Growth and development are two most important aspects of measurements that provide information about health from birth to the end of adolescents. Growth and development encompass physical and psychological changes, enhancements of skills, flexibility, and socialization (Hockenberry et al., 2017). The first year of life is one of the most important periods occupied by rapid growth because infants triple their weight, length increases by 50%, head and chest equal in size, and maturation of systems (Hockenberry et al., 2017). But, for the purpose of this research paper, the main focus is a 2-month-old infant.
Many factors can affect the growth and development of a 2-month-old such as prenatal health, parental attitudes, genetics, congenital anomalies, intrauterine environment, culture, nutrition, and support (Hockenberry et al., 2017). Nonetheless, there are certain progressions and milestones that an infant should achieve by the end of their second month of life. Regarding physical development, most research did not reveal a huge difference in gender but mentioned babies grow at different rates (Hockenberry et al., 2017 & Murray et al., 2019). The average FOC of a 2-month-old increases 2 cm a month during the first 3 months of life bringing the FOC to approximately 36- 42 cm (Hockenberry et al., 2017 & Murray et al., 2019). The average length of a 2-month-old is 53- 58 cm and the average weight is 9 lb. and 8 oz.- 12 lb. 13 oz. ((Hockenberry et al., 2017, KidsHealth for Nemours, 2019, & & Murray et al., 2019).
Health care providers use milestones for measurement of growth and development because as mentioned, it provides information about the overall health of the infant. By 2 months of age, an infant should achieve certain developmental milestones. Two gross motor skills that are conquered are a decrease in head lag when sitting and raising head while in the prone position (Hockenberry et al., 2017). Two fine motor developments are the infant is able to open hands and exhibit a decline in the grasp reflex (Hockenberry et al., 2017). Two social skills that should be demonstrated are being able to focus attention on whoever is speaking and smiling during interactions (Walter, 2016 & Hockenberry et al., 2017). Lastly, 2 verbal skills a 2-month-old should display are cooing and producing distinctive cries based on needs or wants (Walter, 2016 & Hockenberry et al., 2017).
Theoretical foundations of personality development for this age group concentrates on senses, comfort, and the beginning of cognitive growth. The first psychosocial developmental stage Erickson focus on deals with trust, or due to negative experiences, mistrust. During this stage of psychosocial development, the infant is extremely dependent on caregivers. Taking this into consideration, basic needs must be met, such as being provided consistent and loving care to develop a healthy personality (Hockenberry et al., 2017). If not, conflict may develop and mistrust will remain a problem (Hockenberry et al., 2017). Piaget theoretical development centers more on intelligence than personality. Cognitive skills develop through adaptions to the environment and experiences (Hockenberry et al., 2017). A 2-month-old is in the sensorimotor stage of growth. At this stage, senses such as vision, taste, sound, movement, and hearing are the main focus. Through sensations, the infant learns to achieve certain task, develop a sense of self, manipulate objects, and become aware of object permanence (Hockenberry et al., 2017). At 2 months of age, the infant is not cognitively able to achieve all aspects of the sensorimotor stage, but this stage should be accomplished by 2 years of age (Hockenberry et al., 2017). Additionally, in this ongoing process of development, the infant finds pleasure in social affective and sense-pleasure play. During social affective play, the infant develops relationships with others through touch, smiling, and cooing (i.e. caregiver smiles and the infant reciprocates action) (Hockenberry et al., 2017). Regarding sense-pleasure play, attention is on environment stimulus such as playmat with activities (i.e infant kicks soft keyboard on mat and it plays music).
As mentioned, during this stage, an infant is highly reliant on its caregiver for all needs. Stimulation is a contributing factor for healthy development but nutrition is one of the most important factors that strongly influence overall wellbeing (Hockenberry et al., 2017) During this age, the infant should exclusively rely on breast milk, iron fortified formula, or a combination of breastmilk and formula. Breast milk contains most of the minerals and vitamins that are needed for growth while also providing additional protections for infections due to antibodies passed from the mother (KidsHealth from Nemours, 2018). Formula is a nutritious supplement that provides most minerals and vitamins (KidsHealth from Nemours, 2018). There is no specific amount each infant should eat but feedings should be on demand with the infant controlling how much he or she would like to feed and with time, appetite will increase (KidsHealth from Nemours, 2018). Despite individual differences, an average 2-month-old will eat between 4-5 oz per feeding with the average of 6-8 feedings per day (KidsHealth for Nemours, 2018). Sleep is also essential because it also contributes to health. Hockenberry et al. (2017) states that a 2-month-old sleeps around 15 hours a day with individual varying between 10- 20 hours a day. With nutrition and sleep, cognitive and motor skills mature and advance.
At 2 months of age, the infant does not have the cognitive capability to understand discipline and cause and effect relationships, so it is extremely difficult to discipline at this age. Instead of focusing on discipline and behavior correction, attention should be given to providing basic needs such as love, security, food, and comfort (Hockenberry et al., 2017). With the above contributions to growth and development, a 2-month-old can achieve milestones and developed into a healthy human being.
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