You should already know at least a little bit about babies. You already know that a baby will take some time to get to know you. You probably have been taught that a baby instinctively knows who his mother is almost as soon as he or she is born. You already understand that no two babies are going to develop at the same exact rate. There is no set schedule for walking or talking or eating solid foods or sitting up or any other “first” in a baby’s life. There is so much more to know about babies and how they develop and grow! The infancy period is one of the most interesting of all areas of human development. Even within the first few years of a person’s life there are millions of fascinating changes. Even though it doesn’t look that complicated the truth is that growing up is fraught with challenges and changes!

Did you know that babies are born with three hundred bones in their bodies? After a person finishes growing up he or she only has two hundred and six bones. While this might sound like your body absorbs your bones as you grow up, the reality is that some of your bones simply fuse together. It is the presence of these “extra” bones that makes people believe that a baby has more flexibility than an adult, because the bones have a wider range of motion. There is some logic to this-after all, when was the last time you could put your feet behind your head? Most babies are born knowing instinctually how to swim and how to hold their breath. It won’t be long before your baby forgets how to do these things. Because babies are born knowing these things, many people believe that women should have water births. Swimming from the womb into life is supposed to make the transition of being born less traumatic for the infant. “Traditional” birthing in a hospital room is believed to be one of the reasons that babies have such a hard time adjusting to life outside of mom: the harsh transition is too traumatic.

Most people think that babies do not learn how to smile until a few weeks after they are born. Many people attribute a smiling mouth shape to gas if the baby is below a certain age. For decades most people believed that babies had to learn how to smile-that it was a condition picked up by the infant early in life. Disapproval and unhappiness were thought to be easier for a baby to express than happiness. Now, however, these theories are being debunked. As ultrasound technology advances, people are seeing their children smile while they are still in utero. Many doctors are now able to print out pictures for families that show the new baby smiling before he or she is born. Common belief now is that the birthing process is so traumatic for infants that they do not smile until they have gotten over the shocking change in environments.

There are lots of things about babies that most people do not know. The development of infants is fascinating. Learning what is going on with your baby as he grows up will make the process even more rewarding.

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