Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby–but don’t be surprised if you find the newborn “look” a little strange. You may be surprised by the way your baby looks after delivery. You see, newborns may look differently than you expect.
You may notice some things about your newborn right from the start that you may not have expected, but are no cause for alarm.
For example, if you’ve had a vaginal birth, your baby’s head may appear to be slightly misshaped because the baby has been squeezed through the birth canal. Usually this shaping or molding goes away within a few days.
There are also two soft spots on your child’s head, one at the back and one at the top, called fontanelles, which allow your baby’s head to mold during delivery and accommodate rapid brain growth. There is a tough membrane underneath the skin to protect the baby, so there’s no need to be afraid to touch these areas.
You may notice red marks, scratches or bruises caused by the delivery process. These will heal and go away within the first 2 weeks of life. Other skin changes like infant acne or milia: tiny, flat, yellow or white spots on the nose and chin will disappear with normal skin care.
You may be excited to see the color of your baby’s eyes. African American and Asian baby’s eyes will be dark, while most Caucasian newborns have blue eyes that may darken after a few months.
Some new babies appear to be cross eyed because their eye muscles are not strong enough yet to hold their position. This is usually outgrown within six months.
Babies breathe through their noses and their bellies rise and fall as they breathe. Your newborn’s nasal passages may be swollen for a few days, and this may lead to stuffy breathing sounds or sneezing.
You may notice that your newborn stops breathing for about 5 to 10 seconds and then starts up again. This is known as periodic breathing and is normal. However, if your child stops breathing for longer stretches of time, call your healthcare provider immediately. If your baby turns blue, call 911.
Many newborns, both boys and girls, have swollen genitals and breasts, but any swelling usually goes away within a few days. Baby girls may also have a slight bloody vaginal discharge.
Your baby’s fingernails will grow quickly. Use a soft emery board to file them down. Don’t bite or clip the nails; this can cut the skin. Most babies become fussy when their nails are being filed, so try to do this while your baby is asleep.
Cuddle and enjoy your time with your newborn. The way he looks now may change quickly as he grows, and you’ll find joy in each little change.