Becoming a mom in my mid-thirties means that I have watched almost all of my friends become moms and many family members, as well. Though there are downsides to being an “older” mom (like the ridiculous term "geriatric pregnancy"), my late entrance to the baby making world means that I have had a lot of mommies to go to for advice. It also means that I was pretty comfortable with babies and knew quite a bit about them… or so I thought. There are a few things I didn't know about newborns that I think every new mom should!
They sneeze a lot.
Newborns sneeze often because they’re clearing out their nasal passages. They could also be reopening a closed nostril. Particularly when a baby feeds, a nostril can close up. The baby will sneeze afterward to reopen.
They pee approximately every 20 minutes.
This is why diapers are a wonderful baby shower gift!
A newborn recognizes mom’s voice at birth.
Also, this is the sound newborns respond to best - so talk away.
They're kind of peely.
I'm pretty sure my son shed skin like a snake. It is completely normal for newborns' skin to appear dry. As this article explains, we all shed skin but newborns haven't been able to do this since they've been floating in fluid for 9 months. It's also not uncommon for babies that were overdue to have dry skin. (Source)
Most babies will lose all of their hair that they are born with.
I always knew babies lost their hair but I didn’t realize that many babies lose all of it. I found this out when my son's dad asked me if it was normal that he had lost so much hair. I confidently replied, “yes” and then hung up the phone and googled it!
Newborns don’t shed tears.
I think the first time my son shed tears, I did too. This generally happens anywhere from 3 weeks to three months but it sometimes can take several months! The reason newborns don't shed tears is because they're tear ducts haven't developed yet.
Newborns can only see about 8-12 inches away.
They also see best from their peripheral vision
They flail a lot.
Newborns have been living in a pretty tight space. Now they have plenty of room but little control over their little bodies. Bring on the swaddle blankets!
They have a strong sense of smell.
I've heard it said that a baby can pick his mother out in a lineup! In particular, a breastfed baby can tell the difference between her own mother's milk and someone else's at 2 weeks of age. (Source) For this reason, you may find that your baby has a hard time sleeping when you're not in the room.. The good news is, a familiar smell can be soothing to your baby. So, put some breast milk on the sheets or you can even sleep with the sheets to help soothe your baby with your scent!
They can come across a little ungrateful.
I remember crying in the middle of the night when my son was just a few days old because I literally thought he hated me. It seemed like no matter what I did, it wasn't good enough. Newborns can't communicate except to cry. They don't even coo or smile for about 6 weeks, so it can certainly feel like your working a thankless job. But, rest assured, your baby loves your cuddles and kisses.