– Benson.A.R,
Weight and development

 The care of Infant

 The careful weighing of an infant gives us the most reliable information in regard to its development. Infants lose and gain weight very easily and are affected by very slight physical disturbances. The weight of boys is, as a rule, more than that of girls at birth.
 The normal average weight of an infant at birth has been estimated as 7 pounds 2 ounces in the male, and 7 pounds in the female. It must be remembered, however, that healthy infants can weigh more or less than this. It is not unusual to find the birth weight varying from 5 to even 10 or 11 pounds. It should also be remembered that the gain in weight of infants is usually proportionate to their weight at birth. That is, an infant weighing 5 pounds at birth will gain less per week than an infant weighing 7 or 8 pounds. It is of no special significance, however, except as an indication of the individuality of infants.
 Many mothers seem to feel that their babies must weigh a certain amount and gain a certain amount in order to be normal. This is no more true of infants than adults. The important point is that the baby does gain regularly. As to the number of ounces it gains, so long as it is gradually increasing in weight, there is no hard and fast rule.
 Loss of Weight After Birth : During the first week of life there is usually a loss of from 4 to 8 ounces. The original birth weight may not be regained normally until the end of the second week. If, however, this weight is not regained at the end of the third week, it is a sign that the nutrition of the infant is at fault and measures should be taken to remedy it.
 In the first three months of life the gain in weight is most rapid of all.
 In the second three months it is less marked.
 In the third three months, owing probably to the fact that this is the period of most active dentition, the increase in weight reaches its lowest point, and sometimes the baby does not gain at all.
 In the fourth three months it progresses more rapidly.
 The following table indicates approximately the gain in weight for these periods :
 TOTAL GAIN  WEEKLY GAIN IN
 I N POUNDS    OUNCES
 First three months . . . . . . . . . .  5    6
 Second three months . . . . . . . .  4    5
 Third three months . . . . . . . . . . 2 1/2   3
 Fourth three months . . . . . . . . . 2 3/4   3
 The following table represents roughly the average weight of a boy from birth to 14 years :
 Birth, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7 pounds
 Five months, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 pounds
 One year, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 pounds
 Two years, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 pounds
 Three years, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 pounds
 Four years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 pounds
 Five years, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 pounds
 Six years, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 pounds
 Seven years, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 pounds
 Eight years, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53 pounds
 Nine years, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 pounds
 Ten years, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 pounds
 Eleven years, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70 pounds
 Twelve years, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 pounds
 Thirteen years, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 pounds
 Fourteen years, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 pounds
 In girls the corresponding weights are slightly less up to the age of thirteen years, but as girls develop more rapidly during the thirteenth and fourteenth years than boys, the corresponding weight is more during these years.
 It is useful to remember that the original birth weight is doubled at five months and trebled at fifteen.
 Concerning the whole question of gain in weight, there is too much of a tendency among mothers to lay stress upon such approximate tables as are given above. These are not exact, and are only useful as general guides. They must be interpreted broadly, and not relied upon absolutely.
 No alarm need be felt if there is variation in gain from day to day, or if some days there is no gain at all. The gain from week to week should be considered in normal babies, and it is not necessary to weigh a healthy baby oftener than once a week. The fact that the baby is gradually gaining and not losing is the important point, and we must bear in mind that no two babies are alike in regard to their weight.
 It is also true that babies sometimes gain too rapidly. The fat baby is not necessarily the healthy baby. Fat is often manufactured at the expense of bone and muscle, and it is as important to change the diet of such babies as those who do not gain. The problem is not one of gain alone, but of well balanced growth.
 The table given above are for breast fed infants, and bottle fed infants seldom gain as rapidly during the first month, because the stomach must accustom itself to the cow’s milk. After the first year, the gain in weight is not as important as during the first year of life.

Development
 Fontanel : The opening in the skull (anterior fontanel) closes normally at the eighteenth month. If it remains open two years, something is wrong.
 Mental Impressions : The infant seldom smiles before the fifth or sixth week. It does not recognize objects before the sixth or eighth week. Touch, taste, smell and probably hearing are more or less developed at birth.
 Voice : At about the twelfth month, infants begin to enunciate single words, and at two years form short sentences. They are likely to talk connectedly at three or four years, although there are great variations in individuals.
 Sitting and Standing : The child can hold up its head usually at the third or fourth month. At seven or eight months a healthy infant is able to sit erect and support the body. From the ninth to twelfth month it will bear its weight upon its feet and stand without assistance. At the fifteenth or sixteenth month, the average child is able to walk or run alone. All these functions are likely to be delayed in delicate or sickly children or those who have passed through difficulties in feeding.
 On account of the danger of deformities a child should never be urged to stand or walk. He will do this himself as soon as the muscles and bones are strong enough.

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