9 Weird Facts About Newborns

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a few nights ago, my husband and i were reminiscing about those rough first weeks with a baby. we started talking about all the weird facts about newborns we never knew until we had one! because i basically take every (appropriate) conversation i have and think about how to make it a blog post, this too needed to be shared with you. you can thank me later.

1) their nails come out long and sharp

a few moments after our sweet baby was laid upon my chest after birth, she immediately scratched me. i know! i had no idea that those nails grew so much while they were gestating inside the womb. i have friends who have gone a few weeks past their “guess date” and they said the nails were crazy long! tip: use a nail file instead of nail clippers on those flimsy but fierce nails.

cassie rosch photography

2) their soft-spot pulsates

while i did know newborns are born with soft-spots, i didn’t know they would participate in the world. this absolutely freaked us out with our newborn. every time she ate, the soft-spot on the top of her head would pulsate (apparently this spot is called the fontanel and is totally normal to have a dance party atop one’s head).

3) their eyes roll all around

when we went back to see the midwife for our 2 day appointment, this was on my list of “omg what’s wrong with our baby?!” questions to ask. apparently it’s completely normal for their eyes to roll back in their head, go crosseyed or for the eyes to go in two different directions. it’s scary.

4) their skin peels

this was another one on my list of questions! our midwife explained that their skin peels because they go from living in an aquatic environment to an arid one. atlas’ was worse around her wrists, feet and ankles. glad to know she doesn’t regularly shed skin like a snake.

5) their umbilical cord can take 3 weeks to fall off

i always assumed that little nub would fall off in a day or two after she was born. actually – it can take 7-21 days! gross factor – the longer it stays on, the stronger it can smell (and it ain’t like flowers). also, our midwife advised not to bathe her until it fell completely off! i mean, newborns don’t really roll around in mud or anything so it’s not like they need a bath every time. (when the time comes, we loved this tub because it’s transitional).

6) they come out hairy

this one really got me. our sweet atlas had the coolest hobbit hair on her upper ears for the first few months before it fell out! she also had some sweet shoulder hair – check it:

7) they get acne

i always imagined our baby would look like those shiny-cheeked babies you see on the sides of diaper boxes and billboards. wrong! most babies get acne thanks to the mama’s hormones still circulating through their tiny body. it usually clears up on it’s own by 2 or 3 months.

8) they don’t need water

the fact that newborns (or kids under 1) do not need additional water completely blew me away. they get all the hydration they need from breastmilk or formula! i guess i’ll just keep using the adorable water bottle i got her for a while longer…

bonus fact: newborns lose around 7-10% of their birth weight but should gain it back in about two weeks, so don’t panic!

9) their breathing is irregular

as a new parent, this one is especially terrifying. hearing odd noises, wheezes, gasps between breathing makes those already sleepless nights even worse. apparently it’s normal and they are learning to use those lungs! oh and did you know, newborns only breathe out of their nose and not their mouths? #themoreyouknow

we SWORE by this sleepsack!

so there you have it! 9 weird facts about newborns so that if you have yet to have a child (and choose to have one) you can be slightly more prepared!

if you have a kid, what else would you add to the list? if you don’t, which fact surprised you most?

ps. my husband wants everyone to know that infants can’t have honey until after age 1. “babe! put it in your article! it’s going to save a LIFE!” so, don’t feed your newborn honey.


  1. Elyse @ Just Murrayed

    March 29, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Newborns are basically aliens. I knew some of these facts – the fontanel pulsates and those razor sharp nails but I had no idea that their skin peels. That would be pretty alarming if I experienced that without knowing that…
    Elyse @ Just Murrayed recently posted…I’m Not A Type A Personality

    • chelsea

      March 30, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      haha you are SO right elyse! those aliens are nuts. yeah – the skin peeling made me so so nervous!

    • Christina @ Hugs and Lattes

      April 1, 2017 at 6:55 am

      HAHA yes. This cracked me up.
      Christina @ Hugs and Lattes recently posted…Publishing for Yourself

  2. Claire

    March 29, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Yeah…I didn’t know any of these LOL

    The heads up is much appreciated.

    I think I will be forwarding this to some of my friends… 🙂

    • chelsea

      March 30, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      haha i gotchu, claire! now you shall be slightly more emotionally prepared to deal with a newborn should one enter your life 🙂

  3. Melinda

    March 29, 2017 at 7:53 am

    I was surprised at how noisy my daughter was when she was born. You know the saying “sleep like a baby”? I don’t know where that came from, but it wasn’t any baby I’ve ever heard sleeping! They snort, and snuffle, snore, grunt, move around, really noisy little people!

    • chelsea

      March 30, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      oh that’s a greaaat one, melinda! newborns are super noisy, you’re right! and i think we need to retire the phrase “sleep like a baby” it’s just mean.

  4. Amberly

    March 29, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Weirdest thing, I didn’t know about #2 until recently and just barely noticed Emmy’s doing it over the weekend. How I’ve had two and not noticed before, I don’t know.
    Emmy was SO hairy. And both of my kids came out with dark, long hair covering their ears, it was pretty entertaining!
    Amberly recently posted…“Do You Want to Have a Cleaning Party for Date Night?!”

