Infant's periods of development

This article is devoted to the periods of development of an infant. Parents often ask us, physiatrists, how should these periods proceed. Today we will try to draw parents' attention to the most important facts about babies' development because the first periods of their life have a major influence on their further progression.

An infancy is the time when many changes in baby's life occur and its development is very dynamic. The first year of life is the time when a baby is preparing to a verticalisation and walking.
The babies' first weeks of life is the time when the cervical lordosis is shaping while the babies are lifting their heads. Medical terminology defines it as the first extensive stage. While lifting the head it comes to stretching of the muscles which has a major importance when it comes to taking the sitting or standing position in further periods of development.

Shaping of the cervical lordosis occurs in 9-12th month of life when the child begins to take a sitting position. It is the second extensive stage. The folding stages comprise the remaining part of the development. It means that in the moment of birth the majority of the flexor muscles over the extensors is bigger and this is why the baby takes the folding position (first folding stage). Round the 5th-6th month of life the child begins to take the sustained sitting position (second folding stage), while effortless sitting is being shaped around 7th and 9th month of life. In this period the mitigation of the thoracic kyphosis occurs (it was dominating while the activity of the flexors over the extensors was higher).

In the first months of life the determination of walking role models occur. What does it mean? In this period the central body's  line is being exceeded through the hand which is reaching the opposite side (for example reaching the objects which are located on the left side by the right hand or touching the left part of the body and the other way round), moves which exceed the central body line. It seems that this faculty is of minor importance but it is crucial in the locomotion. In the further period of life this faculty determines the ability to keep one's balance while walking (in the moment of shoulder girdle rotation relative to pelvic girdle).

What is more, exceeding the central line of the body enables the baby to turn around from the belly to the back and another way round.

Around 7th-8th month, after sitting the baby takes the crawling position. This stage is of major importance in the further development. First of all, it prepares the child to taking the high positions. Secondly, a correct alternating of shoulder girdle movement relative to pelvic girdle which is prerequisite while walking is being improved when the baby is crawling. What is more, children who went through the crawling stage are less exposed to faulty postures in the later period of life.

In the next months of life the child begins to take the standing position. The stage of taking the standing position after the crawling is very important because when the child takes the standing position, it must compensate (counteract) the G-force and this is why this period should proceed gradually. Between the 10th and 13th month of life the child is able to stand single-handedly and is preparing to the locomotion.

The first periods of infant's development are of crucial importance to current and later baby's health and wield influence on their later life and psychomotor development. The knowledge of individual periods of development enables parents to observe the changes which occur in their baby's body and to eventually notice early occuring abnormalities. The norms given in this article do not define the ultimate boundary when the particular periods should occur because the development is an individual feature and it can proceed in many different ways. All of the aforementioned periods are linked together and have influence on each other and this is why one should not speed them up. In case we notice any abnormalities, for example late period of sitting, crawling, it is not tantamount to malformation and one should not force the child to take for example the sitting or standing position. All of the abnormalities should absolutely be consulted with the doctor.
We wish all the parents many happy moments spent with their babies.