From the very moment she’s born, your baby is capable of so much. Here are just a few ways she demonstrates her brilliance!
1. Scientists in Norway videoed babies who were delivered onto their mothers’ tummies, and found to their astonishment that if left to their own devices, the babies used their limbs in a slow but coordinated way to crawl up and reach the breast where they then latched on and fed unaided.
2. Your baby is born with very sophisticated hearing and can work out where a sound is coming from just 10 minutes after being born.
3. Psychologists in America found that even newborn babies have an elementary grasp of maths and physics. They can tell the difference between one, two, three and more objects, and can also add up and take away. He may not have an abstract concept of numbers, but your baby knows how many apples should remain if, for example, one is taken away, and he will express surprise if it is wrong.
4. Your baby is born to smile. We know this because blind babies also smile, so it’s not just copying.
5. Psychologists have found that babies as young as just 2 days old can recognise their mothers from a tape recording of only one syllable.
6. Your baby is sensitive to temperature and although she can’t throw off clothing or bedding to cool down, she can do other things. When she is cool she will move around more and when she is warm she will lie as if sunbathing, with her arms and legs flung out to the side. You can use these signs to work out if your baby is too hot or too cold.
7. Your baby’s sense of smell is much stronger than yours and he will use it to get to know you in the early weeks. To help him, try to avoid really strong perfumes, deodorants or washing powder and be aware that some household smells may be quite overpowering for him.
8. Parents instinctively use a special low-keyed rhythm of speech to attract and keep their baby’s interest. Psychologists call this ‘motherese’. Your baby will further encourage you to speak in motherese by her intense response when you use it.
9. At birth it takes your baby between five and 10 minutes to get used to something new, but by 3 months it will only take between 30 seconds and two minutes. And at 6 months, your baby will adjust in less than 30 seconds.
10. It is estimated that if a baby continued to grow at the rate he does in his first year, by the time he reached adulthood, he would be as tall as Nelson’s Column in London.
11. Your newborn baby prefers human speech to any other sound, which is why, when she is older and learning to talk, she will try to imitate human sounds rather than inanimate noises such as the telephone ringing.
12. Your newborn baby won’t cry tears for at least three weeks, and sometimes not until he is 4 or 5 months old. Tears contain stress hormones and so crying is a way of helping him calm down. No other animal cries stress tears.
13. Your baby could sense how you were feeling even in the womb! Researchers asked pregnant mums to listen to various types of music through headphones and then measured their babies’ movements with ultrasound. Most babies became more active when the music was on, especially if their mum was listening to music she liked. What is fascinating is that the babies could not hear the music ‘ it was only audible to the mums, so the babies were responding to their mums’ emotional responses to the music.
14. Touch is one of your baby’s most advanced senses at birth and even premature babies born as early as 25 weeks are aware of being touched. Your baby’s sense of touch develops from head to toe, so her mouth is the first region to become sensitive, which is why young babies put everything in their mouths.
15. Your baby can monitor your tone of voice and will react to it. For example, if you smile at him while talking in a frightened voice, or did the reverse ‘ spoke in a happy voice while looking scared, you would probably find that he becomes agitated.
16. To help you fall head-over-heels in love with your newborn baby, her pupils dilate just after she is born. This is a sign that she finds you attractive and helps you find her attractive, too.
17. For the first three months of life your baby can focus on objects about 22cm away ‘ the perfect distance for seeing your face when feeding, and also for focusing on his own body, particularly his hands.
18. Your newborn baby’s life depends on being close to you, not only to see you but so you can keep her warm and safe. Her whole being is designed to make you want to keep her close. Her endearing round forehead, tiny nose, big round eyes and chubby limbs trigger deeply ingrained emotional responses that make you want to help and protect her. Indeed cartoonists exploit these features. The next time you watch a cartoon, see how the artists exaggerate these baby features to increase the ‘ahhh’ factor.
19. Your baby’s cry has been specially designed to make you sit up and take notice. Researchers have discovered that new mums are able to distinguish their own baby’s cries from a ward full of other babies just three days after giving birth.
20. In your baby’s first year, his brain will double to become half its final size.
21. Researchers have discovered that 6-month-old babies can distinguish between individual humans or individual monkeys. But by 9 months, while babies could still tell the difference between human faces, they can’t tell one monkey from another.
Copyright © 2007 The National Magazine Company Limited.Published in association with Prima Baby magazine.Prima baby is a registered trademark of The National Magazine Company Limited.