They cry, they poop, they make a mess of themselves. Some people find them cute and others can’t stand them. Marketers worry that the next generation is not having enough of them, and most people can’t afford one anymore. We all used to be one, though most of us don’t remember those days. Today’s blog article is about babies.
They can swim at birth.
Well, sort of. Babies under six months old are instinctive swimmers. They automatically hold their breath when emersed in water, their heart rate slows and their blood vessels restrict to conserve oxygen. For some reason all babies lose this instinct by 6 months old. (That being said, don’t go dipping your newborn underwater please!)
They have no kneecaps.
Actually, babies do have the roots of kneecaps. They are born with cartilage in the knee joint but it hasn’t become a kneecap just yet. Over time this cartilage hardens into bone and becomes the kneecap that we all know.
Newborns don’t cry tears.
The tear ducts do produce tears at this age, but it’s in such a small amount that it’s unable to form teardrops. It will be at least two weeks before a newborn’s eyes will produce larger amounts of tears, and they may be one to three months old before visible tears appear.
They’re covered with hair in the womb.
This stuff is called lanugo, and it shows up when a fetus is around sixteen to twenty weeks old. So what’s the purpose of all this hair on the body? Well, it protects the skin from the wet environment and allows the fetus to maintain its body temperature. The grossest part of this whole deal is when the baby sheds the hair in the womb and ingests it, making its first poop, known as meconium.
They don’t see colors very well.
Not when they’re first born. It’s thought by neurologists that babies can actually see the colors, but their brains are not ready to process them right out of the gate. It will be a few weeks from birth before this begins to happen. The first color babies are able to perceive is red, and the last colors are blue and purple.
They can hear in the womb.
Fetuses are about eighteen weeks old when this process begins. This is how long it takes for the cells to grow into actual ears. They become more sensitive to sound at twenty-four weeks, and by twenty-five to twenty-six weeks they are able to react to the sound of a voice.
They have more bones than adults.
Babies have 300 bones at birth, compared to an adult’s 206. The infant’s bones will begin to fuse together throughout childhood, eventually solidifying into the bones we are familiar with as grownups.
They explore with their mouths.
Babies study the world by putting things into their mouths, which is why it’s so important to keep an eye on them when they explore. They process the world through taste and texture, so they taste just about everything to check it out. Babies have around 30,000 taste buds that allow them to process these things. Only a third of these tastebuds survive into adulthood, which is why children’s tastes evolve over time.
They grow very rapidly.
Babies have incredible growth rates. By five months old they have doubled their birth weight and have tripled that birth weight by a year old. Between six months and a year they gain about three eighths of an inch per week. If older children grew at this rate, they would be giants.
They can lactate and menstruate.
Sort of. Both sexes can experience breast swelling and the leakage of white fluid from the nipples. Baby girls may experience minor vaginal bleeding that mimics a period. This happens when babies absorb their mother’s estrogen in the womb and usually clears up within a few weeks.
There is a phenomenon known as infantile amnesia, where people forget everything before the age of two or three years old. Honestly I don’t think we’ve lost those memories at all, we just have no way to access them anymore. It’s like using a Commodore 64 and suddenly changing to a modern all-in-one with Windows 11. You no longer have access to the old computer memories and you’ve forgotten how to use the floppy disks they’re written on. If we could find a way to use the old mental equipment, it’s amazing what knowledge we could access.
Popular Science- www.popsci.com
Cleveland Clinic- www.clevelandclinic.org
Baby Center- www.babycenter.com
The Guardian- www.theguardian.com
Mayo Clinic- www.mayoclinic.org