HDFS 120 – Narrative Review Sheet Chapter Four 1
Addition of fat layer continues in first year for both sexes – helps maintain body
Girls have more fat tissue than boys.
Cephalocaudal pattern of development – development tends to proceed from head
to toe. The head region develops earlier and faster than the lower parts of the body.
Think back to prenatal development – the head is very large compared to the rest of the
body. The arm buds appeared before the leg buds. After birth the same thing happens
with muscle development and coordination. One of the first things the baby can do is to
hold his head up – and only later sit up – and only later coordinate his legs to creep or to
stand up and walk.
Proximodistal pattern of development – development tends to proceed from the
midline out to the extremeties. Again think of prenatal development – first there were
just arm buds, then upper arms, then lower arms with hand plates, and then finally the
fingers separate, and finally there will be fingernails. Development starts close in to the
trunk, and gradually moves outward.
Neurons = nerve cells that send and receive messages – Most of them have developed by
the end of the second trimester.
In the last trimester and into the first two years after birth the connections between the
nerve cells will be maturing. The connecting pathways between nerve cells are very
important – the better the connections, the better and faster the brain can work to control
body movement and thought.
Glial cells also will be forming rapidly in this time period. Glial cells are small cells that
make up about half of your brain, but they don’t send messages. Glial cells make myelin,
so myelination is possible. Glial cells also sort of glue the neurons together, and they
absorb dead and dying nerve cells or nerve fibers.
Myelin – fatty insulating material that gradually develops around the nerve fibers.
Myelination is the process of the nerve fibers being coated with myelin.
Once the nerve fibers are myelinated, they are able to send messages better – so we can
think better and faster and move better and faster.
Myelin starts to form in the last trimester.
The process of myelination will continue throughout infancy and childhood and probably
not be finished until early adulthood.
To support the rapid brain and nervous system development of the last trimester
and first two years of life, babies need good nutrition, with good protein.
They also need adequate stimulation, so that the nerve connections form. Babies
need to experience things, and use all of their senses, to encourage their brain to develop
in the best way possible. HDFS 120 – Narrative Review Sheet Chapter Four 2
The brain has growth spurts, when certain parts of the brain will be growing and
Stimulation is needed for the nervous system development to continue. The stimulation
should not be too much or too little.
An understimulated baby in a deprived environment would be just like us when we are
bored to tears – we won’t learn much – and those nerve connections won’t be made.
An overstimulated baby is being asked to deal with too much at once. His developing
nervous system isn’t ready to deal with overstimulation – it would stress the baby, so his
learning and developing would not be optimal.
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Breast milk is nutritionally suited for babies, and is easier for babies to digest than
Breast milk is especially important in countries where there is poor sanitation, not good
refrigeration, and where the water supply may be contaminated.
Breast fed babies and bottle fed babies do not differ in emotional adjustment – If you are
bottle feeding, you just need to hold the baby and provide eye contact and cuddling.
Don’t just prop up the bottle and walk away from the baby!
Breast-feeding mothers have got to be careful about what they eat.
Some studies show a slight advantage in mental development for breast-fed babies.
Marasmus – a wasted condition of the body when the child is essentially starving. He is
not getting enough of all nutrients. Children with marasmus usually die.
Kwashiorkor – a condition of the body that results from getting too little protein. The
body tries to compensate by breaking down its own protein.
Nonorganic failure to thrive is a disorder that may develop in the first 18 months of life.
The baby looks malnourished, but there isn’t any biological reason for it. They are
getting enough food. It is possible that the mother may be depressed, or cold and distant,