A timeline of a baby’s first hour

Back when I worked in a lab, I spent countless hours diligently watching fruit flies mate. It was a strange job — both extremely scandalous and extremely boring. But lots of scientists are also voyeurs, I swear. And those tedious observations were a good way to learn about instinctual behaviors.

So I was a little nostalgic when I came across a paper from scientists in Sweden. The researchers did their own careful observations on 28 of the most mysterious creatures on the planet: brand-spanking-new humans. Videos of babies in their first hour of life gave the researchers an unprecedented view of how newborns instinctually behave, when left to their own devices and nestled skin-to-skin on their mothers’ chests. I found theresults, published in January 2011 in Acta Paediatrica, just as fascinating as the Drosophila courtship ritual.

Here are some key milestones in the first hour and 10 minutes of a newborn’s life, presented in median minutes:

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