Many people make the mistake of assuming that babies and children are just miniature adults in smaller packages. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They differ greatly in their body size proportions, ligamentous and muscle-bone strengths. The human body is constantly growing and developing from birth until old age. However, this growth is not uniform and is often sporadic.
Before birth, the baby’s brain size accounts for 25% of its total birth weight, but it becomes 10%of its body weight afterbirth. This is because the brain volume increases rapidly during fetal development compared to other organs. As the baby continues to grow post-birth, it slowly increases its body fat at a rate of almost two pounds per month. In fact, the birth weight would have tripled by the time the baby reaches his or her first birthday.
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The growth of the baby also differs depending on which gender it belongs to. In general, they have similar growth until they reach around 10 to 11 years.
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After they cross this threshold, it has been observed that girls tend to have a pubertal growth spurt. The boys catch up and become taller than girls in most cases when they reach their mid-teens. The variation in height among boys and girls is observed during the 10 to 14 age spans.
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When a baby is born, its head forms almost one-fourth of its total body length. It is no wonder that the brain of a newborn comes to almost 10% of its birth weight. This is why the centre of gravity of children differs according to age, body form, and sitting posture. Newborn babies have a face-to-cranium ratio of 1:8 compared to 1:2.5 among adults. This is due to the larger size of the frontal lobe of the brain among newborns.
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The head circumference of a baby increases by almost 17% during the first three months after birth and then increases to 25% when they reach six months. This comes down when the baby turns one year old. The head circumferences of babies are recorded during their health checkups in the first year of their life to ensure that they are on track with no developmental problems.
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Another interesting fact about young babies is that the arrangement of their skull bones and the segmental development makes their skulls considerably pliable. The skulls are more or less like a loosely joined system of different bones. The brain is often covered by a thin fibrous sheath. This is why babies have soft spots on their skull, especially in the frontal and posterior regions of the skull.
The skulls start closing the gaps once the baby turns 8 weeks post-birth, the bone growth in the skull continues till the baby turns 17 months. This is why you need to be very careful while looking after newborns during the first couple of months.
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Although the brain of a newborn baby accounts for almost ten per cent of its entire body weight, this starts changing soon as the baby starts putting on body fat at a rapid pace till their first birthday.
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