What’s Normal for a Newborn?

Newborn babies do not look like the clean five month olds on Hallmark cards or even like your friends’ new babies 1-2 weeks after birth.  Here are some common things you may notice about your newborn baby:

Most newborns have a pinky-purple color due to extra blood volume at birth.  This extra blood is disposed of gradually, which sometimes gives the baby a yellowish or jaundiced color by about the third day after birth.  In almost all cases, that is perfectly normal.

Baby’s skin may be covered with a white substance called vernix or with a little bit of maternal blood or baby stool.  Baby will be wet from amniotic fluid.

On average, babies weigh between 5.5 and 9.5 Ibs at birth and is 18-22 inches long.

Your baby’s head may be misshapen as a result of the molding that goes on as the baby makes its way through the birth canal.  It usually takes a few days for the baby’s head to become more round.

If your labor is unusually fast, the baby’s face may have some bruising.

Your baby’s skull has two soft spots or fontanels – a diamond shape one and a triangular one.

Baby’s hair and eye color may change over the first year of life.

Baby’s breasts and genitals may be swollen at birth due to pregnancy hormones. This subsides within a week after birth.

Baby’s hands and feet may remain slightly blue for a few days or weeks after birth.

Dry skin is normal for a newborn.  Some of the outer layers of a baby’s skin dries up and flakes off naturally in the first couple of weeks.  Moisturizer won’t help – it is a normal part of development.

Your baby may have birth marks that eventually fade.

Newborns have irregular breathing the first few hours after birth.  If you are concerned, put your hands on the baby’s back and you can feel the baby breathing.

The baby’s first bowel movement is dark and sticky.  It is called meconium.  It gradually changes to a yellow color if the baby is breast fed.  Breast fed baby’s bowel movements are not usually very strong smelling.

Babies sleep 16-18 hours per day, over 6-7 sleep periods, rarely more than 2-3 hours at a time.




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