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Furry Backs and Cone Heads: What No One Tells You About Newborns

Posted on May 06 2016

Furry Backs and Cone Heads: What No One Tells You About Newborns

The newborns you see in magazine ads and on diaper packages have perfect, dewy skin; precious little fingers and toes; and wide-open, shining eyes. So why does your new baby look so – weird? Don't fret! Unlike the babies you see on TV (and those babies are usually not newborns!) many brand-new babies can look a bit strange. Happily, these quirky conditions are normal, harmless, and go away quickly. So enjoy them – you may miss those strange features when they're gone!

1. Many infants, especially those born vaginally, arrive with slightly pointed heads due to the pressure exerted in the birth canal. In some cases, the points can be disturbing, but they will disappear as if by magic, usually within only about a week. That same pressure from the birth canal can likewise cause your baby's face to appear a bit squashed, but that flattened nose will also pop right back after a few days or even hours.

2. Some babies, especially those born early, may be covered in thin, fine hair, also called lanugo. This "fuzziness" will disappear on its own, though some infants keep traces of it for several months. Babies may also have a white substance on their skin, the color and consistency of cottage cheese. This vernix, as its called, is needed in the womb to protect your baby's skin from the liquid around it. It will go away in just a few days.

3. You might think acne is a teenager's problem, but many new babies develop infant acne. It may take a few months, but it will disappear – at least until junior high! Some babies, especially those with darker skin tones, may develop Mongolian spots. These harmless birth marks look like bruises and are often found on a baby's back or bottom. Expect them to take a few months to fade, but rest assured, unlike bruises, they aren't painful!

4. There's not much room in your womb, so it's not surprising that your little one arrives all curled up in a ball. It make take a few days for him to start to straighten out his arms and legs – and he won't be totally straightened out until he starts walking! - but don't worry! While we may associate being all curled up with being constricted and uncomfortable, newborns find close spaces comforting.