Understanding Newborns: Senses, Reflexes, and Development

Newborns' Senses are Active
Newborns' Senses are Active
Despite popular belief, newborns can see, hear, and smell. Their vision is about 20/400, enabling them to focus on objects 8-12 inches away, perfect for seeing their parent's face while nursing.
Innate Swimming Reflexes
Innate Swimming Reflexes
Newborns have natural reflexes for swimming and holding their breath underwater. These reflexes fade around 6 months old, which is why infant swimming classes can capitalize on these early instincts.
Newborns' Rapid Heartbeat
Newborns' Rapid Heartbeat
A newborn's heart beats at a rapid 130-160 beats per minute, almost twice as fast as an adult's. This supports their rapid growth and compensates for their small, developing heart.
Crying Without Tears
Crying Without Tears
Babies cry to communicate, but they don't produce real tears until they are about 1-3 months old. Before that, they conserve hydration, and their tear ducts are still developing.
Newborn Sleep Patterns
Newborn Sleep Patterns
Newborns sleep a total of 14-17 hours a day but in short bursts of 2-4 hours. This irregular pattern aligns with their need to feed frequently and their undeveloped circadian rhythms.
Remarkable Taste Buds
Remarkable Taste Buds
Newborns are born with a preference for sweet flavors, which is thought to attract them to breast milk. They have more taste buds than adults, even on the roof of their mouth.
Genetic Chimera Phenomenon
Genetic Chimera Phenomenon
Some newborns are chimeras, meaning they have two sets of DNA. This can happen with twins; if one embryo absorbs the other, the surviving newborn can have a mix of both genetic materials.
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What is newborns' vision approximately?
Perfect 20/20 vision
About 20/400 focus
Can't see until 6 months