Written by Maci

Modified & Updated: 30 Dec 2023

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

sleeping, baby facts

For such small creatures, there are so many things that go into their daily needs and care. Babies need tedious care and attention to grow well and strong. While they have just newly entered our world, there is so much about babies that every parent should know. Here are some baby facts for the new parents out there.

  1. A baby eats a total of 15 pounds of cereal annually.
  2. A newborn baby has about a cup of blood worth in its body.
  3. By the time of its birth, the human brain will speed its growth to adult size by its first birthday.
  4. Disposable diapers will take over 500 years to completely decompose.
  5. A baby is unable to taste salt before it is 4 months of age.
  1. The word baby has come from the babbling sounds it makes – “ba ba ba”.
  2. Research has indicated that a baby’s name will influence its life into adulthood.
  3. Children do not keep many memories from when they were below the age of 3.
  4. A baby’s brain will not stop developing until they have reached their mid-twenties.
  5. A baby’s brain is only functional enough to perform language acquisition until it reaches its first 4 years.
  6. Female infanticide is a current major problem in China and India.
  7. During the time of medieval Europe, infant mortality was at 50%.
  8. A baby’s ear is the only sensory organ that is fully developed and reaches its full size before its birth.
  9. Leeches were a common way of treating a baby’s illnesses during medieval times.
  10. A newborn baby normally has a vision of 20/400.
  1. Victorians forced babies to learn how to walk early with cages and walkers.
  2. Medieval Europeans believed that swaddling babies in a linen strip will make their limbs grow straight.
  3. Newborn babies are more likely to turn their heads to the right rather than the left.
  4. The eyes of a newborn baby are already at 75% of its adult size.
  5. A baby attains 20/20 vision around the time it reaches six months old.
Table of Contents

The noggin is not referred to as the head of the baby.

This refers to the protein that keeps the skull of the baby from fusing. This term is also known as NOG. This protein helps develop many body tissues during its growth. This includes tissues for the baby’s nerve, bones, and muscles.

A newborn baby will urinate frequently.

For its first few months, a human baby will urinate almost every 20 minutes. This lessens a bit to only an hour at a time by the age of six months. This is mainly due to them having bladders with uncontrollable spasms. As a baby age, they grow to take better control of their bladders.

Human babies are the only babies that smile at their parents.

baby, smile, baby facts

Research states that babies learn to develop social smiles by the time they are around 6 to 8 months old. This smile is a special milestone as infants will learn to smile to show a gesture of warmth towards the mother. Smiling games are also often used as a bonding technique between a mother and her child.

Over 4 million babies are born each year in the United States.

Despite this large number, it is lower by 2% of the birth rate of previous years. This indicates that fewer and fewer couples are having children. The total U.S. population now totals over 327 billion people.

A baby’s intestines span a length of 11 feet long on average.

By the time they reach adulthood, this length will double. If a baby’s intestine does not turn out as it should, it can cause problems after the baby’s birth. One can call this occurrence as malrotation.

Babies have a hundred more bones than fully grown adults.

As babies, we have around 300 bones in total. As we grow older, some of these bones fuse into one. A fully grown adult will have a total of 206 bones in their body.

Babies can recognise differently sized bristles only a few days after birth.

This is because the sense of touch is the first sense a baby develops. Only a few weeks after their birth, their somatosensory system already begins to develop.

A human baby will have more taste buds than an adult.

As a baby grows, their taste buds are constantly replaced by new ones. Although at some point, some taste buds will stop regenerating. Children will have around 10,000 taste buds on average while adults will only have around 5,000.

baby, taste buds, baby facts
Photo by Henley Design Studio on Unsplash

A premature birth takes place when the baby arrives earlier than 37 weeks during pregnancy.

Those who are born early will often have complicated medical problems. Premature birth usually occurs when the mother does receive enough nutrition during pregnancy. A few famous premature births include Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, and Isaac Newton.

A woman gave birth to 69 children between the year 1725 to 1765.

This Russian peasant gave birth to 16 sets of twins. In the following years, she also gave birth to 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets. This is the largest number of births made by one woman in history.

Babies are commonly born on a Wednesday than any other day in the United States.

According to statistics, births during Saturdays are more likely to occur in the evenings. Sunday births are the least common days for a baby to be born on. The highest percentage of births occur in the morning on weekdays.

Some researchers suggest that the shaking gesture of the head to mean ‘no’ comes from babies.

