What Do You Know About Babies?
It’s difficult not to love babies. They’re cute, squishy and smell like heaven (most of the time). While most expectant mothers often wonder what their new baby will be like when they finally arrive, the biggest surprises often include gender reveals, birthmarks and hair color.
The moms on today’s list, however, had other things coming. From the earliest preemie to startling sets of triplets, these birth facts surprised us all! Read on for the most unusual infants on record as well as some other stats that will have you questioning your baby knowledge.
Longest Birth Length
Born in Canada, Anna Bates was an ordinary woman. That is, aside from the fact that she was 7-feet, 11-inches tall! On Jan. 19, 1879, she gave birth to a baby boy in her Seville, Ohio, home.
Naturally, he inherited her remarkable size, ringing in at 22 pounds and 28 inches in length. He still holds the record as one of the Guinness World Records' heaviest babies at birth. However, he was not officially named and, unfortunately, passed away 11 hours later.
Largest Surviving Baby Boy
The largest surviving baby boy was born in September 1955 to Carmelina Fedele in Aversa, Italy. Her baby boy weighed a whopping 22 pounds, 8 ounces.
Not much else is known about the mother and son except that Carmelina was healthy at the time of birth.
Largest Surviving Baby Girl
The heaviest baby girl on record was born in September 2007 to Tatyana Khalina, 43, in Russia, weighing in at 17 pounds, 5 ounces.
Delivered by caesarean section (C-section), the baby, named Nadia, joined eight sisters and three brothers — all of which weighed more than 11 pounds at birth. The mother attributed the baby’s weight to her poor diet during pregnancy, which consisted of potatoes, noodles and tomatoes due to the fact that the family had little money for special foods.
Lightest Birth Weight
Most of us are nervous enough to carry around a fragile, 6- or 7-pound newborn. Mahajabeen Shaik and her husband, Mohammed Abdul Rahman, had a lot more to worry about when their kitten-sized baby, Rumaisa Rahman, was born alongside a twin sister in Maywood, Illinois. The twins were conceived naturally, but when Mahajabeen developed severe preeclampsia at 25 weeks and six days gestation, a C-section was the only option.
After the twins’ birth in September 2004, one twin, Hiba, weighed a minuscule 1 pound, 4 ounces. And tiny Rumaisa weighed a mere 8.6 ounces! Despite being smaller than a soda can at birth, both twins are healthy and have no reported physical or mental deficits.
Earliest Surviving Preterm Baby
Preterm labor is a major fear for expecting moms, and for good reason. The current viability cutoff is set at 24 weeks, with the odds of survival a terrifying 39 percent. In 2014, 32-year-old Courtney Stensrud defied the odds, giving birth to a baby girl at only 21 weeks and four days gestation. While her pregnancy began normally, Stensrud’s cervix began to dilate at 20 weeks.
Despite bedrest, her baby was delivered soon after, weighing less than a pound. Although the child’s skin was initially so thin it was almost transparent, she’s officially the earliest premature baby to survive … and is now a healthy kid to boot!
Most Children Born to One Mom
In the mid-1700s, the wife of Russian peasant Feodor Vassilyev must have loved chaos because her home housed enough children to fill not one, not two, but three daycares. With 27 different pregnancies, she gave birth to four sets of quadruplets, seven sets of triplets and 16 pairs of twins, for a grand total of 69 children.
While the reports seem far-fetched, enough sources exist to suggest the records are true. The case was even reported to Moscow officials by the Monastery of Nikolsk, which was responsible for recording every birth. It’s highly likely that the mother was predisposed to hyperovulation, resulting in her shockingly large brood. Remarkably, the majority of the children survived infancy.
Most Babies Born in One Delivery
Bringing it back to the 21st century, we can’t forget the infamous “Octomom.” The Suleman octuplets, born on Jan. 26, 2009, were the second set of octuplets to survive birth in the U.S. Since all survived more than a week, they also beat the previous worldwide survival rate for a full set of octuplets — a record that hadn’t been touched since 1998! Mother Nadya Suleman conceived her six boys and two girls via in vitro fertilization (IVF), which sparked significant controversy.
The Medical Board of California investigated Suleman’s doctor for irresponsibly transferring 12 embryos at once, and he subsequently lost his license. In spite of the dubious conditions of their conception and highly publicized birth, the now 10-year-olds appear to be happy, well-adjusted elementary schoolers.
Twins … With Two Different Fathers?
In 2009, Mia Washington was thrilled to welcome twin baby boys into the world in Dallas, alongside her husband. When the couple noticed the twins looked quite different from each other, however, they opted to conduct a DNA test. When they got the results, they were shocked. One twin was biologically her husband’s, the other … not so much.
In a rare phenomenon called heteropaternal superfecundation, a woman who ovulates twice in quick succession can be impregnated by two different partners. Though extremely rare, that’s exactly what happened to Mia, who admitted to having an affair when she conceived. The twins, Jordan and Justin, are technically half-brothers. Luckily, Mia’s husband officially adopted the second twin.
