Babies are often described as miracles of the world for many obvious reasons. The idea that a little bundle of joy will one day grow into a fully functioning adult boggles the mind, but there are plenty of other reasons as well. One of the most fascinating things about a baby is that they are able to breathe and swallow at the same time! Read on to find out how and why.
In adults, the opening of the windpipe is guarded by an epiglottis. This is a small piece of tissue that acts like a flap. It covers the windpipe when we are eating to ensure that food doesn’t end up in our lungs. For this reason, adults can not breathe and eat at the same time, which is probably a good thing as it would likely be pretty obnoxious anyway. Babies, on the other hand, can.
In babies, the larynx or voicebox is located higher in the throat than on adults. This means that the epiglottis does not block the windpipe fully. This can be important during breastfeeding as it means a baby can latch on and continue to breathe at ease. As a baby starts to grow the larynx drops. Once the larynx drops between 3-6 months after the baby is born, a baby will have the ability to talk.
This is just one example of how different the biology of a baby is compared to an adult. Over time these changes disappear but it is fascinating to see how much the body changes not only in growth but how it alters its behavior based on the needs of the human body. While breathing is something we don’t need while eating, it is something babies require. An incredible example that shows just how amazing the human anatomy is.