Infant or Baby
Infant comes from the Latin in-fans, meaning unable to speak. It is commonly used as a slightly more formal word for baby (the youngest category of child). A newborn baby is known as a neonate.
Infant mortality is the death of infants in the first year of life. Major causes of infant mortality include congenital malformation, infection and SIDS. Neonatal mortality is a subcategory which only includes deaths in the first 27 days of life. Post-neonatal death is a subcategory which only includes deaths after 28 days of life but before one year.
This epidemiological indicator is recognized as an important measure of the level of healthcare in a country because it is directly linked with the health status of infants, children, and pregnant women as well as access to medical care, socioeconomic conditions, and public health practices.
Newborn babies are born with their skin coated with a white substance known as vernix caseosa, which is hypothesized to act as an antibacterial barrier. Newborns look physically different than prototypical older infants. They typically suffered minor trauma during birth resulting in a deformed skull (i.e. compressed and pointed), puffy eyes, various discharges, blotchy and wrinkled skin. The Apgar score is a measure of a newborn health.
Feeding is done by breastfeeding or with special industrial milk, "infant formula". Babies have a sucking instinct allowing them to extract the milk from the nipples of the breasts or of the nipple of the baby bottle. If the mother is unable to breast feed, or doesn't want to, infant formula is used in Western countries. In third world countries, a wet nurse is hired to feed the baby.
Breastfeeding provides babies with many natural immune substances and isolates the baby from most bacteria or other contaminations in the local water supply. Infant formula does not provide these immune substances and in places with poor quality water supply subjects the baby to disease which it would not be subjected to if breastfed.
Infants are incontinent, therefore diapers are generally used. They cannot walk, although more mature infants may crawl; transport for the infant may be by perambulator (stroller) or on the back or in front of an adult in a special bag or cloth. Unlike most older individuals, babies often cry without apparent cause.
As is the case of most of other young children, the social presence of infants is different from that of adult individuals. They are usually treated as special persons. They may be the focus of attention. On the other hand, fees for transportation and entrance fees at locations such as amusement parks or museums are often waived; this is generally because the baby is only there because it cannot be left at home, and is not there for its own enjoyment.
Infanticide is to kill an infant, usually by parents or parents of young parents. The act is usually committed because the baby was undesired for financial or emotional reasons or because inducing abortion was too dangerous for the pregnant woman. The vast majority of societies agree that infanticide is highly immoral and is not practiced in most countries today. Some people regard infanticide as the extension of abortion but most distinguish it from direct abortion.