Trivia time! Yes, they’re cute and cuddly, but they’re also odd little things… Here are 10 facts you mightn’t know about babies. (Try them out as a Baby Shower quiz!)
#1 Bony Babes
Number of bones in an adult body: 206 Number of bones in a baby: 300 (approximately) That’s right. Newborns are full of bones – almost a hundred more than we carry around inside us. What happens to the extras, we hear you ask? They fuse together as the baby develops.
#2 Squishy Knees
Despite all those additions, there’s one bony thing that babies don’t have – well, two things: kneecaps. They do have a soft patella, but it’s not until around preschool age that this forms into a hard bony “cap”. (Another squishy spot on babies is the fontanelle, which is the area of the head where the skull hasn’t entirely formed.)
#3 Sleepy heads
Number of hours in an infant’s first year: 8,760 Number of those hours that an infant spends sleeping: 5,400 That’s a lot of sleep. For adults to achieve the same ratio, we’d need to knock off from work at 5pm, be in bed and fast asleep by 5.30pm, and not wake up until 8.15am the next day. (Just enough time for a quick coffee and back into the office!)
#4 Losing snooze
Despite those amazing statistics on sleep, babies still manage to deprive their parents of something like seven whole weeks of sleep over the course of their first year, by being awake precisely when no parent needs them to be awake. Sigh.
#5 Making a mark
Some say it’s a third of all babies; others say it’s as many as 80 percent. Either way, it’s entirely common for a baby to have a birthmark or “stork mark” of some kind when they’re born. Most of these end up disappearing on their own over time. Also, despite what many people believe, they’re generally not related to any kind of trauma to the skin during childbirth.
#6 Due dates
If you’ve gone to the trouble of planning your pregnancy perfectly so that your baby arrives exactly on the first day of spring, or on Chris Hemsworth’s birthday, best of luck with that! Research shows that as few as 1 in 25 babies are born on their calculated “due date”.
#7 Seeing red
Babies in the womb can detect differences between dark and light. When they’re born (at which time they are very short-sighted), they can make out shapes where those different shades intersect. The first colour they recognise, however, is the primary colour red. After a week, they can generally make out yellow, orange and green, too. Blues and purples take longer.
#8 Let’s go again
Imagine this: a house filled with 69 children, consisting of 16 sets of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets. Now imagine them all having the same mum. That’s what happened in Russia in the 18th century, when a Mrs Vassileyev set the record (still current) for the most number of children born to one person. Yikes.
#9 Laughing longer
Number of times an adult laughs each day: 60 Number of times an adult on deadline laughs each day: 20 Number of times a baby laughs each day: 300 Yep, it’s true. Babyhood really is a hilarious time to be alive.
#10 Helping hand
“Fetomaternal microchimerism”: that’s the term given to a process whereby a baby in the womb transfers its own stem cells into its mother’s organs if she happens to have suffered some damage. While research into this is ongoing, it does appear possible that a foetus can help repair mum’s body in some way. Amazing!
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This article first appeared in the Kids Guide 2019 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!