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Newborn Stages of Development - Essay Example

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This essay aims to look at the initial periods of development for a newborn baby, shedding light on its physiology and psychological condition and inform parents or caregivers of a newborn child about the importance of bonding with their baby in a positive way…
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Newborn Stages of Development
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Newborn Stage of Development Ask any parent (natural or foster) about the experience of raising a newborn baby and they will talk about it being one of the most harrowing yet rewarding experiences of their life. This essay aims to look at the initial periods of development for a newborn baby, shedding light on its physiology and psychological condition and inform parents/caregivers about the importance of bonding with their baby in a positive way.
A newborn baby is in the human being’s most critical stage of life; totally dependent on its parents/caregivers, actions/experiences/bonds acquired during this time usually last their entire life. Immediately after birth, an infant can weigh anything from 5 to 10 pounds, with some medical reports suggesting that the heavier the baby, the healthier it is (this of course, does not include babies abnormally obese). At this stage, even the baby’s five senses are not properly developed. The sense of sight in a baby is less-developed than its adult counterpart; it has difficult focusing on distant objects as well as discriminating between different colors. When it comes to hearing, the baby usually experiences discomfort by sudden, loud noises and prefers soothing and rhythmic sounds. Due to its motor restrictions, it is unable to move its head in order to locate the source of the sounds. When it comes to the sense of touch, babies prefer rocking motions (similar to the motions they experience while in their mother’s womb). Babies also prefer to be rocked and touched gently. Finally, when it comes to taste and smell, the baby does not have well-developed taste buds therefore it can only differentiate between sour and sweet and that too, only with some difficulty. His sense of smell however works much better, with the baby preferring sweet smelling scents by leaning towards them and doing the opposite for nasty smells.
The baby’s motor skills are mostly reflexive. These involve coughing, swallowing and sucking; it also does not have enough developed motor skills to control the movement of her head or limbs. This combined with her sense of sight results in poor hand-to-eye skills in the initial months of a baby’s life; however, these skills improve remarkably quickly in the first year. When it comes to communicating, the only method of attracting attention to it is by crying. Therefore, parents should not be worried when the baby starts crying; it simply means that it is uncomfortable due to something. Finally, the baby’s sleeping and waking patterns are something that wreaks the most havoc with the parent’s schedule. Initially sleeping for the most part of a day (17 to 19 hours), the baby will gradually reduce its sleeping time, preferring to sleep in periods rather than one continuous sleep (Meyerhoff 2011).
When it comes to the baby’s personality development, the baby forms a bond with the people it’s initially exposed to such as the mother or the caretaker. Since the baby initially cannot focus on distant objects, the parents should take care to bring their faces close enough to the baby so that it can recognize them. The importance of forming an attachment is immense; some studies suggest that a positive bond with the parent/caretaker enables a baby to feel secure and therefore, be better able to actualize its potential in later life. These same studies talk about an insecure bond jeopardizing the baby’s personality development. Such a bond and attachment can be formed by the parent/caretaker always being around to soothe the infant by catering to its needs. After some time, this bond allows the parent/caretaker to instinctively understand the baby’s needs and therefore be in a better position to fulfill them. In such bonds, a lot of communication is done through non-verbal cues which both the infant and caretaker seems to intuitively understand and this helps the baby in feeling secure and attached (Help Guide 2011).
In conclusion, it is important to realize that the age old adage about a newborn being like clay that can be molded into any sculpture is perhaps very true. A parent/caretaker has the utmost responsibility to encourage development of every facet of the newborn’s personality. Parents/caretakers that are always absent from the baby’s life due to career-responsibilities perhaps inadvertently are hindering their infant’s personality development. Caretakers who also inhibit their infant’s movements due to safety concerns need to realize that such a move restricts the baby’s physical development; a baby needs to be allowed freedom of movement as long as there is no real danger involved.
Perhaps the greatest thing to realize is that every baby is different; fretting over a baby who takes a longer time to learn a task than its counterparts is usually detrimental to both the parent/caretaker and the baby and every infant should be allowed to grow up at its own pace.
References
Meyerhoff, M. (n, d). Understanding Newborn Characteristics and Development . Discovery Fit and Health. Retrieved August 28, 2011, from http://health.howstuffworks.com/pregnancy-and-parenting/baby-health/newborn-development/understanding-newborn-characteristics-and-development-ga3.htm
(n, d). Bonding with your baby. Help Guide. Retrieved August 28, 2011, from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/parenting_attachment.htm Read More
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