THESE three Bolton bundles of joy are both beautiful — and unique.

For they are special leap year babies — known as leaplings — and that means they will not be celebrating their birthdays for another four years.

First-time-parents Amy Harris, aged 27, and Jamie O'Donnell, aged 32, feel that son Carter James O'Donnell was determined to be a baby born on the leap year.

Miss Harris, from Farnworth, went into labour at 3am the previous morning and Carter did not arrive into the world until 12.30am on Monday, February 29, weighing 8lbs 13oz.

She said: "He's three weeks early. There was the chance he could be a leap year baby but we thought it would never come to that. I like it though, it's special and it makes him a bit different.

"The midwife did say he wasn't meant to be here in February, he was due on March 16, so I think we will wait until March 1 to celebrate his birthday."

Yet-to-be-named baby 'Junior' Malik arrived at 1.15am weighing 7lbs 6oz for mum Uzma Zia, aged 38, and father Zia Ul Islam Malik, aged 42, from Great Lever.

Mrs Malik said: "He comes after a long time, my eldest son is 19 and my youngest is 17, but he's been my smallest baby. We are very happy.

"After he arrived the midwife joked we can celebrate every four years and will have to pick a day either side of 29th for three years."

It was a busy morning for the maternity wards, with plenty of leap year babies arriving.

Among them was Ayda May Perkins who arrived at 1.49am weighing 7lbs and six and half ounces following a c-section for mum Jenilee Lloyd, aged 30, from Walkden.

Together with dad Andre Perkins, aged 20, they were delighted to welcome their first child to the world on the extra-special date.

Miss Lloyd added: "She's a week and a day late, she was due on February 21.

"I wouldn't change a thing though, I would do it all over again tomorrow.

"In June my mum did say it would be a leap year baby but a girl is a complete surprise, everyone predicted that she would be a boy."

Mr Perkins added: "We will just have to pick another day for her birthday and every four years have a big celebration."

The chances of having a leap birthday are one in 1,461. About 4.1 million people around the world sharing the leap year birth date including Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini, footballer Darren Ambrose and rapper Ja Rule.