Kids Growth and Development

Learn to understand and deal with your child's changing body and mind, with some useful information on your kids growth and development.

Growth: the natural increase in body size as well as sizes of different organs. This is achieved by cell multiplication and by increase in the intracellular substances

Development: maturation of organs and systems, gaining of skills and ability of adaptation & assuming responsibilities

Stages of Growth & Development:

a. Embryonic stage
1st 12 weeks of pregnancy during which the fertilized ovum differentiates into an organism

b. Fetal stage
12-40 weeks of pregnancy characterized by rapid growth & development

c. Perinatal stage
Start of labor to end of 1st 24 hours after birth

d. Postnatal stage

1. Neonatal period:
1st month of life
most critical period
main problems are prematurity, birth injuries, cong anomalies & infection

2. Infancy:
1-12 months
main problems are infection & nutritional dis.

3. Preschool child (toddler)
1-4 years
accidents, nutrition & infection problems

4. School child
5-12 yr
accidents, infection, rheumatic fever, malignancies (leukemia & lymphoma), psychological & emotional problems.

5. Adolescence
12-20 yr
period of passage from childhood to adulthood
psychological, rheumatic fever, malignancies, DM., accidents, sex-hormone-related problems.

Factors Affecting Growth & Development:

1. genetic factors e.g. achondroplasia
2. endocrinal: growth, thyroid, sex hormones are essential for normal growth. e.g. cong. hypothyroidism
3. environmental e.g health of mom during preg. & socioeconomic status of family
4. nutritional
5. cong. anomalies e.g. cong. heart ds.
6. chronic Dis. e.g. TB
7. activity: bedridden child will not grow normally


Growth is assessed by:
a. anthropometric measures: wt, ht, head circumference
b. teething
c. osseous maturation

-Most prematures will catch up & grow @ same rate.
-Newborn (N.B.) ht for non-recombinant while length for recombinant

Growth spurt:
- sudden increase in height b4 puberty
- earlier in girls (11-13 yr) than boys ( 6 mth- 1 yr later).
- girls (16-17 yr)stop 2 grow earlier than boys (up to 21 yr)

Short Stature:

Take ht of this child & plot it on the growth chart.
N.B. in assessing chart it is more important to see that there is a linear increase along the same percentile rather than the actual numbers.

if there is growth increment on a percentile, then he is normal even if he is short compared 2 his siblings also, take good Hx looking for chronic Ds. e.g. B.asthma, SCD etc. & chromosomal abnormalities e.g. Down’s see if parents are short.

- KSA, overweight > under weight
- causes of decreased weight:

  • congenital heart disease.
  • malabsorption.
  • chronic Liver disease.
  • CNS disease.
  • renal disease.

    • - causes of overweight:

    • mostly d/t over eating
    • few d/t Cushing’s syndrome
      • ** educate about diet, exercise but usually fail in Rx

        There is an initial period of weight loss in the first 3-4 days d/t redistribution of body fluids with loss of extra-fluid in the ECF. It is estimated as 10% in full term & 15 % in preterm

        - motor & mental development
        - composed of:

      • fine motor
      • gross motor
      • language
      • personal-social

      • - if there is a delay in milestones, we have 2 know the cause
        as early as possible 2 Rx it & prevent its consequences.
        e.g. in hypothyroidism, each 1 month delay in Dx is almost equal to 1 yr delay in development (mental & motor).

        Also, if a child has minimal motor development, if u give physiotherapy he will be able 2 walk

        milestones are assessed by DENVER scale

        For the following tables click to enlarge.

        Head Circumference:


        Development Milestones:

        Reference: Nelson Pediatric Textbook 18th Ed.

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        Newborn Care For First Time Moms

        Newborn Care - You can never be prepared once your bundle of joy is born, especially for first time mommies. Being a mom for the first time is not that easy but nonetheless it requires dedication because a baby's needs are urgent, continuous & often unclear. Both you & your baby will have to adjust, just give yourself some time. Get to know your baby.

        Now that you & your baby are home, the next question that will come to mind is "how do/will I take care of a newborn?" Below are some of the questions most mothers have asked me:

        Is it ok to bathe my baby even if he's only a few days old?

        Yes, it is a must to bathe a baby everyday provided that the water for bathing should be warm so that your baby will not get chills. Make sure to get a bed-like shift to place your baby into while bathing so that there will be no slips or accidents occurring during bath time. As for soaps & shampoo, use something that is mild and hypoallergenic for baby's skin. If you notice any change in your baby's skin (i.e. Redness, rashes, lesions, etc.), stop using the current soap and consult your pediatrician.

        After bathing, clean your baby's umbilical stump (if it still hasn't come off) using cotton with alcohol. Make sure to clean it three times a day. If the stump has fallen off already, clean the insides as well by using a cotton bud w/ antiseptic to prevent infection from taking place.

        How much milk am I suppose to give my baby?

        A growing baby needs all the nutrients you can give. During his first few days of life, a baby can tolerate 1oz of milk every 2-3 hours (approx. 8-9 times/day).

        Milk Formula vs Breast Milk

        As much as possible, it is much better to give your baby breastmilk. Breastmilk is already good enough to meet a baby's growing needs and your baby gets an added bonus of immunoglobulin to help your baby fight off sickness. Unless, your baby has problems in digesting milk (lactose intolerance, milk allergy, etc) then it is best to use a milk formula suited for your baby's needs.

        As your baby grows each day, the amount of food he takes in also increases. So, if your baby still cries after giving him his usual amount of milk, then its time to increase the volume of milk in small increments of the usual amount you give.

        During feeding, it is a must to carry your baby and position him at approximately 45 degree angle to prevent your baby from aspirating milk into his lungs.

        After every feeding, make sure you burp your baby. This can be from a few minutes to about an hour. A baby thats not being burped properly can be irritated. This may be due to having a gassy abdomen or Filipino counterpart is "kabag".

        Another important aspect of caring for your baby is by giving him his vaccinations to help his immune system fight off preventable diseases. Your pediatrician will advise you when he should receive his vaccines.

        Frequent follow-up with your paediatrician is important so that you will also be aware about his growth and developmental status

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