Babies are the cutest. Of course, we were all once babies, and some of us have even given birth to them, but they're still pretty mysterious. They're just so darn different than adults which is what makes the way they work all the more amazing. What's even more amazing, however, is how much they require from us and the fact that we can actually provide for them. The first year of a baby's life is extremely important for setting them up for the rest of their lives, as we know from studies that talk about nurturing a child. Here are 13 weird facts about babies that will make you understand them a whole lot more.
13 Babies Can Breathe And Eat At The Same Time
When babies are born they have the ability to swallow and breathe at the same time, which is probably helpful for all that milk chugging they have to do. Their larynx actually sits up high in the nasal cavity like a snorkel which is how that is possible, and it helps to prevent choking. Then around three months or so the larynx starts to drop into a lower position in the throat, and that isn't the last time it moves. The larynx drops once again during puberty which is why voices do too. So that's why baby voices are so light and adorable.
12 Babies Prefer Female Voices
There's a reason why we baby talk to babies and it isn't just because they turn us into mushy freaks who totally lose control in their presence. Babies prefer the sound of women's voices and somehow we know this, so we tend to raise our vocal levels to make our voices sound more girly and probably non-threatening. It makes sense if you think about it -- they live inside a woman for so long before they're born that it only seems natural that they would prefer a voice that sounds like hers to that mysterious dad figure.
11 Babies Forget About Being Babies
Don't remember being a baby? That's because we tend to forget everything during the first three months of our life which is what neuroscientists refer to as "infantile amnesia." They are not exactly sure why this occurs, but it might have something to do with the fact that when we are babies we do some pretty weird things that elicit some pretty weird responses from other people and we just don't feel that it's necessary to recall such confusion in adulthood. We have a hard enough time dealing with our childhoods, let alone our babyhoods, am I right?
10 Babies Don't Have Kneecaps At First
Baby bones are very different than adult bones. Babies have 300 bones and over time, some of them fuse together and become the 206 bones that we have in adulthood. But even though they have all those bones, they're also missing some when they're born... such as the kneecaps. Instead of kneecaps, babies just have cartilage, and the bones form around six months later. Guess it makes crawling easier, because if you've ever tried to do that, you know it hurts.
9 Babies Can Sleep With Their Eyes Open
Nope, that baby isn't a demon (well, probably). It just has the ability to sleep with its eyes open, which means they're rolling around and looking totally weird. Why? Who knows. Baby eyes are also 75 percent of their adult size, so they look abnormally huge and adorable in their little heads. Have you ever noticed how dolls have humongous eyes even if they're teeny bobbers or grown women like Barbie? It's because they look much less creepy that way, because we associate the look with an adorable tot that we want to protect and love.
8 Babies Are Freakishly Strong
You've probably noticed that if you give a newborn your finger they will hold on nice and tight, and if you have long hair you've probably also experienced a baby's death grip on it. Well, you're not overreacting if you screech in pain from it, because little babies have grips that are so strong that they can actually hold their entire body weight. This is probably because they don't trust adults and have to make sure that they have a chance of saving themselves if we suddenly let go of them or something.
7 Babies Gain Double The Weight In The First Few Months
When thinking about a baby the fact that they rapidly grow seems pretty obvious, but it's weird to actually think about how much of a weight gain that is for them. Imagine if you gained a hundred and some odd pounds in the next few months but it came out proportional and in the right places... it's the same idea. It's no wonder that babies always seem hungry, and when they're not eating or pooping they are most likely sleeping. Growing so much is hard work. By the end of their first year, they generally triple in size from their birth rate.
6 Babies Can Hear In The First Trimester
Babies start to develop their sense of hearing during the first trimester, which means that they can pretty much hear stuff the entire time that they are in the womb. When they are newborns it can seem like their sense of hearing is more extreme than the average person since they startle so easily, but it's just because the noises are all new to them in the real world. While they can technically hear from birth, the part of the brain that associates noises with their meanings continues to develop until the age of twelve or so.
5 Babies Can't Cry Real Tears At First
It's not that they don't give crying a valiant effort, but for a while babies don't develop tears and they basically are just screaming to get your attention. It sounds even more terrifying when you put it that way. Some babies tear ducts develop enough to cry at two weeks old, but for others those cry baby eyes are usually working just fine by the time they are two months. After that point, if babies stop crying tears it can mean that they have a nasty situation of clogged tear ducts, or if they have a fever it can be a big warning sign of dehydration.
4 Babies Create A Lot Of Trash
Babies go through a lot of diapers, which any parent can definitely tell you. Most babies have their diaper changed six to eight times a day, which means by the time they are potty trained around 30 months old, they will go through somewhere between 6,500 to 10,000 diapers, or 2,000 pounds of the dirty diapers which are just going to end up in a landfill. Yikes. That adds up to 7.6 billion pounds of garbage each year, which is enough to stretch to the moon and back nine times or completely fill Yankee Stadium 15 times. Each year.
3 Babies Communicate Before They Talk
Babies are totally ready to communicate even before they can fully talk, which might explain some of their terrible moods when they get close to their toddler years. You can actually teach little babies sign language as young as six months which will allow them to communicate what they really need to say... which is usually feed me. Babies can easily learn how to sign that they are hungry, full, want more, is too cold or too hot, or even talk about mom, dad, or that bird over there. They can even learn to sign that they need a hug. Awww. It's not just convenient, though: babies who learn to sign tend to talk earlier with a bigger vocab and can have a 12 point leg up on the IQ scale.
2 Babies Absorb Their Mom's Estrogen In The Womb
When babies are in the womb, they are obviously literally attached to their mother, so they are absorbing a lot from her, including her hormones. This means that when babies are born they still have some of that estrogen in them, which can mean that both genders of babies have little boobies that can literally lactate and even leak blood. Girl babies can even have a little period where they shed their uterine lining, which seems like it could be a little alarming. Very weird sounding to the average person, and yet totally normal if you ask science.
1 Babies Born In May Weight More
No one knows why this is true, but on average babies who are born in the month of May weigh more than babies born in the rest of the year by 200 grams. The average baby weighs 7.5 pounds at birth, although the normal range is between 5.5 and ten pounds. Only five percent of babies born fall outside of that range, but it does happen. One of the smallest babies born who survived only weighed ten ounces and was smaller than a soda can. The world record for biggest baby born goes to an Italian babe in 1955 who came out at 22 pounds and eight ounces, which is more likely to be the size of a one-year-old.