20 amazing facts about newborns that will impress everyone at your NCT meet-up


by Maria Martin |
Updated on

Being adorable isn’t the only thing your newborn has going for your new arrival. They've also got a pretty impressive set of skills and qualities on their baby CV, from theirimpressive newborn reflexes to their smell. How’s this for some NCT meet-up trivia? Thank us later!


20 amazing facts about newborns

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1) According to science, you are addicted to their smell

A University of Montreal study looked at the brains of 15 new mums and found the smell of a newborn brought out the same pleasure and sense of craving that food does when we’re hungry.

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2) It's completely normal for their hair to fall out

Your little one may have a shock of black hair now – but it won’t necessarily stay that way. It can fall out altogether in the first few weeks, then grow back over the next year, or go from straight to curly in months.

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3) Birthmarks occur during labour

Birthmarks are common and come in a range of shapes, sizes and colours. ‘These occur when the tiny blood vessels under the skin are dilated during labour,’ says paediatrician Dr Martin Ward Platt. ‘Certain types may not appear for several days or weeks after birth, but most go away in the first few years.’

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4) A newborn baby can only see clearly to a distance of 20-38cm

Your baby has blurry vision when it comes to things in the distance, but can pick up objects within this range. Especially your face if it’s close enough.

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5) They're born with around 70 natural reflexes

Around 70 of them. These are primitive and down to evolution, including things like sucking and stepping – if you support your baby upright with their feet on a flat surface, their legs will work with a stepping motion. They obviously can’t walk now but may be born with a knowledge of how to for when they're older.
Source: The Pregnancy And Baby Book (DK)

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6) A baby is only alert for around three minutes every hour

This is because they're super sleepy. It's even less at night!

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7) Your baby is born with a startle reflex to loud noise, movement or the feeling of falling

This is your baby’s startle (Moro) reflex. It makes them fling their arms up and out, open their fists wide and draw their knees up, before going back to how they were in seconds. This reflex tends to ease by six months.

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8) They will instinctively seek out your boob for breastfeeding

A research team discovered that if a newborn is left on their mother’s chest after birth, they’ll eventually crawl up and find her breast to feed, guided by her smell. Incredible, right? They also have a Rooting reflex – if you stroke their cheek, they'll turn in that direction with their mouth open, ready to feed.

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9) They will know your pregnancy playlist

Babies recognise songs they hear in the womb for up to four months after birth, according to University of Helsinki research. In fact, you might even find that the only thing that helps soothe them now is Beyoncé.

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10) There are 300 parts to their skeletons

Mainly made up of cartilage, which turns into bone over time. As they grow, some of their bones fuse together, leaving them with 206 by the time they're grown-up.

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11) You can coordinate heart rates if you both look into each other's eyes

That was a discovery made by a team at an Israeli university, which found that when a mum and newborn faced and looked each other in the eye, their heart rates co-ordinated in seconds.

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12) A newborn can recognise their mum's voice from just one syllable

It activates an area of the brain associated with language processing, meaning mum's input is vital for speech development.

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13) They want to put everything in their mouth

OK, they may be a bit too young to chew on your keys or the cat’s tail, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to. New French research suggests infants are born with an instinct to put things in their mouth as part of a survival-of-the-fittest mentality to make sure they’re fed.

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14) The most sensitive touch receptors are in and around their mouth

Your newborn uses their sense of touch to explore what’s around them. Source: The Pregnancy And Baby Book (DK)

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15) They can be strong enough to actually support their own body weight

Although, perhaps don’t put that one to the test!

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16) They cry with your accent

Yes, really. A team from the University of Würzburg in Germany found that babies pick up their mum’s native tongue in the last three months of pregnancy and reflect characteristics of the language in the pattern of their crying after birth.

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17) Newborns doesn’t produce actual tears

Despite the wailing, you may notice your newborn doesn’t produce actual tears. Their tear ducts aren’t fully developed and while they produce enough moisture to keep their eyes healthy, they won’t give proper tears for several weeks.

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18) Their eye colour may change

All babies are born with blue eyes. Basically, the pigmentation process in his iris hasn’t started working yet – it does kick in though, and your baby’s true eye colour usually becomes apparent around six months old.

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19) Your baby’s head makes up a quarter of their total body length right now

Their brains takes up 10 per cent of their total body weight. The rest of them is growing to catch up.
Source: The Pregnancy And Baby Book (DK)

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20) Newborns tend to resemble both parents equally

The idea used to be that newborns look more like their dads. This was scientifically backed (in part, anyway) by a US study in the 90s, but more recent research suggests this isn’t the case and that newborns tend to resemble both parents equally.

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Now read:

The first 48 hours of your newborn’s life

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