Posts tagged ‘babies’

Babies Don’t Find Yawning Contagious

By Kaye Nemec

You’ll probably find yourself yawning throughout this post. For adults, talking about yawning, reading about yawning and watching someone yawn is oftentimes contagious. In fact, at least 50% of adults will automatically yawn if they see another person yawning.

But this contagious behavior does not develop in children until around the age of five. Before age five babies will yawn as a sign of tiredness, but usually only a couple of times per day. On average, adults yawn seven times per day.

In the study performed by the University of Stirling, mothers reported that their babies did not respond to their yawns by yawning. Toddlers who watched a video of people yawning also did not respond by yawning.

Once children reach twelve years old they have usually transitioned into the contagious yawn stage and have a tendency to yawn contagiously as frequently as an adult.

Broken Secrets

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Sources: CBC,

Photo: DanielJames

May 13, 2011 at 2:00 am 6 comments

Babies Don’t Shiver

By Kaye Nemec

When adults are cold, our bodies shiver to engage our muscles and produce more body heat. When babies are cold their bodies do not react in the same way. Instead of shivering, babies warm themselves by burning body fat.

Babies are born with brown thermogenesis fat, also known as brown fat (because of its color). Brown fat is basically a fat-burning type of fat. Scientists used to think brown fat was only found in babies but recent studies suggest it does not actually disappear with age. For adults this could end up being the ultimate diet solution. For a baby it is critical for temperature regulation.

Brown fat is filled with mitochondria. When the body is fueled with food (sugar) the mitochondria help to transform sugar into energy in the form of heat. This heat warms the babies until they are able to shiver like adults.

Does this process warm them? Yes. However, some studies suggest this takes away calories that should be used to help the baby grow.

It is usually recommended that babies are dressed warm and in layers but ask your pediatrician for specific recommendations on ways to keep your baby warm, like what temperature you should keep your house at.

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Sources: Riley Hospital for Children,, Chicago Tribune

Photo: Kaye Nemec

December 22, 2010 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

Babies Blink Less Than Adults

By Kaye Nemec

I was rocking my son, trying to get him to sleep, staring at his wide-eyes as he stared back at me. I noticed that he rarely blinked and each time I blinked, I wondered if we had done it at the same time and I just missed him doing it. But, that type of coincidence can’t possibly happen every time I blink for 20 minutes, so I did some research.

It turns out, babies blink much less often than adults. Studies have found that babies, on average, blink less than twice per minute while adults blink, on average, 10 to 15 times per minute.

There are a couple of theories about why babies blink less than adults. One theory is that, because babies’ eyes are so much smaller, there is a much smaller opening through which things like dust, dirt and debris can pass. If fewer foreign particles enter the eye, less blinking and tears are needed to wash it away.

Another suggests that the more sleep a person gets, the less blinking is required. Since babies may have their eyes shut for as much as 15 hours per day, they are not as prone to dry eyes as adults, who often get 6 to 8 hours of sleep per day. When eyes are dry, blinking moisturizes them, so if babies don’t have dry eyes, there is no need to blink as often.

It is also interesting that babies do not produce tears until around the age of one month, when their tear ducts have developed. Even after that one month milestone, babies may continue to cry without tears for awhile. During the first few months, babies tend to save their tears for times when they are especially adamant about what they want or when they are in pain. So, if the purpose of blinking is to clear the eye of debris and lubricate it with tears, there is really no need for a baby to blink until they begin producing that cleansing agent.

Broken Secrets

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Sources: New York Times, The Register, Parenting

Photo: bbaunach (cc)

November 17, 2010 at 1:00 am 3 comments

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