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  1. The First Two Months Fogel Chapter 5 Created by Ilse DeKoeyer-Laros, Ph.D.

  2. Overview Chapter 5 • Physical and Motor Development • Perceptual Development • Cognitive Development • Emotional Development • Family and Society Experiential Exercises Co-regulating with Baby

  3. Physical and Motor DevelopmentNewborn States The fetal states of rest & activity develop into sleeping & waking states • at 32 weeks gestation: REM & non-REM • by 38 weeks: several other sleep states • newborns sleep about 17 hours per day, throughout the day and night • by 3 or 4 months, infants sleep more at night than during the day, but night wakings are common in infancy and early childhood

  4. Physical and Motor DevelopmentNewborn States

  5. Physical and Motor DevelopmentWaking States Newborns have two basic modes of response to stimulation: orienting & defense • orienting – a heightened alertness that includes behavioral localization toward the source of the stimulation (a head turn to the source of a sound) • defense – a behavioral action that involves withdrawal from the source of stimulation

  6. Physical and Motor DevelopmentWaking States Newborns will orient to stimuli of moderate intensity and complexity soft talking, moderate light levels, and holding & rocking can enhance alertness

  7. Physical and Motor DevelopmentCrying State • Crying is an organized rhythmic activity • there are different cries with different body responses and cry sounds • The frequency increases between birth and 2 months – then, it decreases • similar in many cultures with different patterns of infant care & response to crying • infants cry more when parents are slower to respond

  8. Physical and Motor DevelopmentCrying State Colic is crying in which • the infant cries at least 3 hours a day, on at least 3 days per week, for at least 3 successive weeks • the parents find the crying very intense • the infant is otherwise normal; and • the infant is relatively unresponsive to soothing & feeding

  9. Physical and Motor DevelopmentCrying State • What causes colic? • unknown • not caused by digestive problems, sympathetic nervous system arousal, or cortisol levels • Factors related to colic • mothers who were highly stressed during pregnancy had higher chances of having a colicky baby • colicky infants are more likely to have sleep problems & to be inattentive, emotionally reactive, and sensitive to touch, food, and other stimulation at 3 & 8 years

  10. Physical and Motor DevelopmentThe Effects of Crying on Adults • Adults perceive crying as an index of distress & they try to figure out the source • nonparents are as responsive as parents • levels of arousal & responsiveness are equal for men & women • Child abusers show greater arousal & more annoyance at cries than nonabusers

  11. Physical and Motor DevelopmentSoothing Infants • nonnutritive sucking (NNS) immediately soothes • swaddling reduces motor movement & startles; keeps the infant calm for long periods • daily massage enhances alertness, sleep, growth & reduces stress and crying • rocking can calm or put infants to sleep • continuous sound can be calming, esp. when moderately loud & of low frequency (e.g., singing lullabies, humming)

  12. Newborn States Newborn state is important • the body needs periods of tranquility and rest to consolidate resources for growth • attention to the environment depends on a stress-free state of quiet alertness • state regulates the types of interactions newborns have with their adult caregivers Picture from:

  13. Reflexes Reflexes • semiautomatic behaviors, triggered only by specific elicitors • look about the same every time they occur • have to run their course once triggered See examples of reflexes on YouTube, such as the sucking reflex at

  14. ReflexesPurposes • Primitive forms of orienting behavior • e.g., rooting, sucking, and grasping • Primitive defensive reactions • e.g., the Moro reflex, reaction to a cloth on the face • Elementary coordinations for later adaptive & voluntary movements • e.g., stepping, crawling, and swimmer’s reflexes • No clear function • e.g., the Babinski reflex – although the lack of a Babinski response may indicate neurological disorder Picture from:

  15. Physical and Motor DevelopmentReflexes • Reflexes are highly variable within & between infants • depends on individual differences, age, time since last feeding & number of attempts to evoke the reflex • Many disappear by about 6 months • brain developments and other factors play a role (e.g., weight & muscle strength in the stepping reflex)

