How Many Bones Does a Baby Have?
A baby is born with more bones than an adult person. There are reasons for this, as we shall see. Most of what we would call bones in a baby is not real bones, though, but cartilage. The reason why a baby has cartilage and not hardened bones are:
- to make birth possible by allowing its whole body to be flexible
- prevent cases of bones breaking as the baby falls most of the time why trying to crawl or walk, and
- to allow the bones to develop gradually, fusing and calcifying as the baby ages
But how many bones does a baby have exactly? They’re about 300 in number. You, as an adult, have 206 bones in total, much less compared to a baby’s. You may be asking; why is this so, and where do the extra bones of the baby go to once it grows into an adult person? This is what happens.
To illustrate it, we will use a most common spot found on the head of newborn babies. The spot appears soft, hollow and palpitating and is located just on the top of the skull next to the forehead. You have probably heard people say how delicate it is, and how pressing it can be fatal. With time, it disappears on its own. Why and how does it disappear?
Most bone structures in a baby happen to be separated. These separate parts fuse together with time to form fewer bones or a single bone in some cases. A baby’s skull consists of several bones that are not yet merged ( it allows the head to come out easily during birth since it can easily mold). This is the reason for the hollow and palpitating space in the baby’s skull. The reason why it later disappears is that the separate bones fuse together and harden over time as the baby continues to receive calcium from its diet.
It’s not only the skull bones that fuse together; many other parts experience the same process. It reduces a baby’s number of bones from 300 to a mere 206. Bones are said to grow a throughout a baby’s life, into puberty and until 25 years of age when growth stops.
What’s The Cartilage That Makes The Most of a Baby’s Bones?
Cartilage is a material that’s between a hard bone and normal tissue. It’s neither too hard nor too soft. It’s the kind of tissue that forms your ears, nose, trachea and other body parts. It’s highly flexible and grows easily. Babies have this for their bones, which is the reason why they’re highly flexible.
How well a baby’s bones develop depends on many factors but, mainly, on the care its mother gives it. Here are things a nursing mother would do to make the bones of a baby develop faster and in the proper way.
How to Help a Baby’s Bones Develop
- Before and after birth, take sun-basking sessions to allow your body to make vitamin D for the sake of your bones and that of your baby
- After birth, and once the baby is past the age of six months, take short sessions basking in the morning and evening sunlight, together with your baby, so the two of you make the required amounts of vitamin D in your bodies
- If breastfeeding, take foods rich in calcium and other minerals. They include dairy products, eggs and green vegetables, especially kales and spinach. Oily fish are also packed full of vitamin D Health facilities give supplements and drops of vitamin D to nursing mothers and their babies, and you should enquire about them to take care of vitamin D deficiency
- Allow the baby to crawl a lot during the crawling stage; it strengthens the growing bones
- Once the baby can walk well, allow for more play so that its bones can grow strong
- Once your your baby stops breast feeding, ensure its meals don’t lack foods that are a source of vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium and phosphorus
Sometimes, even after doing things that make your baby’s bones to develop, problems of underdevelopment may still be evident. In such cases, there could be an underlying problem with the baby’s body systems. Seeing a medical practitioner would be advisable for a diagnosis and the necessary treatments.