Hello stranger! Get to know your new­born

For the first few days of your baby’s life he is so new and un­known to you that you spend hours just star­ing at him. This is also when you may start to no­tice a few weird things, such as that he might have huge gen­i­tals, a mark on his fore­head or crossed

Your Baby & Toddler - - News -

WHY IS HE ALWAYS IN THE FOETAL PO­SI­TION?

Your new baby was curled up in this po­si­tion for more or less forty weeks. Re­mem­ber that things be­came ex­tremely cramped in­side your womb dur­ing the last few weeks of your preg­nancy. Your baby is go­ing to choose to lie in this po­si­tion for quite some time after he is born. He will even ball his lit­tle hands into fists. Don’t try to straighten his body. As time goes on he is go­ing to straighten his arms and legs and be­come used to the new world he finds him­self in. By the end of his first month he’ll lift his head for a few sec­onds when you place him on his tummy. He could even turn his head from side to side. His move­ments will start to have a bet­ter flow.

WHY ARE THERE NO TEARS WHEN HE CRIES?

Ba­bies can kick up a huge fuss with­out shed­ding a tear. This is as a re­sult of tear ducts that are ei­ther clogged up or still de­vel­op­ing. All ba­bies pro­duce tears within the first two months of their lives. If yours doesn’t, con­sult your doc­tor.

WHY DOES HE HAVE A WEIRD STOOL?

The first poo your baby passes will be green­ish black. It will be thick, sticky and re­sem­ble tar. This is called meco­nium. Meco­nium is made up of all the ma­te­ri­als your baby in­gested dur­ing his time in the uterus. Sub­se­quent poos will be­come lighter in colour and softer.

WHAT’S THE CREEPY STUFF ON HIS EYES?

A new­born’s eyes may have a bit of slime on them. Clean his eyes with breastmilk or ster­ile salt wa­ter on cot­ton wool (breastmilk has an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties that can clear up eye in­fec­tions). Wipe his eyes from the in­side cor­ner all the way to the out­side. Use a clean cot­ton swab for each eye. Con­sult your doc­tor if it does not clear up in a few weeks.

MY BABY IS CROSS-EYED!

New­borns can­not fo­cus very well. It’s nor­mal if your lit­tle prince seems a bit cross-eyed at first. By six months the prob­lem should have cor­rected it­self.

WILL THE BIRTHMARK ON HIS FORE­HEAD STAY THERE?

Many ba­bies are born with birth­marks. Red blemishes on their fore­heads, eye­lids and be­hind their necks are com­mon. Th­ese marks are vis­i­ble blood ves­sels close to the skin, but the mark usu­ally dis­ap­pears after a few months. Some birth­marks are per­ma­nent, but even th­ese can be re­moved with spe­cial laser treat­ments.

HE HAS PIMPLES

Small pimples and other bumps on a new­born’s skin are com­pletely nor­mal. They usu­ally stays vis­i­ble for three months be­fore they dis­ap­pears. Do not try to pop or scratch them. It’s only your baby’s skin ad­just­ing to his new en­vi­ron­ment.

CAN SUCKLING CAUSE BLIS­TERS?

Some ba­bies de­velop a small blis­ter on their top lip due to suckling. Even though it may be a bit sen­si­tive when he drinks, there is not much you can do about it. It will heal by it­self.

HIS GEN­I­TALS ARE HUGE!

The lev­els of preg­nancy hor­mones that are pro­duced and shed dur­ing birth can make your baby ap­pear ex­tra well en­dowed. Some girls’ vagi­nas could even bleed a lit­tle, while breasts can also ap­pear big­ger. Don’t worry about this. It will rec­tify au­to­mat­i­cally with time as hor­mone lev­els ad­just.

HAIR ON HIS BACK AND SHOUL­DERS

Don’t worry, it does not mean that he will be a hairy baby for the rest of his life. He will shed this hair with time.

HE SCREAMS DUR­ING BATH TIME

Even though he screams blue mur­der dur­ing bath time, this won’t last for­ever. Re­mem­ber, in the first ten days you don’t even have to bath your baby. You only need to wipe him with a damp cloth. Con­cen­trate on the spots be­hind his ears, his bum and his gen­i­tal area.

SHOULD HIS BELLY BUT­TON LOOK LIKE THAT?

You are likely to fret over your baby’s navel the most in the first few days. The um­bil­i­cal cord stump should be cleaned dur­ing each nappy change, us­ing sur­gi­cal spir­its. This will make the stump dry out. Use cot­ton wool or ear buds to make sure you clean the en­tire area. In the first six weeks blood could be present, but his navel should not bleed freely. For the first week and up to ten days of age his navel will be slightly damp with yel­low­ish scabs. Con­sult your doc­tor if it smells bad. The stump should fall off be­tween day eight and day ten.

WHY THE LONG NAILS?

Some full term ba­bies, or those born after their ex­pected due date, are born with long, sharp fin­ger­nails. Keep them short so that he does not scratch his face. Nails are eas­i­est to cut with a pair of nail scis­sors while your baby is asleep.

HE’S LOS­ING WEIGHT

Don’t be alarmed when your new­born sud­denly starts los­ing weight. Most ba­bies are 10% lighter by the time they go home. This hap­pens while your breastmilk is com­ing in. Most ba­bies reach their birth weight again within a week of birth.

STRANGE-LOOK­ING HEAD

A baby’s head is big com­pared to the rest of his body. If a child was de­liv­ered with the help of a vac­uum ex­trac­tor, the head can ap­pear pointy or strange. In time the shape and form of his head will re­turn to nor­mal. YB

A spe­cial thanks to Sis­ter Jenny Frone­man at the Baby Clinic in Fair­land for her use­ful ad­vice, in­put and in­sights. Ex­tra source: Kid-wran­gling by Kaz Cooke, Pen­guin Books.

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