“Infant” is derived from the Latin word, “ infans,” meaning “unable to speak.” Thus, many define infancy as the period from birth to approximately 2 years of age, when language begins to flourish. It is an exciting period of“firsts”—first smile, first successful grasp, first evidence of separation anxiety, first word, first step, first sentence. The infant is a dynamic, ever-changing being who undergoes an orderly and predictable sequence of neurodevelopmental and physical growth. This sequence is influenced continuously by intrinsic and extrinsic forces that produce individual variation and make each infant’s developmental path unique. Intrinsic influences include the child’s physical characteristics, state of wellness or illness, temperament, and other genetically determined attributes. Extrinsic influences during infancy originate primarily from the family: the personalities and style of caregiving by parents and siblings,the family’s economic status with its impact on resources of time and money, and the cultural milieu into which...

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