Newborns can do much more than sleep, poop and cry; they’re constantly surprising us with new abilities we hadn’t yet imagined!
Did you know that newborns have three times as many taste buds as adults and can distinguish sweet, sour and bitter tastes (but not salty ones!) up until about four months?
1. They’re born with 30,000 taste buds
Baby has over twice the number of taste buds as adults do; they can be found all across their tongue, tonsils and back of throat as well as sides and roof of mouth.
Babies begin their development while still in their mother’s womb, tasting molecules from food she consumes and picking out sweet flavors over salty or sour ones even before birth.
Babies require plenty of calories for rapid development, and their powerful taste buds enable them to crave the fat and sugar found in breast milk or formula as fuel for rapid growth.
2. They’re born with 300 bones
Though it might seem surprising, infants are actually born with more bones than adults do – while adults typically possess 206 bones, babies typically contain 300.
Most “bones” in babies and children are actually cartilage models that gradually harden into stronger, harder bones through an evolutionary process known as endochondral ossification. Cartilage provides infants with flexibility during labor and as they grow.
Infants’ short bones give them the ability to bend more easily than adults’ brittle and rigid bones can. Unfortunately, however, babies’ bones don’t fully harden until they reach adulthood (with exceptions made for teeth not technically considered part of bone structure), although even then it takes until about age 20 for full hardening to take place! Wow!
3. They’re born without kneecaps
Adult knuckles and elbows may seem strong and rigid, but that wasn’t always the case. Babies, however, start out life with cartilage that transforms to bone through ossification – an ongoing process.
Cartilage provides great assistance as babies learn to crawl and walk. Cartilage absorbs pressure well while being less likely to break than bone is.
So babies don’t require kneepads – their cartilage kneecaps, known as patellas, absorb any knocks and falls without complaint. By the time they become toddlers, their cartilage kneecaps will begin turning into actual bony ones (known as “ossifying”) which will take anywhere between 3-5 years for completion.
4. They’re born with a head
At birth, a newborn’s skull is not fully formed, enabling it to mold and move with ease through the birth canal. Therefore, their heads have soft spots called fontanelles to assist them in positioning their heads through narrow passageways.
Newborns are short sighted and can only focus 14 inches in front of them, which explains why they often seem startled by just about anything – this is known as the Moro reflex and should be treated as normal behavior.
Research from the University of Helsinki suggests that babies can quickly recognize their mother’s voice upon being born and will respond well to rhythmic sounds like her heartbeat as comforting lullabies. Furthermore, babies have what’s known as a “rooting reflex,” whereby they crawl up onto their mothers chest for food.
5. They’re born with a head full of hair
Hair was considered an indicator of good luck and spiritual potential in certain cultures, reflecting humankind’s search for meaning and significance in every aspect of their lives, including physical ones.
Newborns may appear bald at first glance, but some babies can have locks to rival Rapunzel. According to experts, genetics play a significant role in how much and what kind of hair your baby will grow on its head.
Just as tree rings reveal information about our environment, baby hair can also provide clues as to their womb environment. Hormone levels, environmental toxins and more may all be revealed through its texture. In addition, their poop may reveal whether or not the baby was breastfed or formula-fed for as well as reveal when their parents’ native language is spoken by either mother or father – explaining why newborns cry when hearing it for the first time!
6. They’re born with a brain
Human brains are complex organs, taking time and effort to develop. Newborn babies come equipped with neural circuits necessary for basic functions like breathing, heartbeat, circulation, sleeping and sucking.
Newborn babies are also born with an understanding of language and music, even being able to recognize their mother’s voice at birth. Certain sounds (especially loud or distinct from hers) will cause startle reflexes known as the Moro reflex to kick in causing startle reactions in them – these primitive reflexes will cause startle reactions from them and they’ll startle at them because of an ancient primitive reflex known as Moro reflex.
Babies are born with flexible skulls that allow them to change shape as they grow; their skulls won’t become completely rigid until between three and five years of age, which helps facilitate vaginal births where a small passageway must be navigated for safe delivery.
7. They’re born with skills
Newborns exhibit an astounding combination of skills and abilities at birth. They can smile, roll over, wave their hands, sit up on their own and even clap – but their kneecaps won’t ossify until 3-5 years.
Children learn to recognize their mother’s voice through something known as the rooting reflex, which activates parts of their brain to help develop language and processing abilities.
Babies born with truncus arteriosus heart defects often only have one artery leading to their lungs and one valve to control blood flow, allowing oxygenated and nonoxygenated blood to mix, significantly decreasing survival chances.
They find rhythmic sounds such as their mother’s heartbeat calming; perhaps this explains their preference to sleeping on people’s chests!