They believe that it is from when babies turn their heads to deny food when they are full. This gesture is also a sign that the newborn is learning and developing its protective reflexes already. A baby can also perform this gesture when they want to deny other objects as well.

Babies will begin to respond to their names at 7 months old.

For a newborn to grow familiar with its name, it must be repeatedly called. This is a good bonding exercise with your little one. It is also a way for them to familiarise themselves with the sound of their name. The baby will have developed enough brain recognition to remember its name before its first birthday.

2 out of 1000 children are born deaf in the United States.

More children will lose their hearing later on as they grow up. This can occur later on during childhood or as adults. Deafness is also the number one birth defect recorded in the United States.

A baby can recognize the voice and smell of its mother at birth.

Studies have shown that at 7 months of pregnancy, a baby can recognize the voice of its mother already. However, at birth, it is unable to distinguish other people from its mother during its first few weeks. A mother’s voice is also said to soothe a crying baby at all times.

mother and baby, baby facts
Photo by Ana Tablas on Unsplash

The first birth that took place in Antarctica was in 1978.

That baby is Emilio Marcos Palma. Emilio is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first person recorded to be born on the continent.

Only 80% of infants are born with birthmarks.

The most common birthmarks are the ‘stork bites’ or ‘port wine stains’. These marks are commonly a pink or red mark located anywhere on the infant’s body. Normally some of these marks will fade away as your baby ages.

Every three seconds, there is a birth taking place somewhere in the world.

There are approximately 360,000 births that take place per day. This is around 15,000 births per hour. According to the United Nations World Population Prospects, for every 1.8 deaths, 4.2 births occur.

If a mother has an STD during pregnancy, the baby can suffer greatly.

This can result in low birth weight, neonatal sepsis, chronic diseases, and even death. Many mothers can prevent this by getting the proper treatment needed.

The heaviest baby ever born and survived was 22 lbs.

This was an Italian baby whose birth occurred during 1955. In 1879, a Canadian woman gave birth to a 23 lbs baby. However, this infant died 11 hours later after its birth.

Cesarean babies are more likely to have breathing difficulties.

Research shows this is due to them missing out on an important hormonal and psychological change that occurs during labour. These babies will have trouble breathing for the first few days of their birth.

Babies born in May generally weigh around 200 grams more.

The average birth weight of babies range from 3.5 kg to 5.5kg. Generally, male babies are born heavier than females. The first child is also generally lighter than the following children.

More babies are born during the late summer rather than in early fall.

Each year, August has been statistically found to have the most births. However, September is the most popular birth month in the United States.

A baby’s head is around ¼ of its total body length.

On the other hand, an adult’s head is approximately ⅛ of its entire body length. If your newborn’s head seems bigger than usual, the baby should undergo a cranial scan. An overly large head could mean there is too much fluid inside the brain that could cause problems later on in its life.

New parents in the U.S generally spend over $7,000 for baby care and needs within the first year after birth.

baby supplies, baby facts
Photo from Pixabay

This is an estimated cost that does not include the medical costs from the birth itself. Diaper costs are most likely to increase in the following years. This is due to the cost of raw materials needed to make them.

More modern women are having their first child later in their twenties today.

In 1970, the average age for first time moms was 21. In 2008, health statistics show that it is now 25. Recently, many women from the current generation said they prefer to have their first child in their later twenties or early thirties.

The state with the highest birth rate in the U.S is Utah.

The birth rate is around 21 babies per 1,000 people. Meanwhile, Vermont has the lowest birth rate of 10 babies per 1,000 people.

More and more single women are giving birth than women with partners.

In 2010, health statistics show that over 9.8 million single moms live with children under 18 years of age. This is 3.4 million more than the total statistics from 1970.

There are more male babies born than female ones.

In the United States, for every 1049 male newborns, there are 1000 female newborns. According to world statistics, this ratio has been constant for the past 60 years.

Mothers who have premature births do not discharge milk.

This is because they do not experience the hormones leaked by the placenta during pregnancy. 4 or 5 out of every 100 babies will experience this.

New babies tend to appeal more towards good things.

For example, studies have found that babies are more attracted to smiling faces rather than angry ones. Newborns were also observed to prefer looking at faces rather than at random objects or patterns.

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Photo by Valeria Zoncoll on Unsplash

Babies are born without kneecaps.

Newborns do not fully develop their kneecaps until they are 6 months of age. Additionally, the kneecap bone does not harden yet after this. It takes about 2 to 6 years for an infant’s kneecap bone to completely harden.

