7 Weird Things Babies Do and Why
Whether it's touching themselves "down there" or producing never-ending hiccups, Parenting helps moms understand their little ones' most peculiar habits.
OH, YES, WE DID JUST GO THERE! TO CLARIFY, we're not just talking about your baby -- really, it's all of them. Cute as they are, they're quirky, too. They've got immature nervous systems, zero life experience, brains that are still developing, and, let's face it, not a whole lot of social awareness. Add all that up, and it's no surprise they do things that make no sense to us. (What our DH's excuse is, can't say. Maybe just the social-awareness part.)
So what kind of head-scratchers will you be dealing with? These seven often pop up sometime in the first year or so of a baby's life. Now you'll be a lot less worried when your pride and joy lets his tiny little freak flag fly.
Weird behavior #1:HE'S HAVING AN, UM, TOUCHING EXPERIENCE
It's time for a diaper change, so you do what you usually do and take off his diaper. Except this time, your baby doesn't just lie there like he usually does; instead, his hands wander south, and stay there. Oh. My. Goodness. Is he copping a feel?
Yes and no. "It's very common to see babies start playing with their genitals around the five-to-seven-month mark," says DeAnn Davies, the director of child development at Scottsdale Healthcare, in Arizona. "It means something very different to them than it does to you, I promise!" Babies are driven to touch themselves out of simple curiosity, she explains: "They're such eager learners and explorers at that age -- anything they can get their hands on is fair game." Including themselves. "If you think about it, your child is also playing a lot with his hands and feet, but it doesn't attract your attention the way it does when he touches his genitals," adds Peter Vishton, Ph.D., head researcher at the Child Development Research Center at the College of William & Mary, in Williamsburg, VA, and creator of the DVD What Babies Can Do: An Activity-Based Guide to Infant Development. Your baby may spend more time on his equipment than on other places because it feels good.
If it makes you squeamish, provide a distraction: Hand your child a toy when his clothes are off so he has something different to focus on. Or else just go with the flow. "Accept that touching themselves is something kids do, and it's just another way of learning about their bodies," Davies says.