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Newborn Behaviour: 8 Super Strange Things Newborns Do

Newborns eat, sleep and poop a lot. This we know. But did you know there’s a whole list of unexpected newborn behaviour just waiting for you in the newborn baby bubble?

Things you probably won’t expect and things that may leave you confused or rushing to Dr Google to uncover what the hell that noise is that just came out of your newborn. Spoiler alert – it’s a baby bleet. Yes, folks, newborns can BLEET and that’s just the beginning! While your newborn’s behaviour may seem strange, even scary at times, you can relax as most of it is perfectly normal.

Behold 8 super strange newborn behaviours that you may not read about in the baby books. 

8 Super Strange Things Newborns Do

1. Wonky eyes 

When your little one is born, they don’t have much control over their movements. It takes time for them to acclimate to life outside of the womb.

Sometimes, it may seem they are staring off into space, or like they are fixating on something. You may watch them and wonder what in the world is going on!

The thing is that they may not be able to see very far, and they may not be able to control their eye movement since their muscles still need to gain strength.

As a result, your tot may look cross-eyed, even though they are not. Sometimes, bub’s eyes may not even move in unison. This can be super scary, especially for a first-time parent.

You may want to run to your pediatric physician or at the very least, make an emergency call to their office.

However, don’t be concerned when you witness this bizarre newborn behaviour. Bub should gain some eye control within 2 to 4 months.

If bub’s eyes are still wandering or crossed after 6 months, talk to your child’s pediatrician to figure out what may be going on.

2. Wild Poops 

You’ll never be as interested in poop as when your newborn arrives. When you first witness newborn poop, it can be a bit shocking, even if you’ve read about it in your pregnancy books.

Your child’s first poops, known as meconium, last for a few days and are usually black and quite sticky.

After that, their poop should progress from black to brown, to green to finally a soft, sometimes runny mustard-yellow poop.

the first weeks with a newborn baby

Don’t be too surprised when you experience your first poop ‘explosion’ or first ‘up-the-backer’ as it has been commonly described. The runny nature of newborn poop can sometimes seep out of the sides and up the back of their diaper and can even happen while you’re changing or bathing them.

Since their poop can be so runny, be sure to check bub’s diaper often, especially if they tend to poop in their sleep.

My poor little guy had a terrible rash once because I did not notice he pooped in his sleep. I wound up holding him belly-down on my lap all day with rash paste slathered on his bare tushy to help him heal.

If, however, your tot’s poop is white, chalky, bloody, or black and it is not meconium, call your pediatrician to ensure your little one’s all right.

3. Jerky Dance Moves 

This newborn behaviour can be a little freaky since you may not expect to see them randomly spasm or twitch, especially in their sleep. However, it is perfectly normal.

Remember, your tot’s nervous system is still in development. Therefore, when startled by a loud noise or change in position they may experience jerky movements.

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Other times, they may suddenly stretch their legs and arms for no apparent reason, but it is simply a natural reaction called the Moro reflex, which typically stops around 3 to 4 months.

Swaddling your child can keep them from random jerky movements, especially while they sleep. Doing so will soothe and help them sleep more soundly. It’ll also keep them from accidentally scratching themselves.
If, on the other hand, your tot is not showing any twitchy or jerky movements, contact your child’s physician to discuss.

4. Unexpected Noises

So, you know your little one will cry, and you can’t wait to hear them make sweet little cooing sounds.

However, you may be startled by some of your newborn’s grunts, snorts, and groans. While such strange noises can be unexpected, they are quite common among newborn tots.

Since newborns’ nasal passages are quite narrow, any mucus that gets trapped in there can make your tot sound congested and can lead to all sorts of strange, funny sounds.

You can help clear your little one’s nasal passages by using an aspirator. If you notice them struggling to breathe as they make those noises, you may want to call your pediatrician right away.

5. Frequent Hiccups

You might have felt your tot’s hiccups during pregnancy, and guess what? They do continue after birth. Although they can be frequent and can last a long time, it can be comforting to know that they are normal and are simply a result of your newborn’s diaphragm spasming due to their developing nerves.

This strange newborn behaviour can happen when they drink or swallow liquids. Don’t worry, while you can’t do much to avoid hiccups, know that your little one will outgrow them in time.

6. Sneezing Up a Storm

Does it seem like your little one is sneezing out of control? No need to fret. Uncontrollable sneezing doesn’t necessarily mean they are sick or allergic to something.

Since newborns’ nasal passages and nostrils are quite small, any little dust particle or mucous buildup can trigger a sneeze attack.

Even bright lights can cause your newborn to sneeze up a storm! So, try not to worry too much when this strange newborn behaviour occurs.

If, however, your tot is sneezing and wheezing at the same time, you should contact your pediatric physician as soon as you can.

7. Uneven Breathing

If your tot is breathing rapidly, then suddenly slowing down you may want to drop everything and call your emergency department or pediatrician right away. But don’t pick up the phone just yet.

Newborns are still coordinating their breathing rhythm, so before you freak out, remind yourself their body is still adjusting to life outside the womb, and this is perfectly normal newborn behaviour.

Eventually, your tot will begin to breathe in a natural rhythm on their own.

8. Tense, Clenched Body

Yes, though it may seem strange, your bub clenching and tensing up their body is normal newborn behaviour.

While your womb provided warmth and protection, the poor little guy was balled up in a pretty tight space.

Once their nervous system and their muscles develop and strengthen, they won’t tense up as much. So, there’s no need to worry, your tot’s tiny body will gradually become more relaxed within a few months.

While you may have become familiar with your little one while in the womb, you quickly learn it is a whole new ball game once they arrive. You may be startled and concerned by some of your newborn’s strange and unexpected behaviour. Yet, most of it is perfectly normal and it is merely a reaction to them adjusting to life beyond the womb.

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Avatar of Gloria Ramirez

Gloria Ruby Ramirez is a writer, mother, and lover of coffee, twinkle lights, and rain who believes in the magical power of words. She is passionate about parenting, mental health, and the environment. She is a former agricultural microbiologist/plant pathologist with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Arizona State University. Born in the desert of northern Mexico, she is mum to her beautifully energetic son and Shih Tzu, Gerty. When not writing, Gloria can be found spending time with her son and family, reading, or embroidering.

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