0 to 3 Months

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Do Babies Dream? And 10 Other Newborn Questions Answered

Newborn smiling, lying on a white sheet

Now that your little bundle has arrived, welcome to the baffling world of parenting and searching for answers to random questions for the rest of time. We’ve got the answers to 11 newborn queries you’ve no doubt already considered.

Do babies dream?

You’re bound to notice smiles, sighs, twitching limbs or fluttering eyelids while your baby sleeps, leading you to wonder if they are in fact having “sweet dreams.”

While some researchers believe babies experience some form of rudimentary dreaming, most neurosci­entists believe their brains need time to develop before they’re capable of self-awareness and the abstract thinking required to truly dream.

Do babies get headaches?

Headaches and migraines in babies are possible, and just like in older kids and adults, they can be caused by a variety of things, from dehydration or hunger, to illness or infection.

Your wee one obviously can’t clearly communicate their discomfort, but you may notice your baby is fussier or clingier than usual.

If you suspect your baby has a headache, be sure to continue offering breast milk or formula and decrease stimulation by cuddling up in a dark and quiet room.

Can babies see colour?

Babies in the womb can tell the difference between light and dark, and newborns can see contrast between black and white shapes. It’s not until they are several weeks old that they will be able to see their first primary colour—red.

Babies can distinguish colours as early as three to four months, and while their colour vision won’t be as sensitive as an adult’s, it’s gener­ally believed that babies see the full spectrum of colours by the time they reach five months of age.

Why do babies spit up so much?

Particularly in the earliest months of life, it’s completely normal for babies to spit up breast milk or formula during or shortly after a feeding.

So why does it happen? In older children and adults, a muscle located between the esophagus and stomach is responsible for keeping stomach contents where they belong. Until this muscle has time to mature (which can take up to 12 months), your baby may be prone to spitting up.

What can you do?

  • Avoid overfeeding by feeding your baby smaller amounts, more frequently.
  • Burp frequently, both during and after feeding to avoid air build up.
  • Keep your baby upright and limit activity after meals.

Why do babies look cross-eyed?

Some newborns seem to have an off-kilter gaze soon after birth, which can be concerning to new parents.

Not to worry, though. This is a perfectly normal—and common—newborn characteristic.

Some babies are born with extra folds of skin in the inner corners of their eyes or a wide-bridged nose, giving them a cross-eyed appear­ance until they grow into these features. (You may also notice your baby’s eyes don’t always move in unison, but again, this is normal as your baby’s brain and eye muscles develop and learn to coordinate their movements.)

Fortunately, these things are rarely anything to worry about and a baby’s eyes typically straighten out by four months, but if you’re concerned, it never hurts to consult your child’s doctor.

Do babies recognize voices?

Researchers have long known that a newborn recognizes, and even prefers, their mom’s voice. This makes sense as Mom’s voice is the most significant sound your baby hears in the womb, and your baby can already recognize it from the third trimester!

With continued exposure, your baby will also start to recognize and form a preference to their other parent, as well as other close family members and friends.

When will my baby’s eye colour be set?

The colour of a baby’s irises depends on a protein called melanin, which is also responsible for hair and skin colour. Specialized cells in our bodies called melanocytes are responsible for secreting melanin and typically, the most significant changes in eye colour occur anywhere from three to nine months, with most babies having their permanent eye colour by 12 months. Of course, there are always exceptions and occasionally a child’s eye colour can continue to darken up to six years of age.

Why do newborns smell so good?

As research has shown, that mesmer­izing newborn baby aroma is very real, and as it turns out, it’s a nifty little biological trick for keeping babies alive and well.

Scientists have learned that for women, the scent of a newborn stimulates the parts of the brain that recognizes reward and pleasure, helping to forge a strong mother-to-infant bond.

As to what exactly causes that intoxicating newborn smell, no one knows for sure. Some researchers speculate that it comes from their sweat glands, or that it’s the lingering scent of amniotic fluid or vernix caseosa—the white, creamy substance that coats babies to protect them in utero.

Do babies get bored?

They sure can. Babies are living, breathing, learning machines, so it makes sense that they experience boredom when they run out of inter­esting stimuli.

Unlike a teenager who will let you know loud and clear when they are bored, a baby’s clues will be more subtle, like exhibiting signs of rest­lessness or crying.

If you think your baby may be bored, a simple change of scenery or a different plaything is often enough to grab their attention again.

Why do babies poop when they eat?

You’ll quickly find it’s best to wait until after mealtime for a diaper change, as breast milk is not only easy for babies to digest but is actually considered a natural laxative!

Babies who are breastfed often poop immediately after, if not while they’re eating. Generally, formula-fed babies have bowel movements less frequently than breastfed babies, but all babies are different and this isn’t always the case. In the early weeks, babies may poop during or after every feed, but as time goes on and their stomach grows, they may settle into a different routine.

Why do babies fight sleep?

At some point or another, all babies will fight sleep—even when it’s clear sleep is what they need most. They’re rubbing their eyes, fussing and yawning, and yet are seemingly refusing to doze off. Why?

There are a few reasons why babies fight sleep but the most common one is that they are simply overtired. Babies tend to have a “sleep window” during which they are primed to fall asleep, and if they are awake too long, they can become frantic, fussy and downright cranky, naturally making it even more difficult for them to succumb to the sweet, sweet zzz’s.

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