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Mother and Baby

20 Amazing Facts About Your Newborn

Being adorable isn’t the only thing your newborn has going for him. He’s also got a pretty impressive set of skills and qualities on his baby CV. How’s this for some NCT meet-up trivia?

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His smell is addictive

For you, anyway. 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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That hair may 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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Labour = birthmarks

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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The magic number is…

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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He has loads of 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 his feet on a flat surface, his legs will work with a stepping motion. He obviously can’t walk now but may be born with a knowledge of how to for when he’s older.

Source: The Pregnancy And Baby Book (DK)

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He is seriously sleepy

In fact, at first he’ll only really be alert for around three minutes in every hour during the day, and even less at night.

Source: What To Expect: The First Year (Simon &Schuster)

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But he can be jumpy

This is your baby’s startle (Moro) reflex. He’s born with it – a natural response to a loud noise, movement or feeling of falling. Thought of as a protective mechanism, it makes him fling his arms up and out, open his fists wide and draw his knees up, before going back to how he was in seconds. This reflex tends to ease by six months.
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He’s very boob curious

A research team discovered that if a newborn is left on his mother’s chest after birth, he’ll eventually crawl up and find her breast to feed, guided by her smell. Incredible, right? He also has a Rooting reflex – if you stroke his cheek, he’ll turn in that direction with his mouth open ready to feed.
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He knows 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 all that Beyoncé helps soothe him now.
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There are 300 parts to his skeleton

Mainly made up of cartilage, which turns into bone over time. As he grows, some of his bones fuse together, leaving him with 206 by the time he’s a grown-up.
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He influences your heart rate

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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Your voice is critical…

For his language development. A Canadian study found a sleeping newborn recognises his mum’s voice from just one syllable, and it activates an area of his brain associated with language processing.
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He wants to put everything in his mouth

OK, he may be a bit too young to chew on your keys or the cat’s tail, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’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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… Which is the most sensitive

Your newborn uses his sense of touch to explore what’s around him – and the most sensitive touch receptors are in and around his mouth.

Source: The Pregnancy And Baby Book (DK)

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He’s a mini weightlifter

Well, sort of. You know that surprisingly tight grip he has? It’s down to another reflex and can actually be strong enough to support his own body weight. Although perhaps don’t put that one to the test.
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He’s crying 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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But there are no actual tears

Despite the wailing, you may notice your newborn doesn’t produce actual tears. His tear ducts aren’t fully developed and while they produce enough moisture to keep his eyes healthy, they won’t give proper tears for several weeks.
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That 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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He’s out of proportion

Your baby’s head makes up a quarter of his total body length right now, and his brain takes up 10 per cent of his total body weight. The rest of him is growing to catch up.

Source: The Pregnancy And Baby Book (DK)

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He looks like both of you

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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