A baby can swallow and breathe at the same time.

This is due to the positioning of their larynx. It is still relatively located higher in their necks. Normally, a baby is only able to do this until they are 7 months of age. Newborns are also nose breathers. This means that they do not know how to breathe through their mouths yet.

The heart of a newborn beats at 180 bpm.

Within its next few hours of life, it slows down to 140 bpm. Once the baby has reached its first year of age, it will go down to 115 bpm. The heart rate in adults on average is 70-80 bpm.

Newborn babies have amazingly strong grips.

Their grips are strong enough for them to dangle midair. Its bent fingers also help support its weight. Babies will instinctively grip anything that touches their palms. This is the palmar grasp.

A baby will respond positively to the breast of its mother.

Research shows this is due to the scent its mother gives off which enables an infant to familiarise themselves with her. Additionally, a mother may also be able to identify her child through scent as well.

There is a constant rate of twins born for every 1000 babies in the U.S.

This rate has roughly remained the same for years apart from the year 1980 and 2004. In these two years, the ratio increased by almost 70%.

baby twin boys, baby facts
Photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash

1 out of 8 babies is born prematurely in the U.S.

Since the year 2000, the rate of low birth weight has increased by 9%. Additionally, this has increased by 24% since the mid-1980s. This estimates to over half a million premature babies each year.

Babies are born natural swimmers.

Infants are born with natural swimming ability and can hold their breath. However, as they grow older this ability is quickly forgotten. This is why most people do not know how to swim, even as adults.

Female babies on average spend a day longer in the womb than males.

White babies are also found to spend five days longer in the womb rather than African American babies. Moreover, Indian babies spend around six days longer in their mothers than white babies.

The smallest surviving baby weighed 8.5 oz.

This baby is Saybie and was born in a hospital in San Diego. Normally, babies are born between 7-8 lbs.

The youngest female to give birth to a baby is from Peru.

This record goes to a 5-year-old Peruvian girl named Lina Medina. This child gave birth to a baby boy on May 14, 1939. Lina is the youngest mother in history. The condition that allowed her to give birth at such a young age is precocious puberty.

Babies have a better chance of surviving gestation if the mother is around the age of 22.

mother, baby, baby facts
Photo from Pixabay

This age is the age of fecundity in humans. This means that this is the time where a woman is most fertile in her life cycle.

Male babies have more asymmetrical brain hemispheres than females.

The part of the brain where complex mental processes take place is more symmetrical in female infants than males. Additionally, a female’s left side of the brain is smaller compared to males.

The chances of giving birth to twins are higher in Africa than any other continent.

In Nigeria, the odds of giving birth to a set of twins is a 1 in 22 chance. However, in Japan, the odds for the birth of twins are low with the ratio measuring 1:200.

A baby grows rapidly after birth.

In the first nine months of its conception, its weight will increase by 3,000 million times its original size. Once it is born, it will grow 4 times its size by the time it reaches the age of 2.

Newborn babies will lose all of their hair they are born with by the age of 4 months.

By the time they reach 6 months of age, a baby will begin to grow a new head of hair. Some babies take longer and only get a full head of hair by the time they are 2 or 3 years old. Parents should not tie their hair too tightly during the first few years of their infancy to avoid damaging hair follicles.

A baby can differentiate objects by the age of 6 months.

Before this time, it assumes that each object is the same. An example: if an infant sees a cat on the street, it will assume all cats that it sees are the same cat. This is mainly because a baby has yet to fully develop its cognitive recognition abilities.

Baby with toys, baby facts
Photo by Shitota Yuri on Unsplash

There is a baby born with a birth defect every 30 seconds in China.

Since 2001, the number of birth defects in the country has increased by 40%. Statistics show that this situation worsens by the year and that only 20-30% of these infants can be cured or helped.

The last sense that babies develop is their eyesight.

Newborns are only able to see objects clearly if they are within 8-14 inches. Babies naturally have better peripheral vision than focused eyesight. They may also have trouble distinguishing colour tones.

10% of a newborn’s weight is its brain.

When the baby grows up into a full adult, the brain only contributes to about 2% of the total body weight. By the time an infant turns 2, its brain will have grown two and a half times its original size. By the age of 5, a baby’s brain will have been three times its original size at birth.

Ancient Greeks used to spit on babies and themselves to ward off evil spirits.

This practice was also passed on to medieval nurses who would lick or spit on the faces of newborn infants. This was one of the most common spiritual defenses for people during this era.

