Babies are the cutest little weirdos. They smile at nothing (or is it a ghost?), are wide awake at night, and chew on their feet, to name a few of their more charming oddities. It’s hard to know exactly what your littlest one is thinking or feeling, and these 14 random facts about babies prove that the youngest among us are even more puzzling than previously thought. (And I, for one, was already baffled by how many diapers they go through per day, and the volume of bodily fluids a tiny body can produce.)
From sneezing constantly and then looking so sweetly surprised, to having way more bones than adults, to not being able to taste one of the five major flavor groups (it's definitely not sour, which you know if you've ever seen those cute yet cruel pics on Instagram of babies licking lemons) these 14 facts will help you learn a bit more about the babies in your life.
You never know when you’ll get a chance to flex all your random infant knowledge (and it just so happens that you’ll learn where the word “infant” derives from if you read on... ). Here’s hoping that one day soon Alex Trebek announces that the category is “Babies” (just pretend he's not retiring).
1. Babies Have More Bones Than Adults
2. Infants Have Instincts About Water
A reflex known as "bradycardic response" causes babies to hold their breath and open their eyes when under water, per Babycenter. They'll have the same reaction when someone blows in their face, up until six months. For the first few months, babies will also naturally kick their arms and legs in water, which makes it look like they're swimming, but babies (unlike other mammals) do not instinctively know how to swim.
3. A Baby's Eyes Are Already Nearly 75% Of Their Adult Size
Maybe you've heard that old wives' tale that babies are born with full-grown eyes; that isn't true, but newborns' eyes are pretty huge (which is part of the reason they're so cute). At birth, an infant's eyes are about 75% of the size of an adult's eyes, per The University of Chicago's College of Medicine.
4. Newborns Don't Have Kneecaps
It seems weird, but it's true: babies don't have kneecaps. Of course, they can still bend their knees, and they have cartilage on the joint that, "more easily handles the transitions a child makes when learning to crawl and walk," according to Healthline. The cartilage will solidify between the ages of 2 and 6.
5. Protein Keeps Babies' Skulls From Fusing
Babies have soft skulls to push through the birth canal. The skull keeps expanding to accommodate their rapidly growing brains, and the protein that keeps the skull from fusing is called "Noggin," (according to Stanford ). The more ya know.
6. Babies Sneeze Constantly
You may have noticed that your little one is constantly sneezing, but don't worry, they probably don't have a cold. Sneezes unblock nostrils that have closed (maybe because they've been pressed against skin while feeding). Sneezing is also the body's natural way of clearing the nasal and respiratory passages, per Parents.
7. Infants Can't Taste Salt
Babies have a "wider distribution" of taste buds than adults (per Babycenter), but up until around five months, they can't taste salt. It's difficult for developing kidneys to process salt, and they have no need for it as they get the tiny amount they do need from milk or formula. Typically babies prefer sweet because breast milk has a sweetness to it.
8. Mothers May Be Able To Identify Their Baby By Scent Alone
9. "Infant" Is A Latin Word
The word "infant" is derived from the Latin word "infans", meaning "unable to speak." So technically speaking, a baby is no longer an infant when they start talking.
10. Babies Go Through A Staggering Amount Of Diapers
As you're probably already well aware, babies go through a ton of diapers. 2200 is the (staggering) amount of diapers that Babylist predicts you'll use in your baby's first year. This is why diapers really do make a useful shower gift.
11. Infants Can Have A "Mini Period"
This one sounds wild, I know, but it's not super uncommon. Many female infants will pass vaginal discharge that contains mucus and blood. This is a result of hormones including estrogen that pass from mother to baby, (per Kids' Health) and though surprising, this "mini period" is nothing to be concerned about.
12. Babies Don't Shed Actual Tears
If you've ever watched a newborn cry, you may have noticed that no actual tears stream down their faces. This lack of tears happens because baby's tear ducts aren't fully developed until somewhere between 2 weeks and 2 months old, according to Babycenter.
13. Older Babies Know When You're Mad
Babies as young as 15 months can tell when an adult is prone to anger, and may try to appease these adults, Futurity reported. Even if it's tempting to think your kiddo isn't listening to your argument, they're incredibly perceptive, so you may think twice before cursing someone who cuts you off (though it is infuriating).
14. The Most Popular Day For Babies To Be Born Is In September
It turns out September is the most popular month for babies to be born, and the most popular birthday is September 9, reported Good Morning America. If your babe is born on this day they're in good company; it's also the birth date of Michelle Williams, Adam Sandler, Hugh Grant, and Michael Buble.
Kaitz M, Good A, Rokem AM, Eidelman AI (1987) "Mothers' recognition of their newborns by olfactory cues," Psychology Department, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel