When one consider some of the pets people have in their homes, or even most of the wild animals one would find in a park, they would realize just how different human babies are in relation to baby animals. Some animals give birth and immediately after, their babies can walk and some can even survive on their own within their environment.
By the time we are weaning our young ones at six months, many other animals are already adults, and they need little if any help from their parents if they have not already been abandoned or succeeded them. A human being will become an adult at 18 years of age, a time when most of the animals he or she was born at the same time with are long gone or are very old. However, even with what appears to be a slow start, no animal's intelligence can compare to that of a human being, since human beings are technically in charge of all land and sea.
For that reason, babies are very sensitive beings, with the first three to six months being the most sensitive, because if anything goes wrong at this time, the consequences would be too dire. Therefore, new parents have no choice but to take care of their new bundle of joy to the best of their abilities, and they should even search for assistance whenever their schedules conflict with taking care of their little ones.
Here are 10 parts of a newborn that new parents must know are super sensitive and need the highest form of care, and 10 others that are sensitive but not too sensitive.
20 Very Sensitive: The Umbilical Cord Stump
After the baby is born, the doctor clamps the umbilical cord twice and cuts in between the clamps. This leaves a few inches of the cord attached to the baby, which is supposed to dry and fall out after a few days. However, before it falls out, the stump is super sensitive because it is an actual wound and it requires a lot of care to heal.
The stump is prone to infection and should be clean and dry at all times until it falls off on its own. If it gets wet, a caregiver must pat it gently with a clean cloth or a Q-tip. In addition, caregivers should ensure they fold down the baby's diaper to keep it away from the stump.
19 Not As Sensitive: Their Heads' Soft Spots
Newborns have two soft spots on their heads called the fontanels. One at the back of their heads and the other at the top. The spots occur because their skulls are in the process of closing up. A baby's skull is usually soft and easy to model, and this is the case because it needs to change shape in order to pass through the birth canal with ease.
These soft spots are not very sensitive because they have a tough protective membrane, so the mother should not shy away from touching or even washing these areas. As the baby grows, the soft spot at the back takes six to eight weeks to close up while the one at the top may take up two years or longer.
18 Very Sensitive: The Neck Muscles
A newborn's head is one of the heaviest parts of their body, and as a result, the neck muscles, which are very fragile, cannot support the head, as is the case with an adult. As a result, anyone handling a newborn should make sure to support the baby's head at all times to prevent it from straining the baby's neck muscles.
Therefore, the neck muscles are super sensitive because the uncontrolled movement can cause issues for the baby's neck and head. Furthermore, since the baby's brain is still developing and finding its room in the skull, such movement can have unwanted effects.
17 Not As Sensitive: Their Little Ears
A newborn's ears are some of the few parts of their bodies that are not super sensitive. Although the development of a newborn's ears is usually almost complete by birth, they still have not made full connections to the brain, a process that can take up to six months. Despite all this, the baby is able to hear his or her mother and father's voice as well as other noises around him or her.
However, caregivers should always groom the ears properly. Using a cotton ball and warm water, wipe behind the baby's ears and on the outer lobe. Caregivers should avoid cleaning the inner canal of the ear because removing wax is not necessary, earwax actually protects the canal by preventing moisture, dust, and bacteria from getting in.
16 Very Sensitive: The Taste Buds
A newborn's taste buds are arguably three times more sensitive than those of an adult are. The reason for this is that a baby's taste buds start forming even before they are born. Even while in utero, especially towards the end of the pregnancy, babies are able to taste what their mothers are eating, although to a small extent.
Furthermore, a breastfeeding baby is also able to taste a bit of what his or her mother is eating through the milk. Therefore, as a result of their super-sensitive taste buds, a baby who drinks breast milk can easily refuse formula milk when substituted because they can taste the difference. However, the sensitivity eventually disappears as they grow.
15 Not As Sensitive: Their Swollen Chests
It is quite normal for newborns, both boys, and girls, to have swollen or mildly enlarged chests. The swollen chests are not super sensitive. This is because the swelling is the result of the mother's hormones, which are still in the baby's body from the time he or she was in the womb.
