Before having one of your own, it’s likely that you’ve only thought about the typically ‘cute’ features and behaviors associated with a newborn baby. But the reality is, your little bundle of joy will have all sorts of quirks that nobody has warned you about. Don’t worry! Most of these will be completely normal, and not something to lose any sleep over. Here are 10 things people don’t tell you about babies.
1. Babies Are Constantly Hungry
This doesn’t exactly go unreported, but the sheer volume of consumption from a newborn can be overwhelming. The reason a baby needs to feed so often is of course to fuel their rapid growth, and if you’re breastfeeding it’s also nature's way of making sure you’re producing enough milk. Breast-fed babies will often feed more because breast milk is more quickly digested than formula. It’s worth knowing that growth spurts will be the busiest time for feeding - these spurts will happen in stages during the first year or two of your baby’s development.
2. Babies Can Have A Strange Head Shape
You’ve probably seen the picture-perfect birth in a movie or on TV, when a mother cradles her newborn in her arms and kisses its beautifully round head. Well, this is fairly unlikely. If your baby arrives with a head shaped like a cone, do not be alarmed! Bear in mind that they’ve been wedged in your pelvis for an uncomfortably long time, and your baby actually has openings in the skull to allow for this exact moment. Nature has truly worked this one out very well indeed. This temporary reshaping of the skull protects against brain injury and skull damage, and it’s perfectly natural.
3. Babies Get Cold Feet (And Hands)
In the literal sense of the word, you might find that your baby often gets cold feet and cold hands. In fact, they can be extremely cold compared to their torso or head. The reason for this is that your baby’s circulatory system is still developing, and the blood being pumped is prioritized to the most important areas like the vital organs. There’s no need to panic and turn the heating up to max or cover them in blankets - give it about three months and your baby’s circulation will improve and comfortably be reaching their exteriors.
4. Babies Sneeze All The Time
Newborn babies sneeze a lot. This isn’t because they’re sick or have a cold, it’s just their natural way of clearing their nasal passages of congestion. Sometimes, a baby’s nostrils can close up temporarily if they’ve been pressed up against their mum or dad whilst napping, so a sneeze helps to open it up again.
5. Babies Breath Unusually
All new parents do it. Standing by the cot numerous times a night, checking that their little one is still breathing. It’s completely understandable, and a natural instinct that we as parents shouldn’t fight against. However, panic can set in when your baby starts breathing extremely fast, or even stops breathing for a few seconds before starting again. Babies have irregular breathing patterns, and it’s part of their diaphragm and neurological system development. You should notice more regular breathing after around 6 weeks.
6. Babies Have Dry Skin
Most people think that babies have soft, silky skin. This is true, but not straight away. The transition from a mother’s womb to the open air is challenging for newborns in so many ways, and their skin also has to adjust. During pregnancy, your baby is protected by a white, waxy coating called vernix. Once delivered, the vernix is rubbed away and their skin prone to drying out and peeling. This early flaky skin is usually most apparent on your baby’s hands and feet, but it can also be prevalent across their entire body.
7. Babies Have Yellow Poop
Yes, one of the less eagerly-anticipated parts of parenthood - dealing with the diaper. Breast-fed babies have liquid, yellowish stools that can often alarm first-time parents. This is completely natural though, especially in their first few weeks. Frequency of bowel movements can also be a cause for concern for new parents, but as long as your little one is happily feeding and putting on weight, this is all par for the course.
8. Babies Often Develop A Lip Blister
You might notice that your baby starts to develop - or is even born with - a blister on their lip. Fear not. This overgrowth of skin is simply a by-product of vigorous sucking on a breast, bottle, or even their thumb whilst in the womb. The callus won’t be causing your baby any discomfort, and will naturally disappear over the course of a few months.
9. Babies Cries Are Difficult To Differentiate
A lot is made of the different ‘types’ of baby cries. It’s their only form of communication at this age, and they either want feeding, changing, or they’re in pain. Don’t feel dismayed if you’re initially unable to differentiate between these cries, it isn’t easy at first. Over time, you’ll begin to understand what your baby is in need of, as you better understand their routine and habits.
10. Babies Are Super Jumpy
Well, wouldn’t you be if you’d spent months curled up inside a womb? All of a sudden, your baby has all the space in the world to move without restriction, and hasn’t quite mastered how to control their body in this new environment. Babies are also born with a startle reflex, which makes them throw out their hands if they feel like they’re falling, or if they’re startled. Again, this is a completely natural part of your baby’s development and will subside after around 3 months.