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Study Notes

Physical Development in Infancy (0-2 years)

BTEC National

Last updated 29 Sept 2019

There is a great deal of physical change during infancy.

It is not unusual for a baby to lose weight after they are born. A baby’s weight is measured during the first two weeks of its life to ensure that the weight is being regained. 80% of babies exceed their birth weight when they are two weeks old. If a baby is not regaining its weight, the midwife or health visitor may support with feeding and possibly observe the baby in case there are any health concerns.

A baby’s weight is usually measured once a month up to their first birthday and is plotted on their individual centile chart (growth chart). The curved lines on the centile chart show the average height and weight for different ages. The baby’s weight may not sit exactly on the curved line; however, it is unusual for the measurements to cross two centile lines. A baby’s weight will usually increase up to the age of nine months and slow down when they become more active.

When a baby is born, they display various reflexes. These are checked by professionals to determine whether there are any concerns with the interaction of the brain and the nervous system. There are numerous reflexes that are present at birth and last for around the first four months.

The rooting reflex starts when the side of the baby’s mouth is touched, and they start to move their head and open their mouth in the direction of them being stroked.

The grasping reflex occurs when a baby’s palm of the hand is stroked, and they close their fingers in a gripping motion.

Infants also develop many fine and gross motor skills. A motor skill involves using specific muscles to complete an action. Fine motor skills are small muscle movements, such as grasping and holding, whereas gross motor skills rely on large muscle groups for movements such as crawling and walking.

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