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6 FACTORS THAT CAN AFFECT THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR BABY

Several governing factors can be accumulated to chart out the negative impacts on a baby's health. Likewise, there are Internal and external factors that come in play when a baby starts growing, often which we have no control over. So, as parents, you should responsibly understand the nuances of the factors having negative impacts on them. 

Defining Growth and Development would help you understand the finer nuances of these factors. Although growth and development are being used almost synonymously, they have their respective meanings. Growth is incremental, something which we can see for ourselves - height and weight changes. But development is mostly associated with qualitative changes that cause maturity with an increase. 

So, instead of treating them as synonyms, their complementary behavior needs to be understood since they are inseparable and simultaneous. For instance, babies tend to weigh around 8-10 kgs on a tentative scale when they reach the age of 8 months. They are mostly able to sit up as well around this age period. 

Now, coming to the factors - there will be factors weighing in from nature and nurture since they do have that lingering contribution to a baby's growth and development, healthy or otherwise. However, nature endows your baby with constant influences; it is the nurture that deals with the variables. 

Here are 6 significant factors that can potentially have negative impacts on your baby's health.

 

1. Lack of exercise and associated activities

The exercise here is not being used in the traditional sense of physical training. It refers to the playtime and sports activities that become an incremental factor for them to garner bone mass and muscle strength. So, lack of it would only be detrimental and become a deterrent to their quantitative growth. 

What can you do: Helping your baby engage with small exercise patterns. It can be anything as long as they are playful and engaging. Exercises do help babies strengthen their immune system. If you take them outdoors for such activities, it helps them stave off diseases since outdoor play would expose them to microbes that will build up their immune structure and prevent allergies. 

 

2. A non-baby-friendly environment 

This factor is often undermined, but it is as critical as it sounds. The environment is one of the many governing factors that represents the culmination of psychological and physical stimulation that they receive. So, these are fundamental factors; lack of it otherwise would be detrimental to your baby's health. Environmental factors can weigh-in on the baby's development, especially within a geographical and physical context. 

What can you do: A baby needs to be in a nurturing environment. A loving family can help a baby develop the intuition that would eventually help them with their interpersonal skills and communication. But with babies brought up in a stressful environment, the development can be hindered. 

 

3. Air Pollutants 

Although the long-term effects of babies being exposed to outdoor air pollutants aren't understood, indoor contaminants can have a diverse impact on a baby's developing lungs. Indoor contaminants mainly get generated from combustion emitting nitrogen dioxide, particulates, CO and sulfur dioxides, and even from indoor tobacco smoking. Health effects may range from light respiratory irritation to wheezing and coughing, allergic response, cancer, asthma, et al. These effects were studied by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2003

What can you do: You can minimize the use of resources from where these indoor air pollutants emitted. Tobacco smoking when there is a baby in the house is strictly prohibited - this factor, however, is a lot under your control. 

 

4. Malnutrition 

Lack of Nutrition is yet another critical factor that affects a baby's health, quite evidently so. Nutrition is critically required to give the body what it needs, i.e., to repair and build itself. So, Malnutrition leaves an adverse impact on a baby's health, leading to deficiency diseases. They can equally be detrimental to their growth and development. 

What can you do: You can chart out a healthy diet for your baby. Consult with your pediatrician and be in the loop for check-ups for any weight discrepancies. A balanced diet that is rich in minerals, proteins, vitamins, and fats can amplify the development of your baby's body and brain. However, overeating is not advised since it can lead to obesity and eventual health issues. 

 

5. Lack of familial influence 

A baby needs to be under constant supervision and support, which usually comes from a family. The way a baby is nurtured determines their eventual patterns of development and growth. Regardless of how they were raised, babies need care, love, and courtesy to become healthy individuals. Families or primary caregivers who are neglect or abuse deters any possibility of healthy and positive development. 

What can you do: As parents, you can be the structural support of your baby. Helicopter parenting, however, can incur a negative impact since the child will be overly dependent on their parents, even when they grow up. The most positive growth and development is noticed within families that invest time, love, and energy on their baby. 

 

6. Food Contaminants 

Food Contaminants can have broad categorization as either toxic or pathogenic. Pathogenic agents contain viruses, parasites, and bacteria that generate toxins. Food contaminants do harm babies, which can lead to hyperactivity or even developmental neurotoxicity from the exposure of pesticides in food. 

What to do: While baby food, which is often prescribed, they are complimentary meals. The primary source of your baby's meal should be handled with hygiene, and the source of the same should be fresh, organic, and toxin-free. 

 

Wrapping Up 

Although nature contributes to the growth and development of a baby, nurture is what determines more. Some of these factors are controllable, while others remain out of your control proximity. But there are few fundamental things that you can ensure - the baby gets enough sleep, their nutritional intake, exercise habits et al. 

 

Related blog: 6 common hand, foot, and mouth diseases common in children

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