The most common cause of death among babies is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Each year, over 7000 babies suffer due to this phenomenon in the United States. These equivalents to almost 1 baby dying each hour. This syndrome is the unknown and sudden death amongst children under 1 year of age.

Pasteurized milk was not given to babies in the 1890s.

They believed that babies would turn to resemble animals if consumed. Because of this, households with infants would not leave any pasteurized milk lying around.

baby drinking milk, baby facts
Photo by Rainier Ridao on Unsplash

Babies do not have psychic tearing at birth.

These are tears that state emotional distress in a person. Babies are only born with basal tearing. Basal tearing keeps their eyes moist and healthy. A baby only begins to form tears from emotional distress when it reaches 2 to 4 months of age.

Babies naturally prefer the cadence of their native language.

During conception, babies actively listen to the sounds their mother makes. If the mother naturally speaks in English and surrounded by natives, the baby will prefer the language over others. Research suggests that babies may even cry with the intonations of their mother’s native tongue.

Medieval Europe believed that unruly babies were the result of bad quality breast milk.

Until the 7th century, doctors believed that this was a sickness due to too much acid in the stomach. During this time, unruly children were more common with the lower class. Since their mothers could not afford better quality lives, their milk would deteriorate over time.

Infant comes from the Latin word infans.

This translates to English as ‘unable to speak’. Infant is a term used for babies who are between the ages of 1-12 months old. A newborn refers to a baby who is still within the first 28 days of its lifespan.

Babies were once believed to not have any personalities.

This was a common belief until the 19th century. After this doctors advise psychological and physical nurturing in addition to the regular care of babies.

baby sitting on the field, baby facts
Photo by Danny De los Reyes on Unsplash

Greeks once believed that the mother’s milk originated from the uterus.

During the middle ages, there was a vague understanding of the concept of breast milk. Many believed that this was from the uterus. This then traveled to the breast organ via a special vessel in the woman’s body. Some considered this milk to be dangerous and told women not to feed it to their children.

18th-century historians estimated babies were highly likely to be victims of homicide.

This is mostly because babies are unable to defend themselves. Therefore, they are more susceptible to become victims of the act. Homicide is the second leading cause of death in the United States today.

In each culture, babies are normally given special accessories that can protect them from evil spirits.

Some cultures believe that if the ornament has an unequal amount of points or sides, it would also bring good luck. The most common trinket to give a baby are necklaces or bracelets.

European and American cultures believed coral was a special protective element for babies.

Often they used this as a teething tool. They also placed it inside rattles so that it would be close to the child at all times. This practice was generally observed around the firstborn son of the family.

Before the 19th century, parents did not want to leave their newborns with red-headed nurses.

This was due to the belief that a child will inherit the personality and characteristics of those who nurse them. Parents did not want their child to inherit the temper that most red-headed individuals were famous for.

7th-century doctors used to feed babies chalk.

They believed this can counter the presence of too much acid in a child’s body. Other treatments involved feeding the babies crushed eggshells and oyster shells as well.

Christian nurses were not allowed to nurse Jewish babies.

King Henry III declared this rule in 1235. If these wet nurses were to do so, they believed that it could weaken the faith of the infants as they grow up.

A baby goes through over 2,700 diapers a year.

As an infant grows older, they will need more changes. Despite slowly growing muscle control, their digestion will also speed up because of the new foods that they can consume over time. Typically a newborn goes through a minimum of 6 diapers a day.

baby with diapers, baby facts
Photo by The Honest Company on Unsplash

18th-century parents fed babies gruel made from flour and water.

They called this gruel ‘pap’ or ‘panda’. However, this substance was a breeding ground for bacteria. This paste also closely resembled wallpaper paste.

In England, people wash a newborn’s head in rum for good luck.

This was a common occurrence in certain parts of Europe. To wish a child great fortune in the future, the infant will receive butter and sugar.

The length of the umbilical cord was once believed to predict the length of a boy’s penis.

The umbilical cord’s main function is to carry oxygenated blood and nutrients from the placenta to the fetus. This is in the area where the navel forms. It also carries products from the fetus to the placenta.

Babies typically prefer hearing female voices.

This explains why people tend to increase the pitch in their voices when speaking to infants. Other research claims that it is because babies feel more comfortable with their mothers. This phenomenon is also known as motherese.

Pap boats are the spoons wealthy parents used to feed their babies.

