Newborn are called Neonate.
First four weeks of life (neonatal period)
A time of transition from the uterus, where a fetus
is supported entirely by the mother  to an
independent existence.
When neonate are first born:
Covered by fluid from amniotic sac
Blood from placenta
Brownish fluid from own faeces.
Covered with lanugo (fuzzy prenatal hair)
Covered with vernix caseosa (cheesy varnish)
Size and Appearance
New babies have distinctive feature a large head
and a receding chin
On the head  Fontanels (the soft spots)
Newborns have a pinkish cast  skin so thin that it
barely covers the capillaries through which blood
Boys tend to be slightly longer and heavier than girls,
and a firstborn child is likely to weigh less at birth
than laterborns
Weight :
2.8 -3.2 kg
Length :
51-53 cm (Boy > girl)
Head Circumference: 30-33 cm
Blood pressure become stable in 10 days.
Initially fast, short & irregular
Later  more stable & with rhythm
Medical and Behavioral Screening
1. Apgar Scale
2. The Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral
Assessment Scale
3. Checks are also done for any structural
or physical deformities (eg. spinal defect,
cleft palate)
Silver nitrate or tetracycline is usually
dropped into neonate eyes to
prevent from bacterial infection while
passing through birth canal.
Apgar Scale is a standard measurement of a
newborn’s condition
Introduced by Dr. Virginia Apgar
Access newborn
 1 min after birth
 5 min after birth
Appearance (colour)
Pulse (heart beat rate)
Grimace (reflex)
Activity (muscle tone)
Respiration (breathing)
Blue, pale
Body pink,
extremities blue
Entirely Pink
Slow (below 100)
Rapid (over 100)
No response
sneezing, crying
Weak, inactive
Strong, active
Irregular, slow
Good, Crying
Above 7 = (good/normal)
4 -7 = average, need monitoring
3 & Below = need immediate attention, high risk situation
◦ The Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral
Assessment Scale (NBAS) (Dr. Berry
Brazelton) serves 3 purpose:
 As an index of neurological integrity
after birth
 To predict future development
 To assesses neonates' responsiveness to
their physical and social environment
◦ Screening done on 3rd day and repeat
again after several days.
Test on four distinct areas:
Social behavior (interactive behaviors in the home)
Motor behaviors (reflexes & muscle activities)
Control of physiology (baby’s ability to quiet
Stress response (startle reaction)
High score  a neurologically well developed
Low score  a sluggish infant who need help
in responding to social situations, or possible
brain damage.
Reflexes  an inborn, automatic response to a
particular form of stimulation.
Full term newborns come equipped with a
variety of reflexes for use in dealing efficiently
with stimuli present in their environment.
Some reflexes are necessary for survival (eg.
Rooting & sucking reflexes)
Reflexes are probably genetic in origin & include a
timing mechanism that allows them to fade away
after a period of time.
Eliciting Stimulus
Gentle stroke along
Toes fan out: big toe
sole of foot (heel - toe) reflexes
Disappears by
end of first
Sudden lost of
Disappear in
6 months
Rod of finger pressed Object grasp
against infant’s palm
Disappear in
3-4 months
Object lightly brushes
infant’s cheek
Disappear in
3-4 months
Insert Finger in mouth Rhythmic sucking
Held baby upright.
Sole of feet placed on
hard surface
Arms extended, then
brought towards each
Baby turns towards
object and attempts to
Disappear in
3-4 months
Infant step forward as if Disappear in
3-4 months
Stroke cheek near
corner of mouth or
object brushes the
Infant respon by
turning head toward
Disappears at 3 weeks
when child begins to
be able to voluntarily
turn head
Helps infant find
Hold infant horizontally
on back and let head
drop slightly or produce
sudden loud sound
against surface
supporting infant
Infant response is to
make an embracing
motion by arching back,
extending legs,
throwing arms outward
and then bringing them
in toward the body
Disappear at 6 months
Probably in human
evolution helped baby
cling to mother
Spontaneous grasp
of adult’s finger
 Disappears at 3-4
months to allow
reaching and
 Prepares infant for
voluntary grasping
Turn baby's head to one
side while lying on back
Infant responds by lying
in a “fencing position”
with one arm extended
in front of eyes on side
to which head is turned
other arm is flexed
Disappears at 4 months
May prepare infant for
voluntary reaching
Children grow faster during the first years,
especially during the first few months.
This rapid growth rate tapers off during the
second and third years
Influences on Growth
 Genes interact with environment, i.e. nutrition and
living conditions,  general health and well-being
 Well-fed, well-cared-for children grow taller and
heavier than less well nourished and nurtured
 Better medical care, immunization and
antibioticsbetter health
◦ Breast milk is almost always the best food for newborns
and is recommended for at least the first 12 months
◦ Parents can avoid obesity and cardiac problems in
themselves and in their children by adopting a more
active lifestyle for the entire family--and to breastfeed
their babies
First 3 years of life is critical to baby’s brain
Before & after birth  brain growth is fundamental to
future development.
It is estimated that about 250,000 brain cells are form
every minute in the uterus.
By birth, almost 100 billion nerve cell are formed, but
not fully develop.
Smiling, babbling, crawling, walking, and talking are
possible due to rapid development of the brain,
particularly the cerebral cortex
Early experience can have lasting effects on emotional
development and the capacity of the central nervous
system to learn and store information
Sometimes corrective experience can make up for
past deprivation
States of arousal are different degrees of sleep and
Infants move in and out of 5 states throughout the
day and night:
Regular sleep
Irregular sleep
Alert Activity
Waking activity and crying
Striking individual differences in daily rhythms
exist that affect parents’ attitudes toward and
interactions with baby.
