On the surface, babies seem pretty simple. After all, they are just babies. At times it can seem babies do little other than eat, sleep and dirty their diapers. There is some truth to that. However, one should not forget that babies are just smaller people and that people are complicated. Babies have quirks, personalities and their own habits. Of course, most of these habits and quirks are common and pretty cute. A baby might have a special giggle when they get their Cheerios or maybe they can't fall asleep without their favorite stuffed monkey toy. On the less cute side, a baby might spend hours crying when their parents were hoping for just one good night of sleep.
However, there are other habits a baby could have that a parent might need to be concerned about. It is important to realize that while most of the things a baby does are normal, there are some things that are not normal and may be a sign that something is wrong with the baby. Here are 15 abnormal baby habits that people need to be aware of.
15 Shrill Crying
Everyone knows that to have a baby means to put up with crying. After all, crying is the only outlet a baby has for communication, and every kind of cry means something. However, it is important to note that not every kind of cry is normal.
When a baby lets out a shrill cry, that could be cause for some concern. It often means the baby is in some sort of pain or distress. These cries may be followed by pauses in between crying. The baby may also appear to stop breathing. All of these are signs that there could be something wrong with the baby. It is also important to mention that certain kinds of crying can be a symptom of Autism. Anyone that notices unusual shrill cries coming from their baby needs to consult a doctor.
14 Gagging While Eating Food
A newborn baby will get all of his or her nutritional needs from either breastmilk or baby formula. Of course, as a baby gets older, it will eventually be able to eat solid foods. Parents often get very excited to introduce specified solid foods into their baby's diet. However, if a baby cannot eat this food, then there could be a problem. More specifically, a baby should be able to eat solid foods without gagging. If a baby cannot eat without gagging, then that could be a sign that there is something wrong. For one thing, it could be a sign that the baby has a sensitive gag reflex. It could also indicate a more critical issue. This is a scary predicament for parents who don't want to end up in a situation where their young child is choking. If gagging is a problem with your baby, it's best to consult a medical professional.
13 Breaking Their Breathing Cycle
If there is one thing for certain when it comes to babies, it is that they all breathe. That much is painfully obvious. Nevertheless, a newborn baby does not breathe like a grown adult does. A newborn will breathe in cycles, meaning they breathe progressively faster and deeper.
This may seem strange to parents, but it is perfectly normal. However, there are certain kinds of breathing that a parent should be concerned about. These include more than 60 breaths per minute, persistent grunts at the end of each breath, and breathing that stops for longer than 10 seconds. Any one of these things could be a signal that something is not right with the baby, and the baby requires medical attention to make sure everything is working properly.
12 Not Responding To Stimuli
A baby, unlike an adult, is new to the world. Despite that, or possibly because of it, they should respond to the world that they are in. To put it another way, a baby should respond to stimuli, especially extreme stimuli.
That means a baby should have some reaction to a loud noise; most babies will cry or cringe when they hear a sudden loud noise. A baby should also respond to being startled by throwing out their arms and legs and extending their necks. Likewise, a baby should respond to bright lights by blinking or crying. It is not normal for a baby to not respond to stimuli like this. A parent needs to consult a doctor if their baby does not respond to stimuli in the way he or she should.
11 Not Raising His/Her Head
Whenever one thinks of a baby, they probably think of a helpless little thing. Naturally, that is true to some degree. However, babies might just be stronger than one might think. Some of that strength can be seen when a baby raises its head.
It might not seem like much, but raising its head requires considerable strength on a baby's part. Afterall, when you're the small, your head makes up a considerable percentage of your weight. A baby should at least try to raise its head whenever it is put on its stomach. A baby not raising its head when placed on its stomach might not be as strong as it should be. It could also be a sign that something else is wrong with the baby and that it needs medical attention.
10 Not Being Able To Focus Their Eyes
Something many people might not notice about a baby is their eye movement. A typical newborn will have eyes that wander and even cross at times. This may seem like a strange thing to parents, but it is perfectly normal. However, eye movement can also indicate if something is not right with a baby.
A baby should be able to focus on an object that is eight to twelve inches away from its face. It will only be able to focus on it briefly, however. It is not normal if a baby is completely unable to focus on objects in front of its face. If a baby cannot focus its eyes like it should be able to, it could be cause for concern for parents.
9 Lying Still For Hours
It probably goes without saying that babies can be a handful. Obviously, babies cannot do anything for themselves and need constant care and attention. So it's natural that parents may wish that their baby would just lie still for a while. They just need a break! But parents need to be careful what they wish for.
A baby lying still may be good for exhausted parents, but it is not a good sign as far as the baby's health is concerned. It is not normal for babies to lie still for hours on end. If a baby does lie still for hours, it is a signal that something is wrong with the baby and could actually be a warning sign of Autism. Autistic children have been known to lie still for a great amount of time and show a lack of interest in the world around them.
