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Growth and development


The first five years of life are a time of incredible growth and learning. An understanding of the rapid changes in a child's developmental status prepares parents to give active and purposeful attention to the preschool years and to guide and promote early learning that will serve as the foundation for later years.

Babies grow at an amazing rate in the first months and years of life as they rapidly grow in length and weight. In the first 2 years, babies grow to almost half their adult height and can quadruple their birth weight. During this period, it's important for parents to take their baby to the paediatrician for well-baby checkups (during which they will be weighed and measured) on a regular schedule to make sure they are growing at the appropriate rate.

In the first two years of life, a child's body proportions also change. When infants are born, most of their body mass is in their head. As they grow older, the rest of their bodies catch up. Just as they develop their motor skills from the center of the body outward and from their head to their feet, they also grow and gain mass in that order. Babies grow first in their chest and trunk and then in their arms and legs. Over the first year of life, babies' bones and skeletons ossify, or harden. When babies are born, their bones are softer and more like cartilage. This allows them to be flexible, fit inside the mother's womb, and pass through the birth canal. However, as their bones harden in the first year, the skeleton is better able to support their weight during activities such as crawling and walking.
 
To read more about the different aspects of your baby's growth and development refer to the links below.
 
 
Understanding growth and development

Speech and hearing

 



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