Best Way to Understand Your Newborn Baby

Many things about your newborn may be surprising to you. For example, most babies are born looking blotchy, wrinkly, and a little “blue” – this is all very normal and their appearance begins to change in just a few days as they grow and develop. Chances are that you and your partner will be completely in awe of your new baby and experiencing many new emotions.

Your baby’s head

Unless he was delivered by Caesarean section, your baby’s head is unlikely to be perfectly rounded. His skull is made up of soft bones that are designed to give under pressure in order to ease his passage through the birth canal. This malleability can make his head look slightly misshapen or pointy immediately alter birth, especially if he was delivered by ventouse or forceps. This will not have damaged him in any way, and, as he develops, his head will soon return to a more regular shape.

Newborn Baby Best Way to Understand Your Newborn Baby

The soft patches on your baby’s skull are the fontanelles. You may be able to see his pulse beating in this area. If he was born very quickly, he may have tiny blood vessels visible on his lace, and his head may look slightly purple, owing to the pressure put on it.

Your baby’s face

Your baby’s lace may have a slightly “squashed” appearance, and his eyes may be swollen or puffy from pressure during birth. Don’t be surprised if he looks crumpled – he’s been polling up with some pretty cramped conditions for a while Over the next few weeks, he will lose this newborn “scrunched-up” look as his face grows into its new space.

Your baby’s skin

At birth, your baby may be covered in a creamy, greasy substance called vernix. This acted as a protective barrier for his skin, preventing it from becoming waterlogged by amniotic fluid in the womb, but it is usually wiped off soon alter birth.

His skin may be a little blue al first. It will gradually turn pink as his breathing becomes more regular and circulation improves. If his skin looks “loose” or wrinkly, it’s because it hasn’t had a chance to build up layers of fat. These will fill out gradually over the next few weeks.

In the first two or three weeks, newborn skin is often dry or flaky, and little white spots known as “milk spots”, or milia, are quite common, too: these are enlarged, oily glands and will disappear by themselves.

Your baby’s hair

When he was in your womb, your baby was covered with a fine layer of downy hair called lanugo. Some babies, especially those born prematurely, still have some of this hair when they are born. This is completely normal and rubs off during the first few weeks.

Newborn Baby 1 Best Way to Understand Your Newborn Baby

Any amount of hair on your baby’s head, from none to thick and curly, is normal. Whatever its colour or texture now, it will gradually fall out during his first year or so and will be replaced by new hair, which may well look quite different.

Other newborn characteristics

Other “surprises” at birth may include the size of your baby’s genitals, which can look swollen because of the hormones that you’ve passed on to him via the placenta before birth. The swelling should subside within a few days. His cord stump, where the umbilical cord was cut, may also look strange to you. This quickly turns black, and will dry out and fall off in his first few weeks.

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