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Things You Should Know About Your Newborn Baby

Aug 17, 2007
Having to take care of a newborn baby can seem like a daunting task in the beginning,. You'll probably have lots of concerns, which is totally normal, but don't be afraid to ask questions even if you think they are silly ones.

One of the things you will probably notice about your newborn is that his proportions don't seem quite right. His head will seem large in comparison to the rest of his body while his abdomen will seem very rounded - this is due to muscle weakness. His arms and legs on the other hand may appear to be very skinny.

Head
A newborn baby's head is roughly one quarter of his entire length. An adults head is about one eighth of his length so it therefore not surprising that newborn babies seem to have large heads - they do. The head will probably not be perfectly round either. This is due to the fact that the bones in the head have to move over each other during the birth process to allow the head to fit down the birth canal. But don't worry as this will not affect his brain and the shape of the head will soon go back to normal.

Skin
Some babies have a white greasy substance which can cover some or all of their heads and bodies when they are born. This is called vernix. Sometimes the hospital staff remove this straight away but other times it is left to absorb into the skin naturally over a couple of days.

Dry and peeling skin is also common in newborns but this soon goes away. Another thing you may notice are tiny white spots on the face. These are called milia and result from blocked sweat glands. Don't try and squeeze these as, again, they will soon clear up.

Birthmarks
Sometimes a baby has small red marks on the skin. These are most likely to be seen on the forehead or back of the neck. They are due to enlarged blood vessels near the skin's surface and are nothing to worry about. They usually disappear sometime between six and eighteen months.

Jaundice
It is not unusual for a baby to become jaundiced in the first few days after birth. When a baby is born he has a high level of primitive red cells and when these get broken down one of the components, a yellow pigment called bilirubin, increases in the blood. This causes a yellow discoloration to the skin and whites of the eyes but in most cases it disappears in the first week or so. Occasionally a baby may need special light treatment to bring the bilirubin levels down but this is not normally a cause for concern.

Eyes
Babies sometimes look as if they have swollen eyes. This occurs because of the pressure applied during birth but the puffiness will subside after a few days. Another interesting thing about babies is that they are unable to actually shed tears until they are about four or five months old. Surprising really given the amount of time they can spend crying!
About the Author
Lisa Davies is a writer and mother of two.
To find out more about newborn baby carevisit our website Babies Development Stages at http://www.babies2toddlers.com
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