(Sensory &Perceptual Process)
 Hearing
 Vision
 Taste
 Smell
Touch seems to be the first sense to
Sensitivity to touch, pain, and temperature
change is well-developed at birth.
Pain experienced during the neonatal
period may sensitize an infant to later pain,
perhaps by affecting the neural pathways
that process painful stimuli
Reflexes reveal sensitivity to touch.
Touch helps stimulate physical and
emotional development.
Babies are born with the ability to
communicate their taste preferences to
 Infant facial expressions indicate they
can distinguish among several tastes.
 Newborns' rejection of bitter tastes is
probably another survival mechanism,
since many bitter substances are toxic
The responsiveness of infants to the smell of
certain foods is similar to that of adults 
showed that some odor preferences are innate.
A newborn infant is attracted to the odor of her
own mother’s lactating breast  helps to find
food source and to identify own mother a
survival mechanism.
Newborns can identify the location of an
unpleasant odor and turn head away.
A preference for pleasant odors seems to be
learned in uterus and during the first few days
after birth
 Even
newborns can smell, taste, and
 These skills are useful in recognizing
parents and in feeding
Lipsitt, Engen & Kye (1963) : Baby
showed negative response to the
smell of ammonia.
Steiner : Baby showed diff.
facial expression when exposed
to different type of scent.
Mac Farlane (1977): Baby can
differentiate between own
mother’s milk and other
mothers’ milk.
Schmidt & Beauchamp (1988) :
Baby’s ability to smell is almost
equivalent to a 3 years old ability
to smell.
Harris & friends: By aged 4 mths
old, baby like the taste of salt
Well developed at birth
Hearing is functional before birth ability to
discrimination sound develops rapidly after birth
Hearing  key to language development so
hearing impairments should be identified as early as
◦ Infants respond with changes in heart rate to loud
sounds (even in the womb)
◦ Can hear wide range of sounds but are more
responsive to some than others.
◦ Newborns prefer complex sounds such as voices
and noises to pure tones.
Newborns prefer speech that is highpitched and expressive.
 Infants hear well, though not quite as
accurately as adults
 Infants’ hearing is best for sounds that have
pitches in the range of human speech
 Infants use sound to locate objects
Sense of musical phrasing
“Screen out” sounds from non6 months native languages
Recognize familiar words, natural
phrasing in native language
Can detect words that start with
10 months weak syllables
De Casper & Fifer (1980): Baby can differentiate
mother’s voices from others  thru’ baby
sucking pattern.
Birnhold & Benacerraf (1983): 28th week baby
showed his/her response thru facial
Wertheimer (1961) : Baby able to follow
source of sound thru’ the “clicker” test.
Vision is the least developed sense at birth
Newborns cannot focus their eyes very well and
their visual acuity  fineness of discrimination,
is limited
Newborns explore their environment by scanning
it for interesting sights & tracking moving
They can’t yet discriminate colors, color vision
will improve in a couple of months.
Visual perception is poor at birth  but improves
to 20/100 by age 6 months
Binocular vision using both eyes to focus
Brain development helps infants
reach adult levels of vision skills:
2 months: Focus and color vision
 6 months: acuity, scanning &
 6–7 months: depth perception
3 weeks
Poor contrast sensitivity.
Prefer large simple patterns
Can detect fine-grained detail.
2 months Prefer complex patterns.
Can detect patterns even if
4 months boundaries are not really present
Can detect objects if two-thirds of
12 months drawing is missing
Birth – 1
Sensitivity to motion cues
Sensitivity to binocular cues
5 –12
Sensitivity to pictorial cues.
Wariness of heights
Langlois & friends (1990): Babies are more
attracted to attractive and beautiful human
Fantz (1993): Babies prefer to look at pictures
of human.
Aslin (1987): 4 days old babies can
differentiate between green and red.
Babies prefer blue and red as compared to
other colors.
Gibson & Walk (1960): Visual cliff experiment. 6
mth babies has already develop in-dept
perception in visual.
 By
1 month, can integrate sight and
 By 4 months, can integrate sight
and sound
 4- and 7-month-olds can match
facial appearance (boy or man) with
sound of voice
Maturity affect infant perceptual and motor
Milestones of Motor Development
Babies first learn simple skills and then combine
them into increasingly complex systems of action
◦ Week 1
: Motor ability progress
◦ Month 1: Chin lift
◦ Month 2: Reach for object
Newborn are not able to control their body
movement  no coordination.
Most movements are due to inborn reflexes
(rooting, moro, palmer grasp etc)
Humans begin to walk later than other species,
possibly because babies' heavy heads and short
legs make balance difficult
How Motor Development Occurs:
Maturation in Context
According to Thelen, normal babies
develop the same skills in the same order
because they are built approximately the
same way and have similar physical
challenges and needs
Cultural Influences on Motor Development
Chances to explore their surroundings motor
development likely to be normal
Some cultures actively encourage early development of
motor skills
Training Motor Skills Experimentally
Gesell concluded that children perform
certain activities when they are ready, and
training gives no advantage
Interaction of biology and environment are
involved in infant motor development
Baby's ability to interact with other people
Develops thru regular interaction with
◦ Feeding
◦ Cleaning
◦ Caring/loving
Newborn can imitate facial expression.

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