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Supporting physical development in early childhood
Supporting physical development in early childhood

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1.1 Years 0–2

The body grows more rapidly in the first six months of life after birth than at any other time. Healthy newborns will double their birthweight by the time they are 4–5 months old and triple it by their first birthday. The average weight gain throughout this period is 6.6 kg and the gain in length/height is 25 cm. By 2 years most healthy toddlers are approximately half their adult height. The average gain in height between 1–2 years is 12 cm and between 2–3 years it is 8 cm but there is no routine measurement taken during this time. In terms of weight gain, between 1–2 years it is around 2.4 kg (5 lbs) and between 2–3 years it is 2 kg. In the UK, children are routinely weighed at around 12 months and again during their review between 2–2.5 years.

You will now look at the role of health professionals in supporting the growth of babies and very young children.

The role of the midwife in ensuring good antenatal care and in monitoring the progress of mother and baby up to ten days after birth is important to recognise. If all is going well, the Health Visitor takes over the care of mother and baby at this time.

Listen to Audio 1 in which Julia, a Health Visitor, tells you why certain measurements are usually taken from babies at birth, during their 6–8-week check, then again at their 9–12-month review. She also explains the relevance of the Personal Child Health Record that in England is also known as the ‘red book’ or ‘e-redbook’.

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Audio 1
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  • What Julia has been describing is relevant to England. If you are not based in England, does the provision for midwives and health visitors work the same way in your country? If not, how and why is it different? Do you have a personal child health record or something similar to it?

Now complete Activity 1.

Activity 1

Read the case study about a community worker below and then answer the questions that follow.

Case study: Marion

Marion is a community worker who runs a local parent/toddler group. One of the mums, Amina is a recent immigrant to the UK. Her son, Karim is aged 2 years and she is pregnant with her second child.

Amina is in the early stages of learning English and is reluctant to engage with the available health services. She seems unsure what the role of the Health Visitor is.

If you were in Marion’s situation, how would you best support this young mother?

What three points made by Julia in Audio 1 do you think may encourage Amina to engage with the support available to her during her pregnancy and with Karim?

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You may have considered some of the following responses to Marion’s case study:

  • Are there any cultural issues that may impact Amina’s independent contact with available services?
  • Are there issues around accessing paper-based/English language resources?
  • Is Amina aware of Karim’s 2-year-old review?
  • Is Amina aware that Karim may be eligible for 15 hours childcare per week?
  • Is the family registered with a GP/HV?