Odd facts about newborns that no one tells you
When you bring your baby home for the first time, there are things they do that may be terrifying for you, but they are completely normal. Here are 10 of them:
Pulsing head and soft spots
Newborns have two soft spots on their heads, one in front of the head and the other one at the back of the head, which are called “fontanels”.
These are actually the areas where the bones do not meet. The soft spots make vaginal delivery possible and allow for your baby’s brain to continue to develop after delivery.
You may notice that one of the spots can be pulsing because blood is rushing through the veins causing the pulsing effect as the rhythm of the heartbeat.
The smaller spot at the back of the head is known as the posterior fontanelle and closes within the first 6 to 8 weeks of life. The larger spot, at the front of the head, is diamond-shaped, known as the anterior fontanelle which can take up to 18 months to close.
The soft spot is protected by a strong membrane, however, do not press the soft spot, to avoid injury.
For the first few months after birth, it is normal for your baby to get cross-eyed a few times. Don’t worry. They will not look like that forever. This normal occurrence is due to a lack of development at this stage in their lives. But by the time a baby is 4 to 6 months old, the eyes usually straighten out.
Newborn chin quiver
Your baby’s neurological system is still developing and thus it sends more than necessary electrical impulses to the muscles. This can cause your baby’s chin to quiver or their legs to tremble. So do not panic, it does not necessarily mean that your baby is cold.
Sleeping too much for the first 24 hours
In the first 24 hours, your baby can sleep for almost 18 hours, this is because they are tired after the efforts of being born. This is quite normal as long as they wake up for breastfeeding from time to time. Newborns have small stomachs, so they get full quickly. Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula-feeding, being held close and comfortably enhances their sleepiness.
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Your baby may sneeze a lot because he or she is extra sensitive to most things. The sneezing is a way of them getting rid of tiny foreign particles in the nasal passage and not necessarily a symptom of sickness.
Exaggerated startle (Moro) reflex
Newborns easily get startled. When they respond to loud and sudden noise, their entire body suddenly jolts and they throw up their hands. Sometimes they can do this with no trigger. The startle reflex is a brainstem reflectory reaction that serves to protect vulnerable parts, such as the back of the neck and the eyes. It develops between 28-32 weeks of gestation and disappears between 3-6 months of age.
You may have noticed your baby suddenly “startling” while sleeping or when trying to put them down to sleep. Some newborns might even wake up from their sleep because of this startle reflex. If this happens to your baby, you can swaddle them so they will sleep better and longer. Read more about the benefits of swaddling your baby and how to swaddle a newborn here.
Look at this cute baby before and after being swaddled to sleep.
Newborn poop is both interesting and terrifying. The very first stool your newborn baby passes is black, tarry-looking stuff, called meconium, that might look pretty horrible for first-time moms. After the first couple of days, your baby will have yellowish-brown poop which can seem to explode out of your baby’s tiny bottom. While the explosive poop stains can end up staining your baby’s clothes, it is quite normal at this stage.
You can learn many things about your baby’s health and condition through the poop color and texture. Click here to reach the newborn poop color guide to find out if your newborn’s poop color is normal.
Diaper or baby product commercials tend to portray a picture of a perfect baby with flawless skin and that is what many moms expect their baby to look like. However, it is quite the opposite. Newborn skin flakes and peels all over especially in areas like knees. The shedding skin is the waxy coating that protected them while in the womb.
Peeling skin on a newborn is quite common and not usually a cause for concern. The peeling will clear off by itself after a couple of days. Treatment is usually possible using home remedies, and medical intervention is rarely necessary.
Sleeping with eyes open
It’s creepy to see an adult sleeping with their eyes open, but it can be even more stressful if you gaze done at your sweet bundle of joy and you see their eyelids peeking open in their sleep. Fortunately, it is very common for babies to sleep with their eyes open and it is harmless for babies under 12 months. The reason for this is still unknown but if you feel uncomfortable with it, then gently stroke their eyelids shut.
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After the first 48 hours of birth, it is normal to see a really strange colored spit on your baby. This is because your baby is clearing mucus and amniotic fluid from nine months of staying in the womb. Later, as your baby grows up, you will find out that babies vomit from time to time, and it’s usually nothing to worry about. Everything from indigestion to a prolonged bout of crying or coughing can trigger this reflex. So you may see quite a lot of vomiting in your baby’s first few years.
A baby’s body is quite interesting. As he/she develops, don’t be surprised about noticing some very odd things. Read more about different babies’ reflexes that may look strange here.