It goes without saying that in your eyes, your newborn baby is utterly perfect. Although there’s no denying their beauty, there may be a few things that – on closer inspection – don’t quite fit the typical image of a flawless newborn.
Especially if they are born with a few teeth (yes, really!).
Blots on the horizon that may make you hesitate before snapping those newborn shots include spots, odd-shaped heads and rashes. But most are very common and will clear up without any treatment.
Here’s what to expect.
You believed your baby would be born with skin as pristine and soft as – well – a baby’s bottom. The reality is often that their skin is dry, flaky and even peeling at first. Especially if they were overdue.
Although it’s tempting to whip out the baby lotion (well it works a treat on our legs), using moisturisers or oils on their skin could do more harm than good.
Don’t panic – baby’s dry skin will naturally flake off in the first few days, revealing that peachy newborn skin underneath.
Most babies have some birthmarks. While some are small and inconspicuous, others look like maps of large countries.
The most common are odd-looking pink V-shaped marks on your baby’s eyelids, forehead and neck.
They’re called ‘stork bites’ (although our painful nether regions are telling us there was definitely no stork involved in delivering this baby). They’re caused by the stretching of tiny blood vessels under your baby’s skin.
Most birthmarks will fade and disappear in time, although it can take months, or even years.
About one newborn in 20 has a strawberry birthmark, or haemangioma: a raised red mark that increases in size rapidly over the first six months.
This is caused by abnormal blood vessels under the skin.
It can look alarming, but it usually shrinks without treatment and should disappear completely by the time your child is seven.
However, it’s important to show the strawberry mark to your midwife or health visitor, especially if it’s near your baby’s eyes, mouth or in the nappy area, or if it gets bigger very quickly.
Don’t be surprised if your baby is born looking like an extra from the sci-fi film Coneheads.
A swollen, misshapen head is common in newborns, thanks to all the squeezing and pushing in the birth canal. Bruises and bloodshot eyes are to be expected, too.
Babies who are delivered by ventouse are particularly likely to have a pointy head, with a round swelling called a chignon, and often some bruising from the suction cup.
But breathe a sigh of relief, baby’s head will gradually go back into shape in 48 hours or so. And until then, they can rock some funky hats.
You want everyone to coo over your new baby, but you can’t help noticing the slight wrinkling of noses when they spot your baby’s crusty head.
Yep, thick, greasy yellow or brown scales on your newborn’s scalp are not attractive, but cradle cap affects many babies, particularly in the first two months.
Take heart in the fact that it usually clears up by itself in the first 12 months.
You can help it along by washing your baby’s hair with baby shampoo and massaging their scalp with baby oil, olive oil, or almond oil at night to soften and loosen the crusts.
You can also buy special cradle cap shampoo from pharmacies.
It can be hard to resist picking the scales – a bit like picking your spots. But try to resist, as this can cause infection.
If your baby’s scalp does become infected, you’ll notice signs such as swelling, redness and bleeding. It’ll need treating, so see your GP.
But hopefully it’ll all go away and quick – in time for the newborn pictures!
Lots of babies look a bit like they’ve been Tangoed enough to rival the cast of TOWIE in the days after the birth. In fact, newborn jaundice affects about six out of ten babies.
As well as having yellow skin, the whites of their eyes may look yellow, and they sometimes have pale poo.
Jaundice is caused by a build-up of a substance called bilirubin in baby’s blood, and usually develops two to three days after the birth.
It’s more common in breastfed babies, but there’s no need to stop breastfeeding.
Don’t panic! Jaundice usually clears up in two to three weeks without treatment.
If blood tests show high levels of bilirubin in your baby’s blood, they may need light treatment, which helps their body break this down.
Ah babies – they have gorgeous eyes, until they develop a sticky one.
Yes, such eye problems aren’t just confined to using a dodgy mascara. In fact, babies are born with underdeveloped tear ducts, which can make one or both eyes watery or sticky, particularly after they’ve been asleep.
It usually corrects itself within 12 months, but you can help to unblock the tear ducts by pressing your clean finger gently on the outside of your baby’s nose, next to their eye, and sliding it downwards.
It’s recommended to do this 10 times a day – yes, another thing you need to remember.
If your baby’s eyes are sticky, you can wipe away the gunk using a cotton wool ball dipped in cooled boiled water.
Sticky eyes are rarely a cause for concern, but if your baby’s eyeballs look red as well, see your GP as soon as possible, as this can be a sign of infective conjunctivitis.
Zits – turns out they’re not just a problem when your child reaches the terrible teenage years. They may affect your poor, brand new baby, too.
The most common types are tiny white spots, caused by blocked pores; a blotchy red rash in the first few days, and even baby acne (pimples on the forehead, cheeks and nose).
But no need to get out the Clearasil. All of these skin complaints should clear up by themselves in a few days or weeks, although baby acne can last several months (see your GP for advice).
Just keep your baby’s skin clean using plain water.
If you’re worried about spots or rashes, speak to your health visitor or GP.
And if your baby has a rash alongside symptoms of meningitis, such as a temperature, unusual crying, floppiness or stiffness and vomiting, see your doctor immediately, or go straight to A&E.
As if getting to grips with breastfeeding wasn’t tough enough, some babies are born with gnashers already in place (ouch).
Although it might look a bit weird to see a newborn with teeth, so-called natal teeth are nothing to worry about.
You’ll need to start brushing their teeth twice daily using a baby toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You only need a smear of fluoride toothpaste.
Or wiping their teeth with a clean, damp cloth will do the trick, too.
Mother Nature, you have a strange sense of humor!