Is My Newborn Normal?
To help prepare you for those first hours, days, and weeks of life, here's a head-to-toe guide to newborn health.
Your Baby, Head to Toe continued...
As scary as that sounds, doctors say don't fret.
"It happens as part of the normal birthing process, it's not serious and not anyone's fault, and it does go away on its own, usually within a few months," says Hirschenfang.
And while you probably already know about your newborn's fontanel (those "soft spots" on the top and back of the head) don't be surprised if they start to throb with every beat of your baby's heart!
Although this too looks scary, Hubbard says relax; the pulsating is normal, and the "soft spot" is tougher that you think.
"It is supposed to be soft, because it allows for the rapid growth of the brain that occurs in the first year of life. But you can touch it; it's not that fragile," she says. Within 12 to 18 months the soft spot will resolve and your baby's skull will uniformly harden.
That Adorable Face!
While you may be expecting to behold a cuddly, soft cherub, don't be surprised if your baby is just a tiny bit blue in color -- particularly fingers, toes, hands, and feet.
"Universally parents panic over this, but it's really quite normal, especially if the baby is chilly," says Shelov. It occurs, he says, because baby doesn't effectively regulate temperature or circulation yet.
Cuddle your baby close, and the blueness should start to disappear. Blueness in babies could also signify more serious medical problems, so it is important to discuss it with your doctor.
But blue isn't the only unexpected color you might see after birth. Hirschenfang says to be prepared for a little yellow discoloration or jaundice to appear, especially in the whites of your newborn's eyes. "It occurs in 70% of all babies," he says. It should clear in four to 10 days, he says. But it is important to notify your doctor about it. Some cases of newborn jaundice require special treatment.
Your baby's eyes can also be a little bloodshot following birth and might reveal a subconjunctival hemorrhage, which is a bright red spot caused by a tiny burst blood vessel in the white of the eye.
Hirschenfang says it's a normal result of the pressures of delivery and usually clears on its own in a few days.
And while you're looking into your baby's eyes, don't be surprised if the color is not what you expected or if the eyes are crossed. Hubbard says all babies are born with dark eyes (they change color during the first year), and crossing may not be a surprise too!
"Eyes just don't move in the same direction at the same time until a child is about 3 months of age, so don't worry," says Hubbard.