Common Traits of Newborn Babies
For any parent, the experience of meeting your newborn on his or her first day ‘Earth-side’ is the ultimate blind date. You’ve undoubtedly compared, and might have even argued over, whose hair will cover that tiny pink head or whose eyes will be staring back at you when those peepers take in their first blurry sights. We’ve all seen those adorable baby photo-shoots with the newborn perched perfectly among gauze blankets, adorned with the odd decorative headpiece, and sleeping away blissfully. You might be in for a shock when you see what these little humans look like at first glance, but don’t worry: you’ll still find them to be cute. So what do newborns actually look like after birth? Here are a few common characteristics your baby may or may not acquire.
When giving birth, your educational class may have taught you that the baby descends down the pelvis, into the birth canal and out the vagina. What you may not know is that plates in the baby’s still-soft head slide over one another to make sure he/ she fits through any size or shape. This causes the “cone head” effect to appear immediately after birth and is technically deemed “molding”; nothing to worry about though, it typically corrects itself in a few weeks.
You may have heard friends talk about their “cheesy baby”; it’s surprisingly not the food they’re speaking about but a substance called vernix. All babies in utero are covered in a thick, white coating that protects their delicate skin from the constant bath of amniotic fluid; most of this coating slowly disappears before birth and is more commonly found on preterm babies and babies born closer to their due date rather than farther. Most are quick to wipe vernix off, but leaving it on a newborn for an extended period of time can actually act as a moisturizer, leaving your wee ones skin even softer, as if that’s even possible!
Roses Are Red, Babies Are … Blue?
Your partner in the birthing room may get to cut the cord, the umbilical cord that is. The tie that connected mom and baby is cut and clamped with a cord clamp for baby’s safety. Sometimes this clamp is then wiped with an antibiotic that potentially leaves a blue, purple or yellow stain. Before you take your new love home, the clamp will be removed and an umbilical cord stump will fall off after a few days or weeks revealing a rosy, kissable tummy.
In a nerve-wracking but common turn, some newborns are born sporting blue or purple extremities; this is known as peripheral cyanosis or acrocyanosis and is a result of decreased blood flow to, typically, the hands and feet. It may be a little scary to see, but this is no issue in newborns and can even last a little while at home as the baby’s system gets used to the hard work life on the outside. Massaging the extremities lightly can help in bringing around blood and might even grant you with one of those squishy-faced newborn naps.
Genes, Genes, The Musical Fruit
Will your baby be blue eyed with brown hair? Blonde with freckles? That’s up to your genes. When playing the guessing game on your new baby’s looks, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed with all the possibilities nature provides. Although we can’t predict all the traits of your newest family member, there a few we can prepare you for, like the “conehead” or the thick “cheese” that sometimes covers preterm babies, or even the frightening but common blue hands and feet combo ( nobody panic!). When it comes to the first day of meeting your newest bundle, you can be sure those beautiful eyes and little noses will be well worth the surprise.