What Can I Expect My Newborn To Look Like?

On television and in the movies, newborns look like angels. They have perfect bald heads, noses, and torsos. They are free of wrinkles, and are perfectly pink in color. They are clean as can be. Anyone who has ever seen a newborn knows that this picture can be very far from accurate.

Newborns often have pointy heads, squished noses, range in color from yellow to pale white to brown, are often covered with a sticky whit substance, have swollen genitals, are wrinkly, and generally look like creatures from another planet.

For babies that are born vaginally, squeezing through the birth canal can distort some of their features. Their heads may take an almost cone-like shape. This will pass within a few days, but can be very surprising initially. In addition, their noses often get squished down onto their faces during the journey. Here again, it should spring back out within a few days. Babies that are born via cesarean section often do not have these characteristics.

A newborn’s skin can be strange. Even babies of a non-Caucasian heritage are born with a pink hue to their skin. Almost half of babies are born with tiny white or yellowish dots resembling pimples that are on their faces. This is called milla, and will generally disappear within three or four weeks. For other babies, their skin might be yellowish. This indicates jaundice, which will go away within a week or so. Some babies will be covered with a cheesy or waxy white substance that is found coating the skin, known as Vernix.

The extra female hormones that a woman’s body produces and passes to her baby just before birth will often cause the baby’s genitals to swell. This is common in both male and female babies.

Many babies are born with some hair on their heads. This hair will typically fall out over time, and may not be the same in color or texture as their hair will be later on. Lanugo hair is the hair that grows on the body of an unborn baby. Lanugo attempts to insulate the baby’s body because of a lack of fat. Lanugo can be an indication of premature birth.

Even though they don’t look like they are presented in the movies, most parents will be able to still see a little bit of an angel in their newborn.


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