  16. Physical and Motor DevelopmentReflexes In sum, • newborn reflexes are extremely important for orienting the infant to the environment & for protecting the infant from harm • movements related to reflexes are not simply discharges in the brain, but depend on muscle movement, weight, state, illness & many other factors • reflexes play a role in the active development of the muscles, leading to increased strength & coordination

  17. Physical and Motor DevelopmentGrowth Asynchronous growth: different parts of the body grow at different rates & at different times

  18. Physical and Motor DevelopmentSucking Sucking is a reflex that is crucial for survival –it changes over time & becomes more voluntary

  19. Physical and Motor DevelopmentGrowth The newborn’s arms & hands are among the least controlled parts of the body • arm & hand movements seem uncoordinated but detailed video analyses show that they occur in meaningful patterns

  20. Physical and Motor DevelopmentThe Brain Neuroscience – the study of the brain & nervous system as it relates to psychological & behavioral functions such as moving, thinking, and feeling

  21. Brain structures and functions Major areas of the brain • brain stem • limbic system • cortex

  22. Brain structures and functions The prefrontal cortex is least developed in infancy • connects limbic & cortical areas • responsible for social & emotional regulation • involves thinking, reasoning, and judging Picture from:

  23. Brain structures and functions Most developed in infancy • brain stem – controls autonomic functions such as breathing and heart rate • limbic system – processes emotions and memories & some body functions • the important structures are the hippocampus, amygdala, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland

  24. Brain structures and functionsThe Limbic System • Hippocampus – important in the formation of memories for events & sequences (autobiographical memory) • during the first 3 years, the hippocampus develops links with the language & cognition areas of the cortex • Amygdala – plays a role in the formation of emotional memories, especially those around fear & safety Picture from:

  25. Brain structures and functionsThe Limbic System • Hypothalamus – links the brain to the endocrine systems of the body via the pituitary gland • regulates stress, body temperature, hunger, thirst, and day-night rhythms • The pituitarygland produces hormones • for stress regulation, maintenance of body state, sexual activity, milk production in nursing mothers, & cell growth Picture from:

  26. Physical and Motor DevelopmentTwo Hemispheres • Right hemisphere – processes the majority of social & emotional activity • major development during the first 2 years of life (emotion regulation, attachments) • Left hemisphere – more specialized for thinking & language • develops more rapidly after the first 2 years

  27. Fetal and infant brain developmentA critical period The period from the 5th gestational month through the age of 3-4 years is a critical period for the development of the human brain • To understand why, we need to look at the structure of neurons – information storage & transfer cells

  28. Fetal and infant brain development A critical period The brain develops by four basic processes: • New cells are created via mitosis during the prenatal period • most development after this occurs by making cell connections & by pruning of unused neurons • The brain becomes more efficient • glial cells guide growth & migration of neurons (prenatally) • myelination increases the speed of conduction along the axon (mostly right before & after birth)

  29. Fetal and infant brain development A critical period • Synaptogenesis – cells grow more dendrites & axon terminals & make more synaptic connections & neurotransmitters

  30. Fetal and infant brain development A critical period • The role of experience • experience expectant pathways await specific environmental input • e.g., pain elicits crying • experience dependentpathways are based on unique experiences • those that are used most become strengthened; those that are used the least eventually die

  31. Optimal & non-optimal brain development Neural plasticity– the ability of the brain & nervous system to seek novelty, learn, and remember by continuing to alter the patterns of connections between neurons • intact brains retain plasticity throughout life • impairments in social & linguistic skills, along with brain abnormalities, develop in infants reared in orphanages or infants not exposed to appropriate language

  32. Optimal & non-optimal brain development Each baby in the first two years of life comes to assess the social world as either a safe or a threatening place

  33. Optimal & non-optimalbrain development Neuroception – nonconscious evaluation of safety or threat, by the nervous system and not the conscious mind (Porges, 2004)

  34. Optimal & non-optimalbrain development Neuroception is regulated by • Sympathetic & parasympathetic nervous systems • Sympathetic nervous system – prepares the body for action • Parasympathetic nervous system – allows the body to relax, slow down, process information, engage socially, learn & grow; the vagus nerve is most responsible for neuroception • The HPA-axis

