BURGIE IRE­LAND regis­tered nurse and mid­wife

MY BABY WAS BORN WITH A RED MARK ON THE BACK OF HER HEAD. MANY PEO­PLE HAVE TOLD ME IT WILL KILL HER, OTH­ERS SAY IT HAS SOME­THING TO DO WITH THE FONTANELLE. WHAT IS THE MARK AND HOW DO I MAKE IT GO AWAY?

Your Baby & Toddler - - Your baby files -

The type of mark you de­scribe called a straw­berry birth­mark, and is ab­so­lutely harm­less. It does not have any­thing to do with the fontanelle and there’s noth­ing you can do to make it go away – given time, it will fade on its own.

In med­i­cal terms the straw­berry birth­mark is called a cap­il­lary hae­man­gioma be­cause it’s made up of blood ves­sels. It will grad­u­ally fade and dis­ap­pear. Some only take a year or two, but big­ger birth­marks can take up to six years and very oc­ca­sion­ally it may take ten years if the mark is large. The birth­mark looks like a straw­berry be­cause the skin is raised and bright red. Even though th­ese birth­marks can look re­ally fierce, they’re not con­ta­gious, and they won’t spread or get big­ger once they’re es­tab­lished.

Straw­berry birth­marks are usu­ally ev­i­dent soon after birth and grow very slowly dur­ing the first few months. They’re not caused by birth trauma (for­ceps) or any­thing you did dur­ing your preg­nancy. Although straw­berry birth­marks can ap­pear any­where on the body, they’re usu­ally found on the head, back or chest. Your doc­tor or pae­di­a­tri­cian will di­ag­nose the straw­berry birth­mark and mon­i­tor it. Un­der­stand­ably, smaller birth­marks may fade quicker than big­ger ones. A big­ger straw­berry birth­mark that has taken longer to fade may leave a small brown mark on the skin.

Trust your health­care pro­fes­sional for ad­vice and treat­ment, and don’t take your baby to a healer or her­bal­ist to “re­move the evil” that has caused the birth­mark – there’s noth­ing evil about it. Tra­di­tional heal­ing cer­e­monies are only harm­less when no con­coc­tions are used or ap­plied to the birth­mark. On the rare oc­ca­sion when the birth­mark is on the baby’s eye­lids, nose or mouth, cor­ti­sone is pre­scribed to shrink it.

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