Why are Babies so Rubbery?


Did you know that at birth a baby has more bones in its body than an adult? Babies are born with about 270 bones, some of which will eventually fuse to form the 206–213 bones that they will have as adults.1


Learn about how a baby's bones change over time.


Bones and What They’re Made Of

A baby’s bones consist of more cartilage than solid bone. Cartilage is more flexible than bone and is able to resist compression and provide support and flexibility.


Unlike bone, cartilage does not contain calcium in its matrix, the fibers and other substances that make up cartilage. Instead, cartilage contains the chemical chondroitin, which keeps it flexible and elastic. Cartilage also does not contain blood vessels or nerves. Instead, blood flow and pain sensations come from the surrounding structures.

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Sources:

  1. Cowan P, Kahai P. Anatomy, bones. National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine. Updated August 15, 2020.

  2. Chang L, Marston G, Martin A. Anatomy, cartilage. National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine. Updated October 26, 2020.

  3. Breeland G, Sinkler M, Menezes R. Embryology, bone ossification. National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine. Updated May 8, 2021.

  4. Stanford Children’s Hospital. Anatomy of the newborn skull.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Facts about craniosynostosis. Updated October 23, 2020.

  6. Boston Children's Hospital. Spine problems.

  7. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Scoliosis – symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is spina bifida?. Updated September 3, 2020.

  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health issues and treatments for spina bifida. Updated September 3, 2020.

  10. University of New South Wales Sydney. Musculoskeletal system - bone development timeline - Embryology. Published 2020.

  11. Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne. Fracture education: Anatomic differences: child vs. adult.

  12. American Academy of Pediatrics. Children and broken bones. Updated November 21, 2015.

  13. Cedars-Sinai. Achondroplasia in children.

  14. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Hypochondrogenesis. Updated August 18, 2020.

  15. National Institutes of Health. Kids and their bones: A guide for parents. Updated October 2018.

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