A Chart Showing the Development of the Normal Healthy Child
A subject of great.interest, and worthy of careful study on the part of the mother, is the rate at which her child is growing. This, and the manner in which the baby acquires control of its limbs, head, eyes, and develops its various mental faculties, are indicative of the state of its health and constitution, because all healthy children conform more or less closely to a well-defined course of development.
The mother should be provided with a pair of scales - it is difficult to weigh a restless child with a spring balance - a measuring-tape, and a diary. In the latter should be entered all the little signs of dawning intelligence and increasing control over the muscles. By doing this the mother can judge if her child is thriving as it should.
Small differences from the standard laid clown in the appended table need give rise to no uneasiness. A child may be a little backward and then soon recover, or perhaps constitutionally it is slightly below the average. A big difference, however, shows that something is amiss, and the doctor's attention should be called to it.
The following time-table is of value in that it indicates the development of the normal healthy child, and therefore shows every mother what to look for in the case of her own child.
The Normal Development of the Healthy Child
First Month. - The length of the child at birth should be 20 to 21 inches, and its weight between 7 lb. and 8 lb.; 6 1/2 lb. children, however, are numerous. Some babies, moreover, at birth weigh as little as 5 lb., and, on the other hand, some as much as 10 lb.
1st Day. - The baby perceives strong-smelling substances. Smell is the first sense to become active.
1st or 2nd Day. - The child becomes sensitive to light.
4th Day. - The baby generally hears sounds for the first time. Sometimes, however, it does not hear until a little later.
6th to 7th Day. - It shows sensitiveness to taste.
The week-old baby, therefore, should have all the senses active. It will have lost a few ounces in weight since its birth, but will now begin to put on fat and muscle rapidly.
Nth Day (about). - A lighted candle will create interest.
26th Day. - Probably the baby will smile.
28th Day. - It will make some voice sounds.
31st Day. - The weight should be from 8 lb. to 9 lb.
Second Month. - Great strides will be made during this month.
The baby should recognise human voices and turn its face towards sounds.
Usually it shows pleasure in music, but the eyes still will be uncontrollable; each will turn its own way.
Squinting, therefore, at this time is quite common.
Third Month. - If the back be supported. the baby should be able to hold its head quite erect. For the first time, moreover, it will cry with tears. Not yet, however, will it be able to raise its eyelids fully when looking upward; but it will begin now to focus objects, and to see the world in quite a new light. At the end of the month the child should weigh 10 1/2 lb. to 12 lb.
Fourth Month. - The movements of the eye should now become perfect, but not yet will the child have acquired the power to judge distance, and it will make futile attempts to grasp things which are quite out of reach.
The teeth, moreover, may begin to appear, but the coming of the teeth always is uncertain. The child also should be able to hold its head erect without support, and, with a little help, to sit up. About now, moreover, it will begin to imitate people.
Its weight at the end of the month should be 12 lb. to 13 1/2 lb.
Fifth Month. - Baby now should be able to recognise strangers; it will find pleasure in tearing paper; look inquiringly and learn rapidly. It will be able to grasp things and carry them to its mouth. At night it should sleep for ten hours, and between now and the ninth month will cut its first tooth. Its weight at the end of the month should be 13 1/2 lb. to 15 lb.
Sixth Month. - The child now should be able to sit up unaided, and should spend much of the day laughing. Its weight at the end of the month should be 14 1/2 lb. to 16 lb.
Its memory will become well developed, and it will acquire a decided tendency to right-handedness
Its weight should be 16 lb. to 17 lb. at the end of the month.
Eighth Month. - By now two teeth probably will be cut in the lower jaw.
Baby will be able to sit up at table, but should not be allowed to stay for long, as its back still will be weak.
Its weight at the end of the month should be 17 lb. to 18 lb.
Ninth Month. - Baby will begin to stand without support, and will understand many questions without being able to speak a single word.
It will show fear of strangers. By the end of the month it will probably cut four teeth in the upper jaw, and should weigh 18 lb. to 19 lb.
Tenth Month. - Baby will be able to sit safely in the bath, will try to walk, and will say several babyish words. Its weight will be 19 lb. to 20 lb.
Eleventh Month. - Sitting now should have become a fixed habit, and perhaps the child will be able to stand unsteadily but unaided. It should weigh 20 lb. to 21 lb.
Twelfth Month. - The baby should be able to push a chair and sometimes to walk alone.
It should have six teeth, and from now to the fourteenth month should cut six more. Its weight should be 21 lb. to 23 lb.
Fourteenth Month. - The baby should have twelve teeth, and will be able to cough, sneeze, and raise itself by the help of a chair.
Fifteenth Month. - This is the month when most healthy children can first walk without assistance.
Sixteenth Month. - The child should be able to run.
Eighteenth Month. - The child should now have sufficient intelligence to wash its hands, comb its hair, etc. The fontanelles should close entirely during this month.
From now to the twentieth month four more teeth should appear, making sixteen in all.
Twentieth to Twenty-fourth Months. - During this period the child will try to sing and dance.
By the age of 2 1/21 all the milk teeth will have been cut, and a child will be able to distinguish colours accurately for the first time.
The weight and height of the average child from the first to the seventh years are given in the following table:
At birth . .
One year .
Two years .
26 1/2 lb.
31 1/2-32 1/2 inches
Three years .
Five years .
41 1/2 inches
Six years .
Seven years .
49 1/2 lb.
These figures are for boys. But girls are practically the same height as boys for the first five years, and should not be more than a pound lighter.