You expected your baby to be adorable and tiny and sweet, but you might not have expected him to be quite so … weird. It’s true: Newborns are quirky little creatures, with all sorts of odd traits and behaviors that often take new parents by surprise.
Some of these weird qualities are funny, some might seem scary, and others are a little gross, but all of them are completely normal. And don’t worry, most of them will go away over time!
New borns don’t cry real tears
Your infant probably does a lot of crying (like, a LOT), but did you ever notice he’s not actually shedding any tears? That’s because until the age of 8 months, many babies don’t have fully developed tear ducts, so they don’t produce actual tears (just enough moisture to coat the surface of their eyes).
Their kneecaps are not made of bones
You might have heard the myth that newborns don’t have kneecaps at all (weird!) but that’s not exactly true — their kneecaps are made out of cartilage, which morphs mostly into bone between the ages of 3 and 5. (The soft cartilage allows for growth.)
They can breathe and swallow at the same time
If you’ve ever wondered how it is that your infant can guzzle down breast milkor formula seemingly without coming up for air, it’s because his throat is shaped differently than yours (temporarily). Up until the age of about 3 months, the larynx is very high in the nasal cavity, acting like a snorkel of sorts, so babies can swallow and breathe at the same time. After that, the larynx drops lower in the throat, a transition that makes it easier for your little one to talk (and choke, unfortunately!).
Their heart beats super fast
If you put your hand on your baby’s chest and her heartbeat feels like a hummingbird’s wings, don’t panic! Newborns have much higher heart rates than adults do, averaging about 100 to 150 beats per minute (resting adult heart rates run at about 60 to 70). That’s because they have to maintain a higher metabolic rate — babies have lots of growing to do!
If you remember what happened during the delivery of your baby, you would know that you were not the only one doing the hard work. Your baby struggled to get past down the birth canal too – so is it any wonder that newborns are usually quite swollen-looking in the beginning? And since a newborn’s head is very soft and malleable, some flattening can occur during the process too! A flat head can also be the result of too much lying on the back – but since that is the ONLY position your baby should sleep in, make sure you increase their tummy time!
Random jerky and spastic movements
This is another common occurrence in newborns that might seem like cause for alarm, but is actually anything but. Baby makes a lot of random jerky movements in the first few months mainly because many developmental changes are still happening in their tiny body. These random jerky movements are also what will hone their startle reflex so they will often startle themselves awake. This is where you as a parent come in! Swaddling your baby will reduce these movements and help them sleep more soundly.
The endless hiccups
While we mostly hiccup because we eat or drink too much or too quickly, babies hiccup for an entirely different reason altogether! The theory is that a newborn’s breathing and swallowing aren’t synchronised yet – so sometimes, these are done together, triggering the hiccups! The hiccups will go away when they have synchronised these abilities. And yes, even unborn babies will get the hiccups!
There could be a number of reasons to this, none of which warrants the need for a call to the paediatrician. Your newborn could be trying to get rid of amniotic fluid from their respiratory airways, or they could just be extra-sensitive to everything as they are new to this world. While you are probably already immune to most of the foreign particles that could make their way up your nasal passage, your newborn isn’t.
I mean, what’s up with that? A tad creepy as it may be, this phenomenon has a rather simple explanation behind it: remember all the crazy hormones that tormented you throughout your pregnancy? Turns out, they took a toll on your baby too as exposure to these hormones can cause breast tissue to develop! But rest assured that it is very normal for babies to develop these enlarged breasts – they will go away in a few weeks’ time once the hormones have worn off. And definitely don’t worry too, if a little milk is expressed when they are pinched.
Explosive liquid poop
For this reason, it doesn’t take much power for a baby to propel his/her poop across a room – hence, making parents deal with explosive poop splashed all over the newly painted nursery wall!