Moms, here are the explanations for some of the weird things babies do.
What can you read in this article?
- The reasons behind your baby’s quirks
- Why do babies grasp our fingers and bang their heads?
- What to do and when to worry about it?
Getting to know your baby is an exciting time in your life as a parent. If you’re a first time mom or dad, you probably have so many questions in your mind that needs explaining, things your baby does that you can’t wrap your head around. Sometimes, these little quirks make us smile and amuse us, and sometimes they make us worry and anxious that we’re doing something wrong and wonder if the baby is alright.
Well, worrying is part and parcel of being a parent, but if you ever notice the weird things babies do (including your own little one!) and wonder to yourself, “What on earth did I give birth to?” Don’t worry, just laugh it off! Chances are your baby is totally normal and this is just what babies do!
So why do babies sometimes behave strangely? Well, they have zero life experience and are still familiarizing themselves with the world. The seemingly weird things babies do are mostly part of how they’re built, their way to protect themselves and their learning process.
Here are 10 weird things babies do
1. They touch themselves… a lot
If you’re in the midst of changing your baby’s diaper and you notice your baby’s hands wandering down to their private parts, don’t freak out. This is totally normal. Even if they do this throughout the day, there isn’t anything to worry about. It’s just their way of exploring their own bodies (like how they touch their noses and put their hands in their mouth) and getting to know themselves better.
Unlike adults, babies and toddlers aren’t aware of the sexual nature of genitals yet. So don’t be so surprised if your baby boy gets an erection when you’re changing his diapers or breastfeeding. There is nothing wrong with this and they will outgrow it.
2. Random jerky movements when falling asleep
Have you ever fallen asleep and dreamed that you were falling and then wake up because of the jerk? Babies experience this too! So don’t be alarmed if your little one is falling asleep and they suddenly jerk and push their arms out to the sides. This is called the Moro reflex, an involuntary motor response that infants develop shortly after birth.
You would usually notice this when your baby is startled by a sound, or if you pick him up from his crib. This is perfectly normal. In fact, an absence of this reflex or just having it on one side may indicate a nerve damage or infection at birth. You can read about that here.
3. They stand… but don’t sit
One of the weird things babies do: standing up in their cribs in the middle of the night!
When your baby is about to hit the one-year mark, you might wake up to her cries in the middle of the night and find her standing on her crib. If this happens, chances are, your little one has learned to stand but not yet learned how to sit.
Usually, babies learn to sit first, independently at around 6 months. Standing comes much later. But for some babies, they can have the muscle control to pull themselves to a stand at an early age. As experts say, babies develop differently and at their own pace. There are babies who start walking without crawling first. So as long as you can see that baby is able to support his head and back, standing first should be okay.
Sitting is a skill babies should learn on their own, so don’t be too quick to help them. During the day, let them practice sitting and standing so when it happens at night, they are able to sit down and go back to sleep.
4. The excessive hiccups
The first time your baby hiccups you might think it is the cutest thing in the word. But two or three hiccups turn into two or three minutes and you start to wonder, “Does it every stop?” and if it’s even normal. Well, yes, it is! It’s perfectly normal and usually doesn’t cause any distress to the baby.
Infant hiccups are a bit of a mystery but there is a theory that since they are still learning to breathe and swallow, it isn’t fully synchronized yet and this may cause hiccuping. Experts believe that overfeeding or swallowing too much air (from a wrong latch) can be the usual culprits for the hiccups, so don’t forget to carry your baby in an upright position and let him burp after every feeding.
5. The tight grip
Has your baby ever grasped at your finger as though he was holding on for dear life? Scientists believe that this is an involuntary reflex inherited from our ancestors when holding on tightly to one’s mother was necessary for survival. In fact, research shows that when a baby grips his mom’s finger, his heart rate slows down too, putting him in a relaxed state.
