0 - 12 Weeks

6 amazing—and surprising— traits of newborn babies

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Even though our newborn babies rely on us for so much, they come into the world with a wide variety of skills and abilities—some of them you may not even be aware of!

Here are just a few of the amazing things that a newborn can do:

  • They can often tell the difference between sounds. Most newborns have been hearing familiar voices since they were around 18 weeks along in utero and can distinguish between a range of voices when they’re born. This is partly why singing, reading, and speaking to babies in utero—and when they’re newborns—is so soothing.
  • They can be extremely strong. We strongly recommend you don’t try this, but newborn babies can typically grasp onto something (like a finger) with one hand hard enough to support their own bodyweight! This is known as the “palmar grasp.”
  • They have a reflex that makes it seem like they can swim. Until around 6 months of age, babies have what’s called the bradycardic response, which causes them to hold their breath when they feel cold water on their faces. Their heartbeats even slow down to conserve oxygen, and they may start to move their limbs like they’re swimming. We must emphasize that newborn babies cannot actually swim, and should always be closely monitored around any depth of water.
  • They have more taste buds than you do. At birth, babies have a huge number of taste buds, spread out over their tongues, cheeks, palates, and even on their tonsils. In utero, growing babies had a chance to experience various tastes and aromas through amniotic fluid, which research shows may help shape their later food preferences.
  • They are usually excellent smellers. Studies show that babies are born with a fairly sophisticated sense of smell, and can even sniff out the difference between their mother’s breast milk and someone else’s.
  • They can learn extremely quickly. Research shows that babies learn at a remarkably high rate, retaining new information and skills much faster than adults—and ending up with more than twice as many synapses (connections between neurons) as an adult does. The first three years of life contain the most rapid rate of brain development in a person’s entire lifetime!⁣

Next time you’re gazing into your little newborn’s eyes, you’ll have a new appreciation for their many amazing strength and ability ❤️

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Posted in: 0 - 12 Weeks, Gross Motor, Communication, Cognitive Development, Child Development

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