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18 August 2003

Good-looking baby?

Most parents immediately claim how beautiful their babies are, but let’s be honest: a newborn baby is quite a strange looking creature.

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Most parents immediately claim how beautiful their babies are, but let’s be honest: a newborn baby is quite a strange looking creature.

What are some of the features?

  • The baby’s head looks out of proportion. It is about a quarter of his/her total length.
  • The skin may be pinkish. If circulation was poor in the early hours of life, it may have a bluish tint.
  • The body is covered with yellowish, cheesy-looking vernix caseosa.
  • Pre-term babies will probably be covered with lanugo (thin, downy hair).
  • Babies who are overdue may be born with dry, peeling skin as the vernix which covered it may have started to dissolve.
  • The eyes may appear squinty and may be blood-shot.
  • The face may be slightly misshapen for several days. The nose may be flattened and the chin pushed in from being squeezed through the pelvis.
  • There may be swelling and bruises on the skull and face from pushing through the birth canal, particularly after forceps or vacuum extraction.
  • Breasts and genitals may be swollen.
  • The ears may appear crumpled but will straighten out after a few days.
  • Your baby may begin to go yellow with newborn jaundice by the second or third day.

Don’t despair, these features will disappear in the next few weeks!

 
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