8 Being Sluggish
One thing that can be said about babies is as they get older, they get much more active. That is part of the reason that babies can be such a handful. Some babies tend to crawl all over the place, and that is very normal.
Just like babies lying still for hours is something parents may wish for, they may also wish for babies to be a bit more sluggish. Similar to lying still, being sluggish or unresponsive is not actually good for a baby. Parents may need to consult a doctor if their baby has this sluggish behavior. Generally, doctors measure a child's health with his or her activity level. And if a baby's activity level is on the lower end, they don't consider it a good sign.
7 Excessive Vomiting
Everyone knows that babies are cute. What a lot of people may not realize is they are also very messy. For one thing, there are all of the dirty diapers. There is also the fact that babies can spit up quite a lot, and that can be pretty messy. A baby spitting up is absolutely normal.
What is not so normal is a baby vomiting. There is a difference between spitting up a bit of milk after a feeding while the baby is being burped and full on vomiting. This probably is not that big of a revelation to most people, as vomiting is a pretty classic symptom of various illnesses in adults, after all. It is no different for babies. If a baby is vomiting, especially if it is a lot, it means that the baby is sick. It is simply not right for a baby, or anyone for that matter, to be vomiting excessively.
6 Not Wanting To Eat Or Drink
Just like everybody else in the world, a baby needs and wants to eat. In fact, babies should want to eat pretty often. A normal healthy newborn baby will want to drink his milk every three to four hours. When a baby is hungry, they will show it by crying, sucking on their thumb or moving their mouth as if they were looking for food. This behavior is totally normal and what a baby should be doing.
If a baby does not do this, it is often an indication that something is not right. What is even more concerning is a baby flat-out refusing to eat. If a baby starts to lose weight from refusing to eat, it could be a sign of a serious illness, and parents should be concerned about it.
5 Lacking A Suckling Reflex
It has been said that when a baby is born, the only thing it actually knows how to do is suck, literally suck. That is how a baby feeds, after all, by suckling on a breast or bottle. That is why if a baby is reluctant or cannot suck on things, it could actually be a warning sign that something is just not right.
The problem is that it can be a difficult to notice if a baby is having sucking problems. One thing to look out for is a baby not being able to latch onto the breast, which might be the most obvious sign. Another clue is not hearing a baby swallow or gulp while feeding. It should be noted that sucking problems are especially common in babies that are born prematurely. A lactation nurse or specialist may be able to help a new mom through this problem.
4 Not Gaining Weight
One of the things a baby will do for certain is grow. Growing means a baby will gain weight as it gets older. If a baby is not gaining weight, that is not a good sign. However, it is normal for a baby to lose about 10 percent of its birth weight once it is actually born. But beyond that, a baby should be gaining weight in general.
You can tell a baby is not gaining weight if it has loose skin or a thin face. Also, fewer wet or dirty diapers can be another telltale sign a baby is having difficulty gaining and keeping weight. Parents need to take their baby to a doctor if it is not gaining any weight in order to rule out illness or other harmful causes. Doctors will be able to assess the baby and also provide information about normal growth and weight gains for a child of that age and size.
3 Showing Discomfort When Urinating
If someone has a baby, that means they will be changing lots of diapers, as babies obviously do not know how to use the toilet quite yet. A baby should wet at least four diapers a day. However, newborns can wet around 12-15 diapers in a day. If you're new to the parenting game, this amount of diaper changes will likely be a big surprise!
When a baby is wetting its diapers, a parent may want to keep an eye on the baby to see if it is showing any signs of discomfort, which is not normal. A baby showing discomfort when peeing can be a sign of some kind of infection. In most cases like these, it will likely be a urinary infection of some kind. So if a baby seems to not be peeing too easily, a parent may want to be concerned.
2 Not Making Any Eye Contact
It might not seem like babies can do too much, which is pretty much true. However, they are able to do more than people realize. For example, people might not think about it all that much, but a baby can make and hold eye contact with people. This is a small but a very crucial thing. In fact, a baby should be making eye contact as a part of normal development. Studies have even shown that babies will maintain eye contact longer with their mother, as they recognize her voice from inside the womb.
It is actually abnormal if a baby is not making any eye contact and this should be concerning to parents. The reason for this is that not making eye contact can be an early sign of Autism. Parents certainly should not immediately panic if their baby is not making eye contact, but they should seek medical attention to see what is going on.
1 Not Recognizing Their Name
Just like no two snowflakes are alike, no two babies are alike. One of the most clear-cut differences that babies will have is different names. Parents often work very hard to ensure their baby has a name that is unique, meaningful and carefully thought out.
Overall, a baby should be able to recognize or at least respond to its own name. If a baby does not do this, that is yet another warning sign that it could have Autism. The same applies if a baby is unable to recognize familiar voices like that of its parents or siblings. Obviously, there is an age component to all of this. No one should expect a newborn to respond to its name, but as a baby gets older, it certainly should be able to.
Sources: Our Everyday Life, Disabled-World, Parent Savvy, Help Guide, BabyCentre.co.uk