While it’s one of the weird things babies do, this grasp is totally normal and an important indication that your baby’s nervous system is developing normally. This involuntary reflex is usually outgrown by your baby’s sixth month (if he doesn’t, it could mean brain or nervous system damage), so you should make the most of this sweet moment while you still can.
6. The head-banging
If you catch your baby hitting his head against his crib repeatedly, this is (while shocking at first) also normal, especially when baby does it at naptime or bedtime.
Many experts think that this motion could be soothing as it involves rocking back and forth as well as stimulates your baby’s developing sense of motion and balance. But if you’re worried he’s going to hurt himself, take it as a sign that you should start babyproofing your home and baby’s cot!
Sometimes though, head banging can be a valid cause of concern. If it is more frequent than usual and is accompanied by other developmental delays, it can be a sign of a developmental condition like autism, or it might indicate psychological and neurological concerns.
If you’re worried about your baby’s head banging habit, don’t hesitate to consult his pediatrician about it.
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7. Making weird noises
Some babies snore, some are very quiet. But some babies make the weirdest noises and you wonder if there is anything else in the room making those noises. Don’t be too startled by the odd noises you hear. Babies sputter, whistle, groan and make other cute (but sometimes unnerving) noises while they are breathing or sleeping.
However, if you hear your baby breathing rapidly or grunting at every end of his breathing, it’s a good idea to call your child’s doctor as soon as possible. Also observe if your child’s noise comes with concerning symptoms such as change in his skin color, fever or flaring nostrils. For this reason, it’s always best to share a room with your baby until the age of 1 so you can respond to his needs as soon as possible.
8. Crawling backward
Michael Moore told Larry King (and the rest of the world) that he was strange as a child because he crawled backwards until he was two. But this isn’t strange at all. In fact, it’s perfectly normal.
Their reason behind it? Well, it’s easier! It’s common for a baby’s arms to be stronger than his legs at first, causing him to use his arms to push backwards rather than use his legs to push forward. But as he becomes more coordinated and his legs grow stronger, he will soon be able to crawl forward and in no time, will be able to stand and walk.
9. Sneezing even though they aren’t sick
Your baby is still building up his immunity to many, many stimuli in this world. Sneezing is his body’s way of banishing foreign unwanted particles in his nasal passage. And they do if more often because they have to. A newborn’s nasal passages are smaller than an adult’s so they literally have to clear their noses more often than we do to prevent clogging.
Sometimes when you take your baby out on a bright sunny day and he starts sneezing, this might actually be from the sun—and not allergies. This is known as a photic sneeze.
So, how do you know if sneezing is more than just a reflex? It can be a sign of sickness if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as coughing, having trouble breathing, refusal to feed, excessive tiredness, and fever. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to contact your child’s pediatrician right away.
10. Crying with no tears
For someone who cries a lot, you wonder why you don’t see any tears falling on your little one’s face. Where’s the waterworks? Can your baby possibly be faking it?
First of all, no, it’s not possible for a baby to fake cry. They don’t have the emotional maturity to manipulate anyone before 9 months. So if you hear a baby cry, it’s the real thing and there’s probably a valid reason behind it. As for the tears …
For the first two weeks of the baby’s life, their eyes will be pretty dry. That’s because their lacrimal glands have not really started to make tears yet. But within the first three months, the lacrimal glands will start producing tears enough to be seen and noticed when the baby cries.
However, there are still instances when having no tears can signify a sickness, an infection or worse, dehydration. So get in touch with your child’s doctor if you notice that your baby
- doesn’t develop tears by 2 or 3 months of age;
- only has tears in one eye and visible signs of infection like redness, pus or discharge, or swelling;
- has any unusual eye characteristics, like discolored pupils or cloudy lenses.
So, there you have it – a list of completely strange but normal weird things babies do and the interesting explanation behind them. Can babies get any cooler?
Image from Pexels
Republished with permission from theAsianParent Singapore
Additional information by Camille Eusebio
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