What Do Babies Look Like Right After Birth?
During pregnancy, every expectant parent wonders what their baby is going to look like. I know I spent the whole nine months trying to imagine how different combinations of features would play out. Would the baby inherit my dark hair or her father’s freckles? Although she turned out as beautiful as I imagined, I was also surprised by some aspects of the way she looked.
If you’re expecting a baby, there are some very good reasons your baby may be a little bit funny looking right after delivery. The following are some of the most common reasons your baby might not have looked like you expected during its first few days of life.
Oddly Shaped Head
It’s common for babies to be born with an oddly shaped head. Unlike an adult’s skull, a fetus’s skull is formed from soft plates that will fuse together later. This allows the plates to mold together to make it easier for your baby to pass through your birth canal. This is why some babies have pointed heads.
Another reason your baby’s head may be shaped funny is because they have caput succedaneum or a cephalohematoma. This is a swollen area between a newborn’s head and its skull that is caused by a collection of fluid or a blood clot. Babies may also have scalp or facial bruising. This can happen when a baby passes through the birth canal or by a birth injury that was caused by a doctor’s mistake.
Swollen Breasts and Genitals
One of the most surprising things you may notice about your new baby is the fact that they may appear to be lactating. Shortly before birth, your baby will get an extra dose of hormones. This can result in boy and girl babies having a discharge leak from their nipples. You may also notice that your baby’s genitals have a swollen appearance or find a drop of blood in your baby girl’s diaper. This is all perfectly normal.
Cracked, Peeling Skin
My daughter was born two weeks after my due date has passed. You could say she was slightly overcooked. As a result, I was surprised to see she had deep red cracks and scabs in the grooves of her tiny wrists and ankles. Her skin was also peeling. This was a far cry from the smooth-skinned infants I’d seen in pregnancy magazines.
In the uterus, your baby was covered by vernix, a substance that protected your baby’s skin from amniotic fluid. Preemies experience less peeling than full-term babies because they are still coated with a thick layer of vernix. Babies who are not premature may not have as much vernix, leaving them vulnerable to peeling and cracking.
Acne, Birthmarks, and Mongolian Spots
Maternal hormones in your baby’s body can cause your baby to develop acne. This is most commonly found on the baby’s forehead and cheeks. Babies can also be born with milia, which are small white or yellow dots that you’ll find on the baby’s face. These conditions will disappear within the first few months.
Your baby may also be born with a Mongolian spot or a birthmark. These are usually harmless patches of discolored skin that can appear anywhere on a newborn’s body. Birthmarks can be found in a variety of shapes and colors. Mongolian spots are typically flat, dark, and bluish. These marks may disappear on their own, but some will stay for many years or even for life.
Babies grow up so quickly, and before you know it the way your baby looked at birth will change drastically. Your child’s hair color and texture and eye color will also look drastically different within your baby’s first year. Although your baby’s looks will change a lot over the coming months and years, they will still look just as beautiful to you as they did on that first day.