The journey of paediatrics from Vedic to neoteric
Childhood is not simply a biological construct but is intricately woven within the social fabric. The journey of childhood from a ‘miniature adult’ to ‘young human being’ has been associated with the evolution of paediatrics. Balachikitsa or Kaumarabhritya (paediatrics) is one of the eight specialties of Ayurveda. Intuitively, child-health begins with ante-natal care of the mother and the foetus, early breastfeeding, nursing and healthy upbringing of infants, appropriate nutrition, vaccinations and early stimulation. All these are affected by sociocultural factors. The role of paediatricians is changing from mere doctors to specialists providing holistic care to children including medical, social, family and rehabilitative care.