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14 Amazing Things That Newborn Babies Can Do, And What They Cannot

Aug 17, 2007
It is an exciting time for new parents when their newborn arrives into this world. They may seem vulnerable, and they are, but there are a couple of amazing things that newborns can do, much to the delightful amusement of many people.

Healthy newborns can typically do the following at birth or within the first few weeks of their life:

1. See things 8-12 inches away (the distance from breast or milk bottle to mom's or dad's face).

2. Can hear and may move their heads and eyes towards something of interest, or move their heads if their breathing is blocked (but sometimes not enough to avert suffocation).

3. Can identify their parents' voices.

4. Can taste and smell and have shown preferences for their own mother's milk and dislikes for strong, nasty odors.

5. Can draw back when pinched or pricked.

6. Can yawn and sneeze.

7. Have a "startle reflex," in which the arms and legs may shoot out or their body may stiffen when startled by a loud noise or other stimulation.

8. Have a "rooting reflex," in which touching the baby's lips gets him or her to open its mouth for feeding, perhaps smacking lips, sucking and breathing eagerly.

9. Have a protective reflex in which their tongues thrust out any item in their mouths (such as pacifiers). This reflex is intended to guard them against choking.

10. Have a "stepping reflex" if held upright and a "crawling reflex," in which they seem to sort-of crawl when placed on their stomach.

11. Have a "grasping reflex," in which they squeeze their little hands around a finger or other object.

12. Have a "righting reflex," in which when pulled up by the arms, they can lift their head up, despite a floppy neck.

13. Get a big kick out of faces, their own or other people's, and may be able to mimic expressions a few days after birth.

14. Favor the contrast of black-and-white patterns, especially the edges and in the shapes of bulls-eyes, diagonal stripes, faces or checkerboards.

Having listed the amazing things newborns can do, it is usually too much to expect of babies one month or younger to do everything. These are the things they cannot do, and when to expect them:

1. Smile intentionally (this takes about six weeks, although parents often swear it's sooner).

2. See very far away (you'll observe as baby's eyes begin to focus further away).

3. Lift head up (perhaps a bit by end of month, but little neck control yet).

4. Sit unaided when put down in sitting position (at about 5-6 months age).

5. Eat any solids, and will choke if given them (feeding solids sometimes starts at about 4 or 5 months).

6. Drool (drooling may start at about 3 months).

7. Have teeth (rarely a newborn is born with a tooth, but most infants get first teeth at 4-12 months).

8. Grip, pick up or grab objects (by 6 months, however, you may be wishing for a baby straitjacket at the grocery store).

9. Beg, whine and cry for heavily advertised toys.

10. Watch TV.

Now that you know what to expect (or not) of your baby, it's time to enjoy these little moments with your newborn.
About the Author
ChampBaby features online baby tips and advice. Provides a collection of baby expert articles on baby gifts, baby shower, breast feeding, plus an online service for baby names. Visit http://www.champbaby.com to claim a free copy of "Baby's First Year", a precious ebook for all new parents.
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