birth vital organs are functioning, assessing basic senses and motor responses


    Sensation and perception l.jpg
    Sensation and Perception years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • All the senses function at birth

      • open eyes, sensitive ears, and responsive noses, tongues, and skin

    • Very young babies attend to everything

      • Infants don’t focus on anything in particular

      • To about age one taste is the primary way humans learn about objects


    Sensation and perception30 l.jpg
    Sensation and Perception years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Sensation is the response of a sensory system…

      • eyes, ears, skin, tongue, nose

    • …when it detects a stimulus


    Sensation and perception31 l.jpg
    Sensation and Perception years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Perception is the mental processing of sensory information…

      • the brain notices and processes a sensation…

    • when the brain interprets a sensation…

    • Infant’s brains are attuned to experiences that are repeated, striving to make sense of them


    Senses and motor skills32 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Hearing

      • Hearing is acute at birth

      • Certain sounds trigger reflexes

      • Sudden noises startle newborns

      • Rhythmic sounds soothe them and put them to sleep


    Senses and motor skills33 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Seeing

      • At birth vision is the least mature

      • The infant eyes are sensitive to bright light even though the eyes open in mid-pregnancy

      • Newborns are “legally blind” they can only see objects 4” – 30” away


    Senses and motor skills34 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Seeing

      • At two months infants look more intensely at faces and often smile

      • At three months infants look more closely at the eyes and mouth

    • The ability to focus the two eyes in a coordinated manner in order to see one image is known as binocular vision


    Senses and motor skills35 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Tasting, Smelling and Touching


    Senses and motor skills36 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Tasting, Smelling and Touching

      • At birth the senses of taste, smell and touch function and rapidly adapt to the social world

      • As infants learn their caregiver’s smell and touch (handling) they relax and cuddle

      • Over time infants become responsive to whose touch it is and what it communicates


    Senses and motor skills37 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Early sensation seems to have two goals:

      • Social interaction

        • To respond to familiar caregivers

      • Comfort

        • To be soothed amid the disturbances of infant life


    Senses and motor skills38 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Motor Skill is the learned ability to move some part of the body, from a large leap to a flicker of the eyelid.

      (


    Senses and motor skills39 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Newborns have many reflexes, some of which disappear with maturation (a reflex is an involuntary response to a particular stimulus


    Senses and motor skills40 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Reflexes

      • three sets are critical for survival

        • that maintain oxygen supply

        • that maintain constant body temperature

        • that manage feeding


    Senses and motor skills41 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Gross Motor Skills are physical abilities involving large body movements (gross meaning “big”)

      • walking

      • jumping

    • Walking progress

      • from reflexive,

      • to hesitant

      • to adult-supported stepping

      • to a smooth coordinated gait


    Senses and motor skills42 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Gross Motor Skills

      • Three factors combine to allow toddlers to walk

        • muscle strength

        • brain maturation within the motor cortex

        • practices


    Senses and motor skills43 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Fine Motor Skills are physical abilities involving small body movements, especially of the hands and fingers (fine in this text means “small”)

      • drawing

      • picking up a coin


    Senses and motor skills44 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Ethnic Variation

      • healthy infants develop skills in the same sequence

      • they vary in the age at which they acquire them


    Senses and motor skills45 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”


    Senses and motor skills46 l.jpg
    Senses and Motor Skills years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Genes are only a small part of most ethnic differences

    • Cultural patterns of child rearing can affect sensation, perception, and motor skills


    Public health measures l.jpg
    Public Health Measures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • 8 billion children were born between 1950 – 2005

    • 2 billion died before age 5

      • Deaths could be twice this if not for:

        • Child care

        • Preventive care – immunization

        • Clean water

        • Adequate nutrition

        • Medial treatment, etc.


    Public health measures48 l.jpg
    Public Health Measures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Immunization is a process that stimulates the body’s immune system to defend against attack by a particular contagious disease (immunization acquired either naturally, by having the disease or though vaccination)


    Public health measures49 l.jpg
    Public Health Measures years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

      • die unexpectedly in their sleep

      • No apparent cause of death

      • 1990 in the U.S., 5000 babies died of SIDS, 1 in 800


    Issues and applicatons l.jpg
    ISSUES AND APPLICATONS years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    Back to Sleep


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    Nutrition years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Breast is Best

      • Good nutrition starts with mother’s milk

        • Colostrum, a thick, high-calorie fluid secreted by the woman’s breast at the birth of a child.

        • About 3 days later the breast begins to produce milk

        • Breast fed babies are less likely to get sick


    Nutrition52 l.jpg
    Nutrition years of the average life span. However, in two years newborns reach half their adult height, talk in sentences, and express almost every emotion—not just joy and fear but also love, jealousy, and shame.”

    • Malnutrition

      • protein-calorie malnutrition is a condition in which a person does not consume sufficient food of any kind

      • the deprivation can result in several illnesses, severe weight loss, and sometimes death

      • to measure a child’s nutritional status, compare weight and height with the "norms"


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