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Chapter 4:. Infancy: Physical Development. Infant Physical Development:. Cephalocaudal Proximodistal Differentiation. Cephalocaudal Development:. Growth is more rapid in infancy than in any other period after birth.

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chapter 4

Chapter 4:

Infancy: Physical Development

infant physical development
Infant Physical Development:
  • Cephalocaudal
  • Proximodistal
  • Differentiation
cephalocaudal development
Cephalocaudal Development:
  • Growth is more rapid in infancy than in any other period after birth.
  • Growth proceeds from the upper part of the head to the lower parts of the body, called: Cephalocaudal
  • An infant has a strong, well coordinated suck but uncontrolled spindly legs.
  • Control of head, before control of arms; sit before crawling or walking.
proximodistal development
Proximodistal Development:
  • Growth also proceeds from the trunk outward, called: Proximodistal
  • Infants gain control over their trunk and shoulders before they can gain control over their arms, hands, fingers. (and upper hips/legs before feet/toes)
  • As children mature, their physical reactions become less global and more specific.
growth patterns in height weight
Growth Patterns in Height & Weight:
  • Infants double birth weight in: 5 months
  • Infants triple birth weight in:12 months
  • Growth in spurts (95% of the time they are not growing at all! So…….when someone says “he just grew overnight” they are likely correct!)
  • Boys generally reach ½ their adult height by their 2nd birthday, girls by 18 months.
catch up growth
Catch Up Growth:
  • If a child’s growth is slowed due to illness or malnutrition and they finally start to eat again, their rate of growth frequently accelerates to their genetically determined pattern of growth, called: Canalization
infant nutrition
Infant Nutrition:
  • Either breast milk or formula up to 1st year & beyond
  • Solid food by 4-6 months
  • Finger foods by end of a year
  • Cow milk by 9-12 months.
  • No peanut butter until after 2nd year
  • No honey or corn syrup until after 1st year.
breast feeding
Breast Feeding:
  • 70% of women breast feed.
  • 2:5 continue after 6 mo, 1:5 breastfeed longer than 1 year.
  • Has health benefits for mom: lowers risk of breast CA, builds bone strength, helps shrink uterus after delivery.
  • Can transmit HIV and other diseases
  • Can be difficult!
what are the benefits of breast feeding
What are the Benefits of Breast Feeding?
  • Child ill less often (stronger immune system)
  • As infant matures, milk composition changes to meet the infants needs.
  • Less prone diarrhea, constipation & stomachaches.
  • Make easier transition to solid food
  • Higher IQ
  • Resistance to allergies and asthma
  • Reduction in incidence of obesity
  • Reduction in the risk of SIDS
  • Breast fed and bottle fed babies are similar in physical and psychological development in industrial countries. (not so for developing nations, where bottle feeding is disastrous; because of contaminated water, weaker formula, etc.)
development of brain and nervous system
Development of Brain and Nervous System:
  • An infant is born with nearly 100 billion neurons
  • All the neurons we will ever have we are born with.
  • Myelin develops on the axon of the neuron as a child matures
  • As myelin progresses connections between neurons thicken.
  • Neurons develop by proliferation of dendrites and terminal buttons, and through myelination.
growth spurts of the brain
Growth Spurts of the Brain:
  • 1st Spurt: Between 4-5 month of prentatal development (due to formation of neurons)
  • 2nd Spurt: 25th wk of prenatal development to 2 years old (due to proliferation of dendrites and terminal buttons)
what is selective pruning
What is Selective Pruning?
  • As the baby grows, the neurons “prune” called Selective Pruning (use it or lose it!)
  • Neurons that are seldom stimulated are pruned.


7 yrs

15 yrs

motor skill development
Motor Skill Development:

What are motor skills? The activity of the muscles which leads to changes in posture, movement, and the coordination of movement with the senses.

Motor Skills Consist of:

  • Lifting/holding the torso and head.
  • Control of the hands
  • Locomotion
1 lifting holding the torso and head
1. Lifting/Holding the Torso and Head:

Is adaptive in that it prevents suffocation.

  • 1 month: Infants can raise their heads
  • 2 mo: Infant lifts their chest while lying on their stomach
  • 3-6 mo: Infants can hold their head up themselves (with no support)
2 control of hands
2. Control of Hands:

Reflexive at first, then at 4-6 months infants grasp objects successfully

a. Ulnar: (4-6 mo) Holding objects clumsily between their fingers and their palm.

b. Pincer: (9-12 mo) Using the thumb and first finger to pick up tiny objects.

watch a baby feed themselves
Watch a Baby Feed Themselves:
  • They can grasp an object well, but have a hard time putting it in their mouth. (Coordination of motor movement develops gradually)
3 locomotion
3. Locomotion:
  • Movement from one place to another
  • Infants move their bodies in a sequence of steps (though children often skip steps!)

Locomotion Milestones:

a. Roll over both ways: 6 mo

b. Sit up: 7 mo

c. Crawl by: 8-9 mo

d. Creeping: about 1 mo after crawling

3 locomotion cont
3. Locomotion, cont.

Milestones, cont.

e. Standing by 8-9 mo (overlaps with creeping and crawling)

f. Walk with support: 8-9 mo

g. Pull to stand: 10-11 mo

h. Walking by 12-15 mo

i. Climb steps, kick ball, walk backward, jump by 2 years

when an infant begins to walk they are called a
When an Infant Begins to Walk they are Called a:


Toddlers fall frequently because they are bow legged, inexperienced, and top heavy

“like a bowling ball on toothpicks”

  • Maturation (Nature) and Experience (Nurture) play indispensable roles in motor development
sensory perceptual development
Sensory/Perceptual Development:
  • Vision 20/50 by 6 mo
  • Peripheral vision like an adult by 6 mo
  • Infants prefer to look at the human face (at first the edges, then the inside)
depth perception
Depth Perception:
  • Tells us whether objects are near or far.
  • By 6-8 months crawling infants refused to crawl over the “visual cliff”