Many expectant parents visualize their child as a replica of the Gerber baby – a rotund cherub with perfect skin, wide open blue eyes and an adorable smile and many are shocked to see their newborn coming out of the womb with a swollen or wrinkled skin and the occasional eczema or baby acne. Here is a brief list of little imperfections that are perfectly normal in a new born and should not alarm the inexperienced parent.
The head looks too large for the baby’s body and has a funny shape. A large head is perfectly normal for a newborn. A newborn’s head is usually up to one fourth of the baby’s total length and will look huge when compared to the rest of his body. Don’t worry, as this trait is only temporary and with time your baby’s body will catch up and you will see that as the body grows taller and becomes fuller, the size of the head will no longer look so disproportionate.
The funny shape of the head will become more rotund as baby grows. The funny cone shape head is often typical of babies who have been through their mother’s tight birth canal. The baby’s skull is very soft and will mold to a cone shape to squeeze through the birth canal more easily.
The baby’s face looks like he’s been through a boxing match. It is perfectly normal for a newborn’s face to be swollen after a vaginal delivery. Swollen, sometimes even bloodshot eyes, a flattened nose and an unsymmetrical or pushed in chin are all results of the tight passage through the birthing canal and are perfectly normal. Keep in mind that the babies we usually see in commercials or movies are many times a few months old, so rest assured that your child will grow to a rotund cutie as soon as the trauma of birth starts to subside.
Baby has scrawny legs and has a palish blue color. Again if new parents are particularly inexperienced when it comes to newborns, they might be shocked by how tiny a new born baby looks, in addition a newborn’s skin is so thin that you can often see the baby’s blood vessels just beneath which give your child a pinkish bluish cast.
The baby’s skin is wrinkled and peeling or is covered in a cheesy coating. Babies born early are often still covered with vernix caseosa, a substance that looks like cottage cheese that protects the baby’s skin from the amniotic fluid in the womb. Babies born late may have wrinkled or peeling skin from staying in the amniotic fluid for too long.
The baby’s genitals seem engorged and swollen. Swollen genitals are a result of the mother’s hormones that have passed through the placenta just before birth. While boys are likely to have genitals that look too big for their size, baby girls might also have some discharge which might even look bloody. These traits are perfectly normal and should disappear within a few days after birth.
Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, Sandee Hathaway – What to expect the first year. Pocket books