The chest might even continue swelling more and might even ooze out a little milk for a while after birth but after a few weeks, the swelling subsides. This is because the hormones have finally worn off. Caregivers should not touch the swollen areas too many times to avoid irritation or infection but to let nature take its course.
14 Very Sensitive: Their Super Sensitive Skin
All newborns have super sensitive skin. While in the womb, the amniotic fluid protects the skin with a cheese-like substance called vernix; however, when the baby is born, this high level of protection is no longer there. During his or her first few weeks, a baby's skin cannot efficiently hold moisture because it is still developing.
Therefore, caregivers must be careful to protect the baby's skin at all costs. Caregivers should wash the baby's clothes with a mild detergent and while bathing them, they should use baby friendly and scent-free products to avoid irritating the skin. Furthermore, since newborn babies produce such little melanin, their skin is very sensitive to the sun, hence the reason to take them outside only in the mornings or evenings, when the sun is not too hot.
13 Not As Sensitive: Their Tiny Nails
A Baby's nails start growing while in utero, which is the reason some babies already have long nails immediately after birth. However, newborns lack muscle control and can easily scratch and cut their super delicate skin when moving their hands around. Therefore, it is important for parents to keep their babies' nails short.
During the first few times, parents might be scared to trim the nails because they are afraid their nails might be sensitive, and may often opt not to cut them. A newborn's nails are not sensitive at all but it is important to take great care while cutting them because they are so close to the baby's delicate skin. It's a great idea to cut the baby's nails when he or she is relaxing, probably when he or she is asleep or after a bath.
12 Very Sensitive: The Baby's Spine
The baby's spine is usually the first thing to develop when they are just an embryo. Once the baby is born, the spine is still super sensitive and fragile. It might be tempting for caregivers to try to sit the newborn up especially during feeding time, but this should be avoided at all cost, because their spine alignment can barely support the baby.
A newborn's spine is usually in the shape of the letter C hence the reason babies love maintaining the frog leg position to reduce pressure on their spines. Taking good care of a baby's spine should be a caregiver's priority since any issue with the spine and nervous system can affect the growing baby in very serious ways.
11 Not As Sensitive: Their Little eyes
Newborns can usually see images that are within 15-inches from their faces. Some might appear to have cross-eyes, which is very normal. One of the reasons for this is that babies are born with a wide bridged nose, which gives them a cross-eyed appearance; however, their eyes may also not move perfectly, a situation that will correct itself with time.
As they get older, their noses take shape and the crossed-eyed look disappears. A newborn's eyes are not super sensitive they just require proper care. Caregivers should ensure they use clean hands when grooming their babies' eyes. A caregiver should clean the eyes by wiping them from the inside corner to the outside corner using a cotton ball and warm water.
10 Very Sensitive: The Brain
The brain is arguably the most sensitive part of a baby's body. This is because the brain and the spine make up the central nervous system and both of them are critical for survival. Therefore, caregivers should avoid shaking the baby vigorously because they cause Shaken Baby Syndrome, a severe condition with big consequences.
Since babies have soft and delicate brains, shaking them repeatedly can cause their brain to move inside the skull leading to bruising or even brain trauma. Furthermore, since the baby's brain is still developing, and this can lead to complications that will make life hard, not just for the baby but for everyone around him or her.
9 Not As Sensitive: The Hair
Most babies are born with hair on their heads, a situation that sure surprises many new moms. Although grooming should begin from day one, the hair is not super sensitive. However, since babies have delicate skin, caregivers must be careful to clean their hair gently.
Using mild baby-friendly shampoo, caregivers must rub the baby's hair gently in a circular motion, keeping the head tilted up so that the shampoo doesn't run into their eyes. Babies really enjoy this process because it gives them a calming effect. Some babies are also born with hair all over their bodies, which is also not sensitive. The hair grows in the womb to regulate their body temperature and falls off after a few weeks.
8 Very Sensitive: The Baby's Bottom
A baby's caregiver should always make sure to clean and dry the baby's bottom despite its frequent contact with urine and his or her bowel movements. A caregiver must keep inspecting the baby's diaper in order to change it as soon as it is wet, because the baby's bottom is super sensitive. If the baby stays for long periods with a wet diaper, he or she is sure to get rashes or irritation from acidity in the mess.
