Newborn stages of development


Characteristics of a Newborn According to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (2008), some of the normal reflexes that newborns exhibit include: Root reflex: The baby moves his face in the direction where he is touched. This helps him in finding the bottle or the breast for feeding. Suck reflex: The baby starts sucking when the roof of her mouth is touched. Startle reflex: The baby takes a jerk or startles when he hears a loud sound. Grasp reflex: The baby closes his fingers around something that touches his hand. Step reflex: This is the walking reflex that appears when the baby is held in a standing position on a smooth surface. She seems to take little steps The newborn’s vision is clear up to approximately 12 inches. The startle reflex shows that hearing is normal; however, the baby is not yet able to relate what he sees and hears. Since, taste buds are not very mature, the baby is satisfied with the breast milk or formula, but he learns to develop taste as he grows older like in 2-3 months. Studies show that the sense of smell is also well developed. He responds to touch under root and grasp reflex. He has no set schedule of sleeping and waking, and will sleep most of the time waking after intervals for feedings. Role of Parents and Caregivers In understanding the patterns of attachment and cognitive development in infants and how families affect their development, the contributions of Jean Piaget (1896-1980) and Erik Erikson (1902-1994) hold great importance. Newborns go through a number of cognitive stages in intellectual development (Piaget, as cited in Coon, 2009, p. 112), and they learn to develop emotional attachment right from their infancy with the help of “ a number of attributes that help them to maintain contact with others and do elicit caregiving” (Shaffer, 2009, p. 142). Caregivers and the family play a very important role in infants’ emotional and cognitive development. This is because the infants get attached to those people around them who are responsive and provide them comfort. According to Evans and Erikson (1981, p. 12), in the first stage of cognitive development in infants, trust versus mistrust, infants get close to and develop trust on their parents and the family members from whom they find reassurance. How the family interacts with an infant or a young child defines how he is going to make a schema of the world inside his mind. If the family is going to offer him warmth and dependable fondness, the child is going to develop a trustworthy relationship; whereas, if the family provides him with insecurities and the child does not feel that his basic needs are being fulfilled, he will develop a sense of mistrust with the whole world. Thus, the active participation of family and how they meet the basic needs (that include food, clothing, comfort, affection) of the infant define if the child is going to trust others and feel them reliable or is going to mistrust others and feel them unreliable and undependable. If the family has been abusive toward the child, he will grow up to be abusive toward the world and will perceive the world as a dangerous place to live in. Hence, the initial bonding which the newborn enjoys with his parents or caregivers is critically important in the development of a confident and happy personality in his later life. References Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. (2008). Newborn Reflexes. Retrieved 01 May 2011, from http://www. chp. edu/CHP/P02630 Coon, D. (2009). Cognitive development? How do children learn to think. Psychology: A Journey. USA: Cengage Learning. Evans, R. I., & Erikson, E. H. Dialogue with Erik Erikson. USA: Praeger. Shaffer, D. R. (2009). Social and Personality Development. USA: Cengage Learning.