Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Why Does My Newborn Have Hair?

If you see a newborn baby on television, they’re a true picture of perfection. Pink skin, round bald little heads, perfect noses, etc. As anyone who’s given birth and seen their newborn can attest, this is often far from reality. Newborn noses are often squished by passing through the birth canal. Their heads may be a little bit cone-shaped, too. The skin is covered in goo, and they may even have fine hair not just on their heads, but all over the body. This hair is called “lanugo.”

Here’s what you should know about your newborn’s body and head hair:

  • 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 begins to grow around three months after conception.  They hairs are fine, they are soft, and they grow everywhere on the baby’s body.  Typically, but not always, babies shed this hair at around the 36th week of pregnancy.  It is normal for the baby to consume this hair, which then contributes to the baby’s first feces.
  • Lanugo can be an indication of premature birth, and many parents will have babies with lanugo hair.  Some babies will be born with quite long and dark lanugo hair.  Lanugo doesn’t require any treatment; it will fall out on its own a few weeks after birth and will be replaced with your baby’s natural hair color.

There are an number of other surprising characteristics you might observe on your newborn, including:

  • Vernix. This is the white waxy substance found coating the skin of your newborn baby. It will wash off easily.
  • Milla. Hard, white spots on your baby’s nose are known as milla. They almost look like whitehead pimples. They will disappear within a few weeks after birth.
  • Caput Succedaneum. This is a blister-like bump on your baby’s forehead. It may be feel spongy, as it is a buildup of fluid in your baby’s scalp tissue. This only happens to vaginally born babies and is caused by the trip down the birth canal. This may look serious, but will disappear on its own after a few days.

When you get ready to deliver, don’t be surprised if your baby looks less than perfect. These “defects” are perfectly normal, and they don’t indicate that your baby is going to grow up to look like bigfoot.


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