Furthermore, not changing wet diapers for long periods will also lead to severe infections. When changing the diaper, a caregiver must wipe the baby's bottom carefully and thoroughly. Using cotton wool and warm water is usually the best way to do it.
7 Not As Sensitive: Their Swollen Faces
Most newborns often have swollen faces. This swelling is the result of squeezing through the birth canal as well as fluid accumulation. It might be tempting to think that the swelling is super sensitive but it's actually not. Facial features can also be distorted like a flattened nose due to birth but they quickly go back to their position.
Their facial appearance usually changes significantly during the first few days as they get rid of the extra fluids and they relax from the trauma of birth. The swelling is not sensitive or painful and usually goes away after a few days.
6 Very Sensitive: The Baby's Hands
This might sound a little bit weird but a baby's hands are some of the most sensitive parts of their bodies. The issue here is not that you might break them by mistake, it's what the baby does with his or her hands that makes them super sensitive.
More often than not, a baby will have his or her hands in his or her mouth. Since in a normal day an adult gets to touch so many icky things, by touching a baby's hands, he or she will be transferring all the germs straight to the baby's mouth. This is the reason it's always a great idea to request everyone to thoroughly wash his or her hands before touching the baby.
5 Not As Sensitive: Their Hollow Chests
You may have noticed that some newborns have a small dip in their center chest, a condition called funnel chest or sunken chest. This dip is not super sensitive; it is just the result of the baby's body in the process of growing and maturing. The breastbone has three sections and because the newborn's muscles and cartilage are still forming; they highlight the sections before they connect causing a dip in the chest.
As the baby grows, the cartilage that holds the ribs to the breastbone matures, and the hollowness disappears. It might even disappear earlier in a chubby baby.
4 Very Sensitive: Their Tiny Stomachs
Newborns usually have tiny and super sensitive stomachs. This is one of the reasons caregivers should burp them after every feeding session. While feeding, babies swallow a lot of air, which usually causes tummy problems; burping is the easiest way to remove this air.
Furthermore, a newborn's digestive system is a work in progress and some babies can have reflux. This condition occurs when the stomach returns content back to the esophagus and out of the mouth as is the case with vomiting. This can be painful for the baby and caregivers must always remember to feed the babies slowly, hold them upright after feeding, and burp them.
3 Not As Sensitive: Flexed Arms And Legs
Newborns love to hold their arms and legs close to their bodies. This is because while in the womb they were growing up in that position in order to fit in the tight space. Sometimes caregivers find it difficult to dress the baby because they think their arms and legs are too sensitive to stretch out from that position.
Babies maintain their tight position because they are not strong enough to control their muscles and hence rely on reflexes. So when dressing them, it's okay to stretch out the arms and legs. Gently massaging them after baths can help them relax. Eventually, the reflexes will fade off and the muscles will take over.
2 Very Sensitive: The Baby's Liver
Many new parents often get the news that the newborn has jaundice, a few days after they're born. This is a yellow discoloration of the baby's skin and eyes. The main cause of jaundice is having too much bilirubin in the blood and this occurs because the baby's liver is not mature enough to get rid of it.
In most cases, jaundice is manageable and disappears within the first two to three weeks when the body learns to get rid of bilirubin. However, it can be problematic if it persists for longer. Babies with severe jaundice are at risk of developing several forms of issues, and caregivers must seek medical attention immediately.
1 Not As Sensitive: A Baby's Peeling Skin
While in the womb, the baby's skin is always safe from the acidity in the amniotic fluid by a covering called vernix. A few days after birth, their skin starts to peel or flake as they adjust to life outside the pool of water. In most cases, this is the vernix peeling off. Caregivers may think that the peeling skin is sensitive but this is quite the opposite, what is sensitive is the baby's actual skin.
The peeling is quite normal; it is not sensitive or painful and stops all by itself in the first few weeks. Even in most cases, the baby barely notices it. On the other hand, there is no need to rush the process by constantly rubbing it off or treating it with lotions and moisturizers.