    • chelsea

      March 30, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      maybe you didn’t notice the pulsating before because of lots of hair? it’s crazy to watch! oh man – dark hair would
      be even funnier on a white baby! i looove that!

  5. Shannon

    March 29, 2017 at 9:16 am

    All of those things are so true! And bruises. I didn’t know they can get bruised going through the birth canal! Between some bruising, skin shedding, and mild jaundice our baby looked like he had seen some thing. #birthishardcore
    Shannon recently posted…Half a Year Down… Rest of My Life to Go

    • chelsea

      March 30, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      ohhh bruising is a great addition, shannon! poor atlas had a big a bruise on her head where i pushed! adore you hashtag because birth really IS hardcore!

  6. Sarah

    March 29, 2017 at 9:21 am

    #2- I think Gwendolyn had too much hair so I must have missed this. Thank the lord.
    #3- I seriously thought she was having strokes

    I would add newborns dont instinctually know how to sleep. Well not mine anyway! I sort of assumed she would just drift off when she was tired in those early weeks and that sleep troubles might come later during the toddler ages. Nope! My child has fought sleep since the day she was born. No amount of white noise, swaddling, lavender, or internet searches, can make this kid fall asleep on her own or sleep longer than 30 minutes

    • chelsea

      March 30, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      good point on gwendolyn having lots of hair so you missed the pulsating. it’s supppper weird! excellent addition that newborns don’t know how to sleep either! i’m so sorry she won’t sleep longer than 30 minutes, hopefully that gets better like- ASAP

  7. Audrey

    March 29, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I knew quite a few of these (including the water one which weirded me out when I learned it), but I didn’t know about honey! Thanks, Mr. WS!
    Atlas is seriously the cutest!! I love her little hobbit fur! That was another oddity I had no idea about!
    Audrey recently posted…Add It To My (Media) List

    • chelsea

      March 30, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      oh mr. WS will be THRILLLLLED to hear this, audrey. thank you 😉 i couldn’t find a clear picture of her hobbit hair on her ear but it was amazing!

  8. Vivien

    March 29, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    I didn’t know about most of them except for the not needing water one. My mom read that in a book when she was pregnant and it made perfect sense, as mother’s milk and are primarily water anyhow and extra would serve to dilute it.

    Thank you for sharing and providing a real picture of what this experience looks like! I think it’s awesome to have such a solid support system that reassures you “yes, this is completely normal!”

    The nails one is scaring me now.
    Vivien recently posted…Almost a Champ Again

    • chelsea

      March 30, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      glad you’re mom shared that with you – it was weird at first but you’re right, it makes total sense! you are right about what you said about now being a part of a community who can tell you it’s normal and commiserate too!

      not to scare you even more but – sometimes babies can be born WITH TEETH! that didn’t happen to us but it did to my friend and that is the scariest of allll

  9. Courtney

    March 29, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Haha Trav was so freaked out by Leighton’s furry shoulders and back! I remember those first weeks with her in our room, he was like she must be trying to be THIS noisy! Great facts and oh my goodness newborn Attie!
    Courtney recently posted…Australia Zoo and Caloundra Beach

    • chelsea

      March 31, 2017 at 9:33 am

      leighton has had THE MOST incredible hair since the get-go! it’s hilarious and i love it! yeah – those babies are loooooud

  10. Deborah Durkis

    March 29, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    Newborns also go through growth spurts. Both my babies experienced these spurts about 6 weeks and then several months later.

    At the first spurt my son was nursing every 2 hours. I felt I couldn’t produce enough milk. That was not the problem however, it was the lack of sleep. After the second or third day when he woke to feed and I was so tired I unfortunately screamed at him in his cradle to go back to sleep. He was so shocked he looked at me with those big blue eyes in a ‘what did I do gaze” and then started crying.

    I was mortified and took him in my arms and apologized over and over as I fed him. Later that day he went to sleep and practically slept 12 hours. Both he and I got the sleep we needed and I now knew what to expect. My daughter is 14 months apart from my son and I knew what and approximately when to expect the growth spurt and wasn’t as cranky although I did lack sleep. She wasn’t shocked with a yelling mom though.

    Of course, neither of them remember anything of the sort. But, it is ingrained in my memories.

    • chelsea

      March 30, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      oh that’s a really excellent one to add about the growth spurts, deborah! thank you!! those cluster feedings are no joke.

      i’m sorry it was so hard and you didn’t know what was happening at first! thankfully babies are forgiving (i have gotten upset a few times too)

  11. Karen

    March 30, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Hah! Chelsea! This made me laugh. My son never had any of these issues. He was a bit jaundiced, which did freak me out, but the only thing I didn’t expect was how much of my own hair fell out after I gave birth. Handfuls!

    • chelsea

      March 30, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      really?? none?! lucky lady! ha! oh man the hair falling out is such a good one too (both for baby and mom)! mine has finally slowed down some but i was losing handfuls too!

  12. Christina @ Hugs and Lattes

    April 1, 2017 at 6:57 am

    I always knew that you didn’t need to give babies water but I never even thought about why that was! These are fascinating facts. I’ll revisit this one day. And I’m glad to know I can’t give my newborn honey- not that I would have even thought to give them that condiment, but it’s a fascinating fact anyway!
    Christina @ Hugs and Lattes recently posted…Publishing for Yourself