The world’s tiniest baby boy -weighing in at just 9.45 ounces- is finally heading home after spending 5 months in a Tokyo hospital.
If a baby is born through the normal method of intense suffering, pushing, and finally joy, then they typically weigh between 5.5 to 9.9 pounds, give or take a few ounces. You can get some big babies (that will hopefully be born via C-section) and sometimes you can get some itty-bitty preemie babies, but it's a rare thing to measure a baby in ounces instead of pounds.
However, that’s exactly what happened in Japan with this lucky baby boy, who was born via C-section last August weighing in at just 267 grams, or 9.45 ounces -barely larger than a clenched fist.
This beats the previous record holder, a German boy who weighed 274 grams, or 9.67 ounces. The smallest baby ever -also German- was a little girl born weighing 252 grams (8.89 ounces) back in 2015.
Obviously, being born that small was a risky proposition. The unnamed baby boy was born last August via Cesarean at just 24 weeks and spent the next 5 months in Keio University Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. Miraculously, the boy survived and is now 7 lbs and eating normally.
"I can only say I'm happy that he has grown this big because honestly, I wasn't sure he could survive," the boy’s mother said in a statement.
Speaking to the BBC, Doctor Takeshi Arimitsu verified the infant’s itty-bitty-ness by checking with the Iowa tiny babies index, which is literally called The Tiniest Babies(™). Once verified, our unknown tiny baby took the top spot from the German boy and proved once again that Japan has some of the best neonatal care units in the world.
Even though Japan has one of the highest survival rates for prematurely born babies, it’s still a small miracle that the boy survived. According to Dr. Arimitsu, babies born under 2.2 pounds have a 90% survival rate, but babies born under 10.6 ounces only have a 50% survival rate.