If you've ever held a newborn baby, you know firsthand how fascinating these small creatures really are. They're so animated and aware, clearly bursting with life, but completely helpless. The smell of their heads is intoxicating. The feel of their soft bodies sleeping on your chest is indescribable. And yet our babies have more crazy skills than you probably realize.
You can read all the baby books and be fully prepared to feed, change and clothe these growing humans, but I guarantee there's a lot you don't know about the inner workings of your little one. Tonight, while you marvel at your infant's fluttering eyes and deep breathing, ponder some of these bizarre but true facts.
You'll inevitably notice that your newborn's fierce cries don't produce the overflowing tears you'd expect. That's because their brand new tear ducts can only produce enough fluid to lubricate their eyes—making it look as though they're born without tears. Real teardrops won't flow for at least a month or two. (And when they come, they'll break your heart.)
2. Baby's eye color can change.
Has your baby's eyes turned from blue to brown? The production of melanin, responsible for eye color, typically isn't triggered until light hits those pretty peepers. And even so, the amount of melanin totally depends on genetics, which can take time to develop—usually between 6 and 12 months. (My son's eye color changed four times before settling into a hazel color.)
3. Babies aren't born with fully developed kneecaps.
Until the toddler years, their kneecaps are made almost completely of cartilage.
4. One in three infants are born with a birthmark.
Thanks to something called a "dive reflex," newborns can naturally hold their breath in water while their heart rate slows to conserve energy. (A possible tie to our ancient marine past?) They lose the ability pretty quickly, but you can find some crazy videos out there of people throwing brand new babies into water so they can "swim."
7. They can definitely crawl.
First studied in 1987, the "breast crawl" is the phenomenon of newborns, when placed on their mother's stomach, being able to "crawl" to their mother's breast to nurse all on their own, within an hour of being born.
17. Your baby probably understands quantum physics better than you ever could.
Quantum physics is so mind-bending because it flies in the face of everything we understand about reality. But because babies don't yet have a sense of "normal," and their idea of object permanence isn't formed, they live in an existence where quantum physics makes just as much sense as anything else. "Babies lose their intuition for quantum mechanics when they're about 3 months old , which is the age when they learn to play peekaboo," Seth Lloyd, an expert on quantum computing, said at the World Science Festival in New York. When an infant plays peekaboo, they don't get it. "She'll just be like, 'Daddy left the room,'" Loyd said. This aligns with how particles appear and disappear, neither here nor there, in all places at once.