10 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Babies
Babies are many things: cute, gross, stressful and funny, in addition to being genuinely fascinating. Their bodies are the same as ours, but work very differently until they become more developed. Given that they can’t speak for themselves, we know a lot about their amazing secrets.
1. Parents Need to Master the Art of Nappy-Changing… Fast
Babies go through around 8,000 nappies until they’re toilet-trained, so both parents need to be able to change them at the drop of a hat. It’s a process that starts early – the first stool usually occurs at some point in the first twenty-four hours, so parents need to be fully stocked with nappies ahead of birth. If it takes any longer, doctors may look for any indication that something hasn’t developed properly.
2. Newborns Don’t Shed Tears
image via indigoandcanary.com
Although newborn babies will certainly let you know if they’re unhappy, they’re technically not crying because their tear ducts won’t be developed enough to create tears until they’re between one and three months old. Howling, yes.Wailing, yes.Screeching, definitely. But crying? Not really.
3. Most Babies are Born with Blue Eyes
Non-white ethnicities have more melanin, which helps determine hair, eye and skin pigment, in their systems, so their eyes tend to be brown from birth to death. Caucasians have less melanin so their hair and eyes can change colour as they grow older (up to around nine months or a year old).
Blue eyes are a sign of low melanin, but the amount of melanin can increase over time – the more melanin someone has, the darker their eyes will be. Therefore, a blue-eyed baby can become a green or brown-eyed baby as their melanin levels rise.
4. One in Three Infants has a Birthmark
image via community.healthywomen.org
We all know someone with a birthmark. The odds that you don’t are pretty high – 66%, in fact. This is because one in three infants are born with a birthmark, the majority of which never fade. That’s a much higher number than many people realise, butif these birthmarks are not visible, how are we to know that they exist at all?
5. Newborns have Monkey-Strength Grip
Not that this is something you’ll ever test in good conscience, but a newborn baby can support his own weight if dangled off a branch or something similar – in 1891, one baby was recorded as being able to dangle for two-and-a-half minutes.
This is a trait that humans share with monkeys, which have to cling onto their mothers and onto trees as soon as they are born. Obviously wemainly get carted around in prams and pushchairs until we learn to walk, so we lose our super grip between six and twelve months of age. Good to know we have the option, though.
6. Babies’ Eyes are 75% of their Adult Size When they are Born
image via 7-themes.com
If you’ve ever thought that either your baby’s eyes are massive or their head is worryingly small, fear not – a baby’s eyes are 75% of their adult size when they are born, so their features will become more proportionate as they get older. Although ears and noses keep growing forever, so proportion is probably a fluid term to use here.
7. Babies Grow Moustaches in the Womb that they Eat
This is so gross that it feels like everyone must know about it, but staggeringly people are unaware about the moustache that babies grow while they’re in the womb. This moustache, which eventually spreads all over the body, is called lanugo and falls out prior to birth (if you’re lucky) – the baby then eats it and it becomes part of its first stool after birth. Which is nice.
8. Babies are Born with More Bones than Adults
If you’ve ever sat through a biology lecture, you’ll know that the human body has 206 bones – babies, however, are born with around 300! These “extra” bones fuse together as the infant develops and the need for organ protection becomes more important.
For instance, the cranium will eventually become one plate, but it’s divided into three at the time of birth so the baby’s head can more easily pass through the birth canal.
9. Babies are Born Without Kneecaps
image via myminimocs.blogspot.com
Two bones babies lack at birth, though, are the kneecaps. Technically, they do have them, but they’re only cartilage until they ossify and turn into actual bone. This process is usually complete when the child is between three and five years of age.
10. You Might not be Able to Name Him or Her Whatever You Want…
image via thebullelephant.com
Thought your baby’s name was your domain? WRONG. Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and China all have official guidelines (no product names, the name must not have a negative effect on the child’s wellbeing, etc) and lists of approved names that parents have to abide by – if they want to name their child something else, they may be allowed to apply (usually for a fee). So think about it before you make a firm decision on little Motorhead.