Just this year, a woman from China experienced the same big surprise! Her husband sadly wasn’t quite so understanding. Can you really blame him?
Greatest Number of Surviving Identical Siblings
Born in 1934, the Dionne quintuplets were the first quintuplets known to have survived childhood. They’re also the only identical quintuplets officially recorded. Born two months early near Ontario, Canada, genetic tests proved the girls were all conceived through a single egg cell. Only one quintuplet was left-handed, and four out of five had a counter-clockwise swirl in their hair.
Their collective birthweight was only 13 pounds, 6 ounces. At only 4 months old, the provincial government of Ontario tore them apart from their family and turned them into a profitable tourist attraction. Known as the Dionne girls, they later starred in three Hollywood feature films about their uncommon story.
Most Teeth at Birth
Any breastfeeding mom will cringe at the thought of a toothy toddler, but most teething babies are old enough to learn what “OW!” means. On April 10, 1990, however, little Sean Keaney was born in the U.K. with a shocking set of 12 teeth. That’s as much as an average 18-month-old!
Considering only one in 2,000 to 3,000 babies are born with any teeth at all, looking down at a newborn with a full-blown set of chompers must have been pretty shocking. Fortunately for his mom, his teeth were extracted to prevent feeding problems. Far from toothless, his second set of teeth came in at 18 months.
World’s Oldest Mother
Many moms are now carrying healthy pregnancies to term well into their 40s. By their 60s, however, most are dreaming of smothering their grandchildren with kisses and cookies, not raising another set of their own. A woman in India went through two years of IVF treatments and finally got pregnant with her dream child … at more than 70 years old.
Daljinder Kaur gave birth to a healthy baby boy with her 79-year-old husband, Mohinder Singh Gill, by her side. The baby was the couple’s first after nearly 50 years of marriage. Because many people in India don’t have birth certificates, Daljinder’s age is up for some debate. The clinic who provided her fertility treatment, however, estimated her age to be a stunning 72 years old!
World's Youngest Mother
A 70-year-old mother is unexpected, but a very young mother brings up all sorts of challenging questions. This is especially true for a mom as young as Lina Marcela Medina de Jurado. In 1933, the Peruvian woman gave birth at only 5 years, 7 months old. After she was brought to a hospital by her parents, doctors announced that her distended abdomen was not caused by a tumor. On the contrary, she was actually seven months pregnant.
Her baby was delivered by C-section a month later. During the delivery, it was discovered that she had fully mature sexual organs, caused by a condition called precocious puberty. Her parents shared that she had started menstruating at age three. Out of necessity, her son was raised as her younger brother. Although Medina’s father was investigated on charges of child sexual abuse, the identity of the baby’s father was never definitively determined.
Youngest Baby to Walk
Most babies take their first teetering steps around 10 to 12 months old. Xavier, the son of Mary and David King, was way ahead of the curve in 2010. He began sitting up at just 3 months old, and by 6 months, he had already started walking distances of up to 6 feet without support.
While not unheard of, it’s extremely uncommon for children to rise to the challenge so early on. In fact, less than 5 percent of 8-month-olds can walk. Xavier must have been in a hurry to discover bigger and better places. Way to go!
Speaking of precocious pioneers, Michael Kevin Kearney is as advanced as it gets. Born in 1984, he spoke his first words at only four months, with full sentences at six months. At age 4, he earned a perfect score on multiple diagnostic tests for an advanced mathematics program at John Hopkins University. Despite an ADHD diagnosis, the child prodigy graduated from high school at age 6 and from college at only 10.
His younger sister, Maeghan, was also extremely bright, graduating from college at 16. While it’s difficult to conclusively pick the smartest baby, it’s safe to say Michael Kearney is right up there with the best of them. The same can be said for Elsie Tan-Roberts — the first 2-year-old to be accepted to the renowned high IQ fraternity, Mensa. Her IQ is estimated to be 156, only four points lower than Einstein’s!
Number of Babies Born
As we talk about world-record births and babies, it’s also interesting to know other stats around babies, starting with the numbers.
UNICEF estimates that about 353,000 babies are born each day, which equates to 255 births per minute or 4.3 births every second.
Did you know that babies are born with all five senses? That said, not all of them are equally developed at birth.
The one most developed? The sense of touch, which is understandable because it’s also the first sensory system that baby develops in the womb. A newborn's highly developed sense of touch means that everything from swaddling to rocking to rhythmic stroking works wonders when it comes to connecting with your little babe.
Missing Body Parts
There’s one body part that babies are born without: kneecaps. Yes, they have the cartilaginous structure in their knees that will eventually turn to bone and, thus, kneecaps later on.
But this won’t actually happen until the age of four.
Number of Bones
If the kneecap fact has you worried about your baby not having enough bones, don’t let it! In fact, babies have more bones than adults.
A baby is born with about 300 bones, while a grown adult has only 206. This can be attributed to the fact that babies are born with more cartilage than bone because they need to be soft for delivery. However, that cartilage grows into bone over time, fusing the several small bony segments in babies into single bones over time.