How much do you actually know about babies? You know that they're adorable, they cry a lot, and they seem to sleep most of the day — but beyond the basics, there's still so much more.
These baby facts help show that these mini-mes are pretty astounding little beings! If you're hoping to uncover some awesome facts about newborns and babies, we have a bassinet full of fun baby trivia for you to enjoy.
Newborn Babies Don't Produce Tears
As ridiculous as it sounds, a baby's tear ducts will not develop until they are at least two weeks of age (if not two months). This is because their nasolacrimal duct (otherwise known as their tear duct) is not fully developed when they are born. This means that those crying sessions in the first few weeks will be loud, but not tearful.
When a baby's tear duct doesn't develop properly, it can make them tear up all the time. This typically goes away by their first birthday, but sometimes it requires surgery. This was the case for my oldest son. Thankfully, while this surgery is stressful for the parents, it is a quick and relatively painless procedure for little ones.
Newborns Can't Enjoy the Taste of Salt
These days, it seems like there's a competition to get your baby to try 100 foods before their first birthday, but if salt is on the menu, you might want to wait. It turns out that infants under the age of three months (and sometimes as late as five months) cannot taste this flavor profile. However, they can appreciate savory, sour, and bitter flavors from birth, so once it's safe for them to try baby foods, spice things up!
Your Baby Might Come Out Covered in Hair
If your sweet little one comes out covered in hair, there's no need to schedule a wax! These soft, little hairs, called lanugo, form on their skin to help them stay warm in the womb, but some babies don't shed this body hair before making their grand debut.
This is most typically seen with premature babies, but 30% of full-term newborns still exhibit this condition. The good news is that within a few weeks following birth, these hairs will naturally fall off, leaving your baby with soft bare skin.
The Hair on Your Baby's Head Will Likely Fall Out
Just like the lanugo, your baby will sadly shed any hair they have on their head. This is triggered by the mom's pregnancy hormones. That's right — the hormones that helped grow those gorgeous locks during pregnancy are the same ones that helped the baby grow hair on their head.
However, once they leave the womb, the hormones disappear, which causes any hair that was currently in the resting phase to be released. This is only exacerbated by friction. Instead of floating in your womb, their little head is rubbing against their crib mattress, the playpen base, and their car seat.
Don't worry though! That beautiful head of hair will grow back pretty quickly, though it may not look anything like it did when they arrived.
Babies Have More Bones Than Adults
Babies don't just have a few extra bones in their bodies: they have almost 100 more! An adult human has 206 bones, while an infant has a whopping 300! Over time, many of these bones will fuse together.
Unfortunately, because they are growing, children's bones are more flexible, which means they are more likely to fracture, or even break, compared to that of an adult. Interestingly enough though, they also have a thick layer of connective tissue surrounding their bones that allows their bones to heal faster than adult bones!
Babies Are Born Without Kneecaps
All those bones, but no kneecaps?! Yep, your baby won't actually start forming their patella until they are two! When they are born, this area is simply covered with pieces of cartilage like you find in your nose.
Your Baby's Smell Is Actually Addicting
If you have ever wondered why you can't seem to resist the urge to pick up your baby and then not put them down, even when you are utterly exhausted, it could be because you are addicted to their smell.
University of Montreal researcher Johannes Frasnelli found that a newborn's scent triggers the pleasure center in their mother's brain — "the same circuits that light up when an addict gets drugs or you eat a juicy cheeseburger." Guess this is why it's so hard to sleep when the baby sleeps!
Your Baby Will Have Much Longer Fingernails Than You
This was a baby fact that I was quite unprepared for — I clip my nails every few weeks, so I was blissfully unaware of the fact that I would have to clip my boy's fingernails every few days (otherwise, they ended up looking like they got clawed by a cat). It turns out that baby fingernails can grow twice as fast as an adult!
Most Newborn Babies Have Blue Eyes, But Only a Few Will Keep Them
This baby fact is not a myth — most babies come out of the womb with blue eyes. Health experts note that the color of a person's iris "depends on a protein called melanin and special cells called melanocytes that secrete melanin. When the iris doesn't have a lot of melanin in it, the eye will be blue."
What you may not know is that melanocytes respond to light, so when you think about it, after spending a long time in a dark place, it's only logical that they would be blue. Once they are exposed to the light of the world after birth, the kids who are destined to have brown, green, or hazel eyes will continue to produce melanin and their eye color will darken.
Your Baby's Birthmarks May Disappear
When your baby is born, they will likely have a birthmark. Some kids are born with pigmented birthmarks, which are an overgrowth of cells that produce pigment. These are typically permanent and they can range in color.
Other kids, like mine, are born with vascular birthmarks. These occur when blood vessels don't form correctly. The most common type are called macular stains, which parents affectionately call stork bites or angel kisses. These normally fade within your baby's first two years of life.
There are also strawberry hemangiomas, which are more raised and much brighter in color. These grow quickly, and typically reach their maximum size around the three-month mark. These take much longer to go away, normally fading by your baby's 10th birthday.
Finally, there are port-wine stains, which look exactly like red wine was spilled on the skin. These tend to darken as the child ages and they are permanent.
Your Baby Can Get Acne
If you thought that acne didn't start until a kid hit their teens, you are sorely mistaken. Called neonatal acne, these unsightly blemishes typically occur around the two-week mark and normally disappear between the six and eight-week mark. As hard as it is, you will want to leave these spots alone. If you do, they will disappear and they will not leave a scar.
Newborns Have Extra Sensitive Skin on Their Faces, And This Can Help YOU
Speaking of skin, in the weeks following birth, the skin on your baby's face will be extra sensitive. This is because the face is where their sensory receptor development begins. Since their eyesight is fuzzy, this helps them to locate their mother's breast to feed.
Interestingly, this baby fact can benefit new parents greatly. You see, thanks to this sensitivity, you can quickly calm your baby and even provide pain relief, simply by gently stroking the skin on their face. This is a great way to get them to sleep quickly and stop those colicky crying fits!
A Newborn Baby's First Poop Doesn't Smell
Poop that doesn't smell? Sign me up! But before you get too excited about this fact about newborns, meconium, otherwise known as your baby's first poop, is thick, sticky, and looks like tar. Pretty disgusting, right?
The reason this stuff doesn't smell is because it's only comprised of things consumed in the womb, and is therefore sterile. Once gut bacteria begins to grow with the introduction of food, then you will quickly discover how smelly babies can be and maybe want to go back to the tar!
Knowing Baby Facts Can Help You Better Prepare for the Surprises of Parenthood
Parenthood brings a ridiculous number of unexpected surprises, no matter how much you try to prepare. Knowing weird baby facts can help you handle certain hurdles with ease and avoid a lot of stress!