Difference between Infant and Newborn

Key Difference: Infant and newborn, both these words are used to refer to a young offspring of human. Infant is generally used for babies who are one to twelve months old. The upper limit can also be up to two years or 24 months. On the other hand, newborns are those who are just few hours, days or weeks old.  Both are marked by different developmental characteristics.

The process of biological human growth passes through various stages. Two of the initial stages are known as infancy and newly born. After a baby is born, it goes through the natural cycle of development. A newborn or a neonate defines a child who is 0 to 30 days old.  This is a very critical stage of a baby as during this time, the body goes through immense physiological changes. The respiratory and heart rate of a newborn is much faster than that of an adult.

Newborns or neonates start showing sucking reflex movement, which means that they start sucking anything that is placed inside their mouth. Hearing gets fully matured at this phase. Newborns also tend to show interest in any object which is even 8 to 12 inches away from them.

Infant is used for a baby who is 1 to 12 months old. The upper limit can also extend upto 24 months for an infant. This is the stage that follows the newborn stage of the child. Considering it to be the first or first two years of one’s life, this time is marked with tremendous growth and mental development. Infants learn to walk and even try to manipulate objects around them. This stage is also marked with the development of deciduous teeth.

This is another important phase of childhood, as infants start learning through senses and they also start feeling the trust factor. Minimal Language is another key characteristic of this phase.

Thus, newborns and infants are different from each other. Newborn is generally associated with babies who are 0 to 30 days old. On the other hand, infant is used for babies between 1 month to 1 or 2 years. Both these phases are marked by different developmental issues.

Comparison between Infant and Newborn:





It is a term used to refer a baby who is 0 to 30 days old.

It is generally used to refer a baby who is aged between 1 month to 12 months (sometimes to 24 months)

Developmental issues

  • Stratle reflex, sucking reflex, rooting reflex
  • Begin gurgle, coo and grunt
  • Starts learning through senses, minimal language
  • Meet basic physical needs

Comforting techniques

Soft music, comfort positioning, singing, light up toys, etc.

Soft music, singing, videos, bubbles, favorite object,  etc


From new+born

From Latin infant- 'unable to speak', from in- 'not' + fant- 'speaking'

Image Courtesy: wikipedia.com, bunnyanddolly.com

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