Baby Care and Development

Infants cry as a form of basic instinctive communication to their parents when in need of feeding and also in discomfort or feeling neglected. These cries can be heard or seen using a babycam.

Feeding is typically done by breastfeeding, or bottle feeding with expressed breast-milk or with a special, heavily processed industrial milk product, "infant formula".[1] Infants have a sucking instinct allowing them to extract the milk from the nipples of the breasts or the nipple of the baby bottle, as well as an instinctive behavior known as rooting with which they seek out the nipple. Sometimes a wet nurse is hired to feed the infant. Breastfeeding provides infants with many natural immune substances and isolates the infant from most bacteria or other contaminants in the local water supply. Infant formula does not provide these immune substances and in places with poor quality water supply, subjects the infant to an increased risk of disease. Only breast milk is considered to have all that an infant requires to grow normally (thrive), although formula undergoes frequent alterations in order to more closely imitate human milk. [2]

As infants age, and their appetites grow, many parents choose from a variety of commercial, ready-made baby foods to feed the child, while others adapt their usual meals for the dietary needs of their child.

Infants are incontinent, therefore diapers are generally used in industrialized countries, while methods similar to elimination communication[3] are common in third world countries. Practitioners of these techniques assert that babies can control their bodily functions at the age of six months and that they are aware when they are urinating at an even earlier age. Babies can learn to signal to the parents when it is time to urinate or defecate by turning or making noises. Parents have to pay attention to the baby's actions so they can learn the signals.

Children need a relatively larger amount of sleep to function correctly (up to 18 hours for newborn babies, with a declining rate as the child ages), specially after feeding.

Babies cannot walk, although more mature infants may crawl or scoot; baby transport may be by perambulator (stroller or buggy), on the back or in front of an adult in a special carrier, cloth or cradle board, or simply by being carried in the arms.

Most industrialized countries have laws requiring infants to be placed in special seats when in motor vehicles.

As is the case with most other young children, infants are usually treated as special persons. Their social presence is different from that of adults, and they may be the focus of attention. Fees for transportation and entrance fees at locations such as amusement parks or museums are often waived. This special attention will wear out as the child grows older.

Common care issues for infants:

  • Baby colic
  • Childhood development
  • Hygiene:
    • Bathing or showering.
    • Cord and navel.
  • Day care
  • Diaper rash
  • Feeding: Breastfeeding or Infant formula (Baby bottle)
  • Immunization
  • Paternal bond
  • Pacifier use
  • Sleep: bassinet and infant bed.
  • Teething

Baby development


Baby Garments


Babies need to be protected against chilliness and other potential endangerments which can influence the health of the little ones.

See also


Medical Disclaimer


Wikibooks contains books on many medical topics; however, no warranty whatsoever is made that any of the books are accurate. There is absolutely no assurance that any statement contained or cited in a book touching on medical matters is true, correct, precise, or up-to-date. The overwhelming majority of such books are written, in part or in whole, by nonprofessionals. Even if a statement made about medicine is accurate, it may not apply to you or your symptoms.

The medical information provided on Wikibooks is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor/physician, nurse, pharmacist/chemist, and so on). Wikibooks is not a doctor.

None of the individual contributors, system operators, developers, sponsors of Wikibooks nor anyone else connected to Wikibooks can take any responsibility for the results or consequences of any attempt to use or adopt any of the information presented on this web site.

Nothing on or included as part of any project of Wikimedia Foundation Inc., should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a medical opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of medicine.



  1. "Powdered Infant Formula: An Overview of Manufacturing Processes". Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
  2. Carver, Jane D. (June 2003). "Advances in nutritional modifications of infant formulas". Am. J. Clin. Nutr. American Society for Clinical Nutrition. 77 (6): 1550–1554. PMID 12812153. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
  3. "Elimination Communication". Yahoo! Groups. Retrieved 2007-03-27.