  35. The HPA-axis When stress occurs: Hypothalamus: CRH Pituitary gland: ACTH Adrenal glands: Cortisol

  36. Optimal & non-optimalbrain development • Cortisol prepares the body for action in response to stress • increases blood sugar needed for action • feeds back into the limbic system where it heightens the formation of memories related to the stressful event • If stress is persistent, cortisol is overproduced • prolonged activation of cortisol suppresses the immune system & physical growth • too much stress leads to a tendency to feel fear and threat in the future & can lead to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  37. Optimal & non-optimalbrain development

  38. Optimal & non-optimalbrain development In sum, the first 3 years of life are critical for brain development • for the development of the limbic & prefrontal parts of the right brain, which is dependent on the quality of love, emotional sharing, & social engagement received & perceived • not for cortical & left-brain processes like reading, math, thinking, or musical ability

  39. Optimal & non-optimalbrain development It is more important for infant brain development to spend quality one-on-one and family time than letting the baby play for long periods with expensive toys, or listen to Mozart, or watch baby TV programs

  40. Perceptual Development • Ecological perception – experience that relies on direct perception through the senses • the senses form the basic ways in which we are connected to the environment • Newborns have the ability to see, hear, taste, smell, and feel – although not as focused or discriminating as adults can

  41. Perceptual Development Newborn visual acuity & visual processing are poor but improve rapidly • visual acuity is only 20/500 on average, due to an immature nervous system • the newborn’s visual world is rather blurry, but the infant can see colors • as a result of experience-dependent brain development, visual acuity improves to nearly 20/20 by 6 months

  42. Perceptual Development • Oculomotor skills – movements that the eye makes to • bring objects into focus • follow moving objects • adjust for objects at different distances • Newborns’ tracking of moving objects is jerky, and they only follow slowly moving objects • at 6-8 weeks, following becomes more adultlike

  43. Perceptual Development Scanning – the eye traces a path across a visual stimulus in small, rapid movements

  44. Perceptual Development • Oculomotor control adjusts the eyes to see objects at different distances • Depth perception – the ability to judge the relative distances between two objects & determine whether objects are close or far • The ability to compare the two retinal images (and therefore to see distance) emerges slowly between 3 & 6 months

  45. Perceptual Development • Can newborns see patterns? • Studies show that newborns can detect differences between visual images & seem to prefer some images more than others • Newborns prefer • objects with clearly marked edges & outlines • circular patterns over straight lines • the external contours of a figure, especially if the edges are sharp

  46. Perceptual Development Newborns have perceptual preferences that are likely to bring them into contact with things that enhance their survival • infants prefer faces over other objects • 1-day-old infants change their sucking response to see a picture of their mother’s face rather than the face of an unfamiliar female – but not when the mother is shown wearing a scarf • newborns prefer to look at faces judged by adults to be more attractive • they also prefer faces in which the other person’s gaze is directed toward the infant rather than averted

  47. Auditory Perception • The auditory system is more mature at birth than the visual system • Auditory sensitivity (sensitivity to sounds) involves loudness & pitch • newborns can hear sounds of 40-60 dB but only sounds from 50-70 dB can awaken them • they prefer sounds in the middle range; higher pitch over lower pitch; sounds made up of more than one note; and melodic sequences over a jumble of unrelated notes

  48. Auditory Perception The most common source of such sounds is an adult female voice, talking or singing • newborns prefer to listen to a song or story that their mothers had sung or read aloud 2 weeks prior to birth over an unfamiliar song or story • newborns seem to prefer heartbeat sounds similar to those they must have heard prenatally • infants can distinguish the voice of their own mother from the voices of other women.

  49. Auditory Perception How do newborns distinguish speech sounds from different people? • They may detect overall patterns of rhythm & pitch that differentiate one person from another • They may be able to hear differences among syllables that give them cues about a speaker’s uniqueness • By 1 month, they distinguish two very closely related speech sounds (e.g., “p” and “b”) and by 2 months, they recognize vowel differences

  50. Taste Newborns seem to distinguish the four basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter • They show different responses to these four tastes • Sweet fluids seem to relax (see pictures) • Sour, bitter & salty tastes elicit negative responses