Pregnancy and delivery are finally over! Now the hard part of parenthood begins. Just kidding! It will be difficult, you will need to work hard even if you think that you know everything about parenthood, but actually, your children will surely surprise you. Here is a list of some things you might find strange or unexpected and advices how you should react to all of it.
Just after the delivery, you will notice two soft spots on the top of baby’s head where the skull bones have not yet fused together. This is a way of allowing newborn’s head to be slightly narrower in order to pass through the birth canal more easily. The one at the back closes around 2 months after birth. The other, bigger one, takes a while longer, not fully closing until your little one is about one year old, perhaps even a little more. You might notice that the soft spots pulse at the same time as your baby’s heartbeat or might even bulge when your little one strains to do a poo. Those spots can also become sunken. This is a sign of dehydration and it is really common among babies. They are particularly sensitive to fluid loss because they are still pretty small. But even though it is common, it would be better if you would talk about it with your doctor.
You probably already know about famous newborn’s poop. It is truly difficult to get off baby’s bottom but it only lasts a couple of days. Once the meconium stage has passed, baby’s poos will change from a greenish-brown to grainy yellow or brown. In the beginning, you can expect 3-4 poops a day but this will settle down and reduce as the weeks go on. There will also be a difference in poops’ appearance and consistency dependent on how baby is fed. Formula-fed babies tend to have more formed, yellow or tan colored poos while breast-fed babies often have creamier mustard colored ones. If it is yellow, grainy and smelly, it is all normal things we are so afraid of! But you should know there are certain colors and consistencies which you should watch out for, like:
- Green one
For breastfed babies, green poo can be an indication that baby is getting too much lactose from you. This is normally caused by either feeding too often or because baby is not reaching the richer hind milk at the end of a feed and this is the milk that keeps them full up. Just remember to let baby fully feed from one breast before offering them the other.
- Pale one
A sign of jaundice in newborns is a very pale poop. Jaundice causes your baby’s skin and the whites of their eyes to appear yellow, but it usually clears up within the first 2 weeks. If you notice either of these symptoms you should contact your doctor.
Breathing and noises while sleeping
Babies are notoriously noisy sleepers and when it comes to newborns, weird noises and irregular breathing are part of the package and generally no cause for alarm. In fact, a newborn's normal rate of breathing is around 40 breaths a minute while awake and that may slow by half once they are asleep. They may even pick up the pace, taking shallow, rapid breaths for 15 to 20 seconds followed by a total pause in which they stop breathing entirely! Of course, this can make even the most calm and collected parent freak out entirely but it is totally normal and just down to their as yet immature breathing control.
Newborn babies are commonly cross-eyed after birth or at least they can look like that way. Their eyes still struggle to work in unison at first, so just like the rest of them with their flailing and uncoordinated arms and legs! It is nothing to worry about and it will resolve itself by the time they reach 3 months or so.
Swollen breast tissue
You probably did not know, but it is actually totally normal for baby girls and boys to have slightly swollen breasts tissue after birth. It is just a kooky effect of mum’s hormones in the womb. You could even notice them secreting a little milk. Does not matter, you will worry or not, the swelling will go down over the first few weeks or months.
There is no need to freak out if newborn babies’ hands and feet appear a little blue and feel quite cold to the touch. This is due to immature circulation and does not necessarily mean that they are freezing cold. As long as baby’s lips and tongue are pink, there is nothing to worry about. You may try rubbing the hands or feet to warm them, put on some socks or even just offer some warm lovely cuddles. However, if you notice that the lips are also blue or purple, this might be a sign of reduced oxygen and you should surely call a doctor.
At birth, your baby's skin is covered with a waxy coating called vernix. As this comes off and the skin dries out, you may notice that baby's skin begins to peel or even crack. This is normal and truly not a sign of dry skin, so do not worry. The peeling will stop by itself in the first few weeks.
Here are some more information about your newborn. I believe you found it interesting. Who could have thought about the blue limbs or swollen breast tissue, huh?