Newborns are incredible, strange creatures. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that they’re really tiny humans, and not wrinkly little aliens. 

Here’s my weird cool amazing list of over 20 newborn facts! If you have one that I haven’t listed, drop it in the comments below!

  1. A baby is a newborn until they’re three months old, and then they’re considered an infant; once they hit one year old, they’re officially a toddler. 
  2. Vernix is the weird white cheesy stuff all over your baby’s skin when they’re born. Don’t wash it off! It was made by your body to protect baby. It’s anti-infective and moisturizing, so just rub it in!

  3. Vernix is also sweet-smelling, maybe to encourage new moms to snuggle Baby close and rub it in. Smelling vernix can actually release more of mom’s oxytocin which will kick her mammary glands into high gear! Yay milk!

  4. Newborns can see when they first open their eyes but it’s blurry, and they can’t see too far. They can recognize Mother’s face though. And their mom’s areolas get bigger and darker during pregnancy: literally making a bullseye to the nipple!

  5. Newborns don’t have any concept of circadian rhythm, or a night/day cycle. It can take up to four months for their body clock to stabilize. This is why they don’t know to stay awake more when it’s light, and sleep more when it’s dark. Breastfeeding on demand (including at night) helps babies potentially reach their rhythm faster because night milk has more prolactin.

  6. On that note, newborns will want to eat around the clock, usually every 1.5-3 hours. Breastfed babies will probably be on the lower end of that time table as mother’s milk is so easy to digest. This is not a bad thing!

  7. A newborn’s first poop is called meconium, and it’s the rest of the amniotic fluid getting out of their system (remember that babies swallow the fluid while in the womb). Meconium is nasty stuff – black and sticky like tar. It can be quite dangerous if the baby poops this meconium while still in the womb, as they are at risk of swallowing some of it.

  8. After birth, newborn poop will be very liquid and can range in color from brown to green to yellow. It also has “mustard seeds” in it which is totally normal.

  9. Newborns are expected to lose about 10% of their weight after birth, before they start to gain again. This is meconium and excess fluid leaving their body.

  10. Mother’s hormones also have to leave baby. Both girls and boys can experience swollen genitals, and a girl may even have what looks like a mini-period – it’s all normal, just hormones exiting their body and going through withdrawals.

  11. Another side effect of baby getting rid of mama’s hormones is called “witch’s milk.” Male and female babies can actually excrete a milky white substance from their nipples! This is totally normal and will go away on its own.weird nb facts - title

  12. Your baby may look more like a monkey than a human when they are born – when they are still a fetus, they grow dark hair called lanugo all over their bodies, particularly on their shoulders and back. It usually falls out within a few weeks after birth.

  13. The hair on their head will probably fall out too – and maybe even change colors when it grows back! This has to do with the hormones leaving their little bodies, and all of their new hair coming in at the same time, thus pushing out the old hair.

  14. Supposedly a woman smells like amniotic fluid to her newborn when they’re first born.

  15. Newborns have many reflexes at birth which they gradually lose. One of them is the crawl reflex – they can push themselves on their bellies using their feet and legs, up to their mother’s breast to nurse, within an hour or two of birth. This is so that they can get necessary nourishment in the event that their mother is unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. When your newborn is stood up and their feet put on a solid surface, they should pull their feet up and push off.

  16. Another reflex is the Moro reflex, aka startle reflex. They jerk their arms as if they’ve been scared or startled, hence the name. This is a big reason why you might want to try swaddling them – sometimes their startle can wake them up! This is just a way of them protecting themselves from harm.
  17. Newborns possess a root reflex, which you observe when they “root” for a nipple. You can get a baby to turn their head by touching the side of their mouth, or their cheek. Their sucking reflex kicks in from birth too.

  18. The Palmar, or hand grasp, reflex can show up before baby is even born; when their palm is touched with something like a finger or a raffle, babies will instinctively close their fingers around it.

  19. You might notice flaky skin (almost like aggressive dandruff) on a newborn’s head. It’s called cradle cap and it’s totally normal, though no one knows why babies get it. You can use a soft brush and some oil to do a scalp massage and gently scrub it when baby gets their bath.

  20. Newborns have more bones than we do as adults, because theirs are in more pieces; this helps them come down and out through the birth canal. As they grow, their bones will harden and fuse in a process called ossification. An example of this is their skull plates.

  21. A newborn’s kneecaps, much like many of their bones, are more cartilage than bone at birth. A kid’s kneecaps won’t actually harden into bone until they’re over 10 years old! Makes a ton of sense when you think about the crawling and growing they do as babies and children.

  22. Look in your newborn’s nose. See how closed their nostrils are? They’ll open with time – they’re narrow like that from when they were in the womb. And newborns don’t know that they can breathe through their mouth either, so they need quick help if they get congested.

  23. You’ll learn that your newborn has different cries for different needs: hunger, overtired, diaper change, etc. You will probably be able to tell them apart, but can also look at their body language – when they cry are their eyes closed? Or are their hands clasped into fists?

  24. Newborns can be loud. And make weird noises. A lot of this varies from baby to baby, but if it worries you just call their pediatrician. They grunt and squeak, coo and gurgle.

  25. You will often see your baby pulling up their legs so that their knees go to their chest. Usually their ankles will cross also. This is adorable and brings them back to the position they were in the womb. As they learn to stand and bear weight on their legs and feet, those bones will straighten out and they will lose that flexibility.

Well there you have it! Aren’t babies weird and wonderful?

Got something more to add? Lemme know!