Bringing a baby into the world can be an exciting and joyous time. Unfortunately, it can also be a time filled with uncertainty and worry for new parents. If you are a new parent, you may have many questions and concerns about your baby's health and wellness, but it is important to discuss all of these issues with your baby's doctor. With this guide, you will learn a few key things pediatric doctors want you to know about your newborn baby.
It Is Normal For your Baby to Look That Way
When you first give birth to your baby, you may be surprised by how they look. They will most likely not look like the newborn babies you see on television or in movies. In most cases, they will be smaller and a lot less attractive, but it is important to know that this is reality and not television.
Even for a few days after the birth, your newborn baby may be red and smooshed. They may have a cone-shaped head, puffy cheeks and eyes, and even skin that looks red and blotchy.
While surprising for many parents to learn, many newborn babies have a fine layer of hair all over their bodies. Known as lanugo, this hair is usually shed at the end of your pregnancy before birth. However, many babies are born with lanugo, which can linger for weeks or even months after birth.
If you have specific concerns about your newborn baby's appearance, do not panic. Be sure to talk with your baby's pediatrician.
Use Caution around the Soft Spot, but Don't Avoid Completely
The fontanel is the soft spot located on the top of your baby's skull. This soft area is an opening where your baby's skull bones have no fused completely together. It is completely normal and necessary for your baby's skull to move safely through the birth canal.
You should be cautious when touching your baby's soft spot, but that does not mean you should avoid it completely. It is important to wash this portion of the skull during your baby's bath. Also, if your baby has hair, you can brush the soft spot using a soft-bristled brush designed for newborn babies.
Pediatricians will also examine the soft spot at each checkup, since it can be a great diagnostic tool. If the soft spot is flattened, they may be dehydrated, which is common if they have diarrhea or if they are not eating enough. If the soft spot is bulging, they may be a brain disorder that needs to be addressed immediately.