15 Weird Things About Newborns That Are Surprisingly Normal

Jacqueline Burt Cote | Jun 28, 2017 Baby
15 Weird Things About Newborns That Are Surprisingly Normal
Image: iStock.com/oscarhdez

cute baby
You expected your baby to be adorable and tiny and sweet, but you might not have expected him to be quite so ... weird. It's true: Newborns are quirky little creatures, with all sorts of odd traits and behaviors that often take new parents by surprise.

Some of these weird qualities are funny, some might seem scary, and others are a little gross, TBH, but all of them are completely normal. (And don't worry, most of them will go away over time!)

  • Newborns Don't Cry Real Tears

    crying baby

    Your infant probably does a lot of crying (like, a LOT), but did you ever notice he's not actually shedding any tears? That's because until the age of 8 months, many babies don't have fully developed tear ducts, so they don't produce actual tears (just enough moisture to coat the surface of their eyes).

  • Their Kneecaps Aren't Made of Bone

    baby knees and socks

    You might have heard the myth that newborns don't have kneecaps at all (weird!) but that's not exactly true -- their kneecaps are made out of cartilage, which morphs mostly into bone between the ages of 3 and 5. (The soft cartilage allows for growth.)

  • Newborns Have More Bones Than Adults

    doctor checking baby

    Just because their knees aren't bony doesn't mean the rest of them isn't! Newborns actually have more bones than adults do. As they grow, smaller bones fuse into one big bone. Babies are born with around 300 bones, while adults only have 206!

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  • Baby Boys Tend to Weigh More

    sleeping baby boy with teddy

    There's not necessarily a huge difference in weight between baby boys and baby girls, but on average, newborn males are heavier (though only by less than a pound). 

  • They Have Lots of Taste Buds

    baby sticking tongue out

    Another thing newborns have more of than you is taste buds -- and they're also more spread out, from the tonsils to the back of the throat to the tongue. (Can you imagine tasting stuff in your throat?! Bizarre!)

  • They May Sleep With Their Eyes Open

    sleeping baby

    It looks freaky, but it's totally normal if your newborn sleeps with her eyes open. Experts aren't sure why this happens, but it might have something to do with the fact that eyes-open sleeping happens during REM sleep, and newborns spend more time in this phase than adults do.

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  • Their Brains Grow at Super Speed

    baby's head

    Your baby literally is getting smarter by the day, and at lightning speed! Newborns' brains grow by a whopping 64 percent in the first 90 days. After that, the growth rate slows down to about 0.4 percent per day.

  • They Can Breathe & Swallow at the Same Time

    nurse feeding newborn

    If you've ever wondered how it is that your infant can guzzle down breast milk or formula seemingly without coming up for air, it's because his throat is shaped differently than yours (temporarily). Up until the age of about 3 months, the larynx is very high in the nasal cavity, acting like a snorkel of sorts, so babies can swallow and breathe at the same time. After that, the larynx drops lower in the throat, a transition that makes it easier for your little one to talk (and choke, unfortunately!). 

  • Their Hearts Beat Super Fast

    baby stethoscope

    If you put your hand on your baby's chest and her heartbeat feels like a hummingbird's wings, don't panic! Newborns have much higher heart rates than adults do, averaging about 100 to 150 beats per minute (resting adult heart rates run at about 60 to 70). That's because they have to maintain a higher metabolic rate -- babies have lots of growing to do!

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  • They Remember Sounds They Heard In Utero

    newborn in hospital

    If you spent a good chunk of your pregnancy binge-watching Orange Is the New Black, don't be surprised if your baby seems to perk up when the opening credits play. Research has shown that babies hear well enough in the womb to retain memories of certain sounds (even mom's favorite soap opera theme song, in one study!).

  • Newborn Girls Can Have a Period

    baby feet and legs

    As scary as it can be to see a few spots of blood in your baby girl's diaper, this is totally normal. When you're pregnant, your surging estrogen levels can stimulate the uterus of your unborn daughter, leading to a first "period" of sorts. At least you have a decade or so until the real one shows up!

  • They May Cross Their (Huge!) Eyes

    baby big eyes

    Her face might seem tiny, but your baby's eyes are actually 75 percent of their adult size at birth. Her vision, however, still has a long way to go -- at first, they can only focus as far as 8 to 10 inches from their face, and eyes can sometimes appear crossed or uncoordinated for the first couple of months. 

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  • Sometimes, They Have Fur!

    baby and puppy sleeping

    Not only are some babies born with more hair on their heads than others, some are actually born with hair all over their bodies! Called lanugo, this soft, downy fuzz keeps babies warm in the womb. Most infants shed it in utero (at around 32 to 36 weeks), but if yours isn't one of them, that doesn't mean a lifetime of full-body waxes are in the future -- it will disappear in a few weeks' time!

  • Some Babies Are Born With Teeth

    baby teeth

    You're probably expecting that first smile to be all gums, but guess what? Some newborns actually enter the world with one or more teeth! Called "natal teeth," they're usually nothing to worry about and occur only in about 1 out of 2,000 births.

  • They're Obsessed With Faces

    mom kissing baby feet

    There's nothing you'd rather stare at all day than your baby's face -- and your baby feels the same way about you: Studies show that newborns prefer looking at faces and "face-like stimuli" over anything else. 

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