These spoons also came in much more expensive and elaborative versions which only the wealthy could afford. People believe this is where the expression “born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth” came from.

A baby’s caul is traditionally credited with magical powers.

This is an anatomic sac attached to the head or face of a newborn baby. Many cultures believe in the superstition that if you are born with this you will have great luck. They see this as a magical charm that would protect the baby from harm and evil spirits with ill intentions.

Parents from the time of Ancient Rome would hang a specific type of trinket on their front door as a sign of their baby’s gender.

If their child was born a boy, they used an olive branch. For baby girls, they hung a strip of woolen fabric. London, during the 18th century, followed similar practices. They would hang pink or blue ribbons on their door knockers depending on the child’s gender.

A baby’s self-awareness begins to develop by its first birthday.

Psychologists state that they take a step in developing self-awareness around the age of 15-24 months. By the age of 3, they would have already developed their Categorical Self.

baby 2nd birthday, baby facts
Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

Apache Indians are not very keen on the idea of a mother having twins.

As a result, they leave one twin to die in the wild or by their own hands. Some Inuit tribes leave one twin out in the cold for predators. This is mainly due to the belief that the mother is not able to provide enough milk for two children at once.

In the late 19th century, parents considered pacifiers a bad influence on babies.

This is because they believed that babies who do so will become masturbators. Parents do not give their children pacifiers and tie their hands to prevent sucking on their thumbs.

A baby begins to learn how to talk in the womb.

At 23 weeks from conception, a baby actively listens to your voice and other sounds. While they are unable to understand what you are saying, they recognise the tones of the voices and sounds it absorbs.

Breastfeeding babies is a difficult process for most mothers and infants.

After birth, babies need to adjust and learn how to feed on their mother’s breasts to meet nutrients. This can make breastfeeding uncomfortable and tricky for most mothers. Since babies have small stomachs, they will need to be fed more often.

A baby’s stomach is the size of a hazelnut.

Because they can only take up small amounts of food at once, they need burping before and after every feed. By the time it is two weeks old, its stomach size will begin to grow slowly.

Weight loss is normal for newborns.

In the first few weeks from its birth, a baby will generally lose about 5-10% of its body weight. Most babies will easily gain this weight back within the next few weeks of their life.

Breastfeeding will make your baby’s poop smell less foul.

A baby’s poop is usually dark and sticky. Factors such as the type of milk you give them also affect its outcome. It is normal for a baby to poop 3-4 times a day or once every few days.

Female babies can discharge a bit of blood.

This is normal in female babies because they inherit their mother’s hormones. They can also release a creamy white discharge during their first few days. If your baby girl continues to bleed after six weeks, this should be immediately checked by a doctor.

White noise can soothe babies.

This is because it reminds them of the rhythmic noises they hear inside the womb. The sound of your heartbeat and skin to skin contact is also known to calm babies down. You can also try making them listen to the sound of a washing machine or a vacuum cleaner.

baby yawning, baby facts
Photo by Tim Bish on Unsplash

There is no such thing as a constant baby sleep schedule.

In the first few weeks after birth, babies sleep an average of 18 hours a day. This is then spread out in a series of naps through the day and night. They do not automatically grasp the concept of day and night. But they will slowly recognize the dark as sleeping time because it is quiet.

Babies learn faster than adults do.

During its time after birth to early childhood, a baby’s brain will actively seek out information for it to understand its surroundings. This is also the time where they pick up languages and sounds that help them develop their speaking skills.

Babies have around 70 reflexes.

Among this list includes their rooting reflex, Moro reflex, and grasp and stepping reflex. Science explains that it does not have a clear explanation for the Moro reflex. This reflex occurs when a baby suddenly shifts its head in a different position or falls backwards. This will disappear after the baby reaches 6 months of age.

Babies are aware of your music tastes.

baby, bonnet, baby facts
Photo from Pixabay

According to studies, babies can recognise and remember the sounds it hears from the womb. If you played a particular song repeatedly during pregnancy and play it again after your child’s birth, it is likely that the baby will remember the tune.

A baby can influence its mother’s heart rate.

When a mother and its baby look into each other’s eyes, their heart rates can coordinate in seconds. A baby’s heartbeats normally at 180 bpm but lower as they grow older.

A baby will laugh over 300 times a day.

Babies typically start laughing between the age of 3-4 months. Laughing is a good way to lower blood pressure and boosts the number of T-cells in your body. On average, adults will only laugh about 20-60 times a day.

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