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Welcoming a new baby is such an exciting time. It can also be overwhelming trying to keep up with feedings, diaper changes and sleepless nights. As you get to know your little one, it may be helpful to be aware of some of the unexpected things they may do that are normal for newborns.

Here are a few of the most common newborn quirks that I am asked about by new parents. Even though these are generally normal behaviors, do not hesitate to mention something to your child’s pediatrician. We would always rather offer reassurance about something that isn’t a cause for concern than miss something that is.

In response to a loud noise, change in position, or for seemingly no reason at all, your baby may “startle” with arms and legs suddenly stretched out. These jerky movements are called the Moro reflex, and typically peak in the first month and disappear by two months. This reflex can happen while a baby sleeps and even wake them up. Swaddling your baby to sleep can sometimes decrease the chance of this happening. If you are concerned about your baby’s movements, take a video to bring to your baby’s next well visit.

Baby’s first poops are usually black and sticky. This type of poop is called meconium. Over the span of a few days, baby’s poops should progress from black to brown to green and finally to yellow. Baby poop is usually quite soft and sometimes even runny. This means sometimes it can come seeping out the sides of the diaper, up their back and all over everything. The first explosive poop is typically a shock to new parents, but rest assured you’ll be a pro at managing these blow outs in no time. Many babies will poop with every feed, others once a day and some babies may go a few days between poops. As long as baby has a soft poop when they go, this is usually not cause for concern.

If you notice any white or chalky poops for two or more diaper changes, it’s best to call the pediatrician to make sure everything is okay. For more detail on newborn poop, check out this blog post one of my colleagues wrote.

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