Your Newborn Baby’s First Day of Life
After so many months of pregnancy, the day has finally arrived to meet your new family member. Many parents may have very beautiful visions for months, looking at the many pretty and adorable baby pictures and posters available on the internet. However, not all babies are looking so sharp and stylish the moment they come into this world. Well, at least not on the baby’s first day.
In reality many newborns are wet and tiny creatures when they first come out of the mothers’ wombs. Many a times, their heads are slightly pointed as an effect of passing through the birth canal. But not to worry, as this is just temporary. The head will take on a curved look within a few days.
Depending on the method of delivery, the head of your baby may take different (subtle) shapes on the baby’s first days.
You might be surprised that a newborn’s head is so large compared with the remaining part of the body, if you choose to have your baby born vaginally. This is due to their heads being slightly squeezed during delivery process, and thus having a slightly swollen face. This does not happen to caesarean section delivered babies.
Also, you probably already know that in the event of an assisted delivery, for example forceps or vacuum delivery, you may find marks on the baby’s head that are caused by the ventouse cup. There might even be bruises and marks on the baby’s face in some rare cases. But these usually heal very quickly within 48 hours and are no cause for alarm.
It is not uncommon for your baby to appear purple or blue in the initial few minutes after birth. Her colour will normally change from blue to pink after a while, but her hands and feet might remain blueish for the next few hours. This is normal for baby’s first day, because the blood vessels to her hands and feet are really small, and it takes some time for blood to circulate around her body.
On the other hand, if the newborn’s skin appears to be yellowish on baby’s first day, then that may be a sign of jaundice. Jaundice is a very common sign that occurs to almost 60% of full term healthy babies. It is usually caused by having too much of a pigment (bilirubin) in the blood.
This is usually a harmless case and will go away by itself or with a little bit of treatment. However, if the case looks serious and is persistent, do see a doctor immediately. Jaundice can be treated by using phototherapy, which is done by placing the naked baby under ultraviolet light.
After the baby is delivered, the doctor or nurse will cut off the umbilical cord that is connecting between the mother and baby, leaving a little bit of it. This is a painless process, and sometimes the husband will be invited to cut the cord.
The cord that’s remaining on the baby’s navel will dry up after one week, and thereafter drop off naturally within baby first month. Please remember to clean the cord with water or alcohol at least 3 times a day.
It is normal to spot discharges that contain a little bit of blood. However, if you see constant bleeding, with foul smell or fever, you should bring you baby to see a doctor immediately.
Your newborn baby might look scrunched up with his arms and legs not completely stretched out, for some time because he was curled up inside your uterus until birth. He may even seem bowlegged. The limbs will straighten out as your infant grows to about 6 months old.
You might consider swaddling your baby to provide some additional comfort. Swaddling is the craft of wrapping a baby in a blanket for warmth and protection.
Think about this: your baby first spent so much time protected by her mother’s womb, and upon childbirth she might suddenly have “too much space” to move with her unfamiliar limbs. The baby might not be ready for such big changes in environment. Swaddling your baby with a blanket helps to simulate the protection of a womb, which will calm your baby.
Sometimes you may see breast swelling on baby’s first day; some might even leak fluid (known as ‘witch’s milk’) through the infant nipples. This can happen to both baby boys and girls.
These conditions are due to hormones from the mother. As we know, babies stay in their mothers’ wombs for a fairly long period and are constantly exposed to the mothers’ maternal hormones. These are the same kind of hormones that causes breast enlargement in mothers. As you may have guessed, these hormones are passed into the baby’s blood through the placenta during the process of pregnancy.
However, when the baby leaves the mother’s womb after childbirth, she is no longer receiving these hormones directly from the mother. Therefore, these breast swelling and fluid leaking conditions are only temporary, and will go away after a few days.
If you think that your newborn baby will come out with the same hair colour as you and your partner, then you might be in for some surprises. Believe it or not, there are cases whereby a pair of blonde haired couple gave birth to a baby with dark hair, and also vice versa. Astonishing, isn’t it?
This is because the baby’s first batch of hair may not be the same colour as the future batches of hair that the baby eventually grows. Even the texture will change over the first few months and that is perfectly normal.
And because the baby will be sleeping on her back most of the time, it is common to see that the baby will start to lose some hair. But freak not, the hair will grow back eventually, sometimes sooner than you can notice.
Similar to the case of baby hair, the colour of a newborn’s eyes may not be their permanent colour. And here’s something interesting. You may find that your baby’s eye colour starts to change around the 6th to 9th month, because that is when the eye iris begins to get enough pigment to settle for a permanent colour.
There are also some rare cases where the eye colour will continue to change even after the child grows into an adult. That will certainly save them some money on cosmetic lenses!