- My age:
- Sexual identity:
- Iris color:
- Brilliant brown eyes
- My hair:
Playing and learning Even as children get older and start school, play is important.
When their little one comes into the world, new parents might be surprised by their baby's appearance.
Instead of the picture-perfect cherub, babies often look bluish, are covered with blood and cream-cheesy glop, and look like they've just been in a fist-fight. The features that may make a normal newborn look strange are temporary. After all, babies develop while immersed in fluid, folded up in an increasingly cramped space inside the uterus.
Then in most deliveries, they're pushed through a narrow, bone-walled birth canal. When you'll get to first see and touch your newborn may depend on the type of delivery, your condition, and the condition of your baby. Following an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, you should be able to hold your baby within minutes.
In most cases, infants seem to be in a state of quiet alertness during the first hour or so after delivery. It's a great time for you and your newborn to get acquainted and begin the bonding process.
And it's OK if circumstances prevent you from meeting your infant right away — you'll have plenty of quality time together soon. During the first several weeks, you'll notice that much of the time your baby will tend to keep his or her fists clenched, elbows bent, hips and knees flexed, and arms and legs held close to the front of his or her body. This position is similar to the fetal position during the last months of pregnancy.
Infants who are born prematurely may display several differences in their posture, appearance, activity, and behavior compared with full-term newborns. Infants are born with a of instinctual responses to stimuli, such as light or touch, known as primitive reflexeswhich gradually disappear as the baby matures. These reflexes include the:. Also, due to the immaturity of their developing nervous systems, newborns' arms, legs, and chins may tremble or shake, particularly when they're crying or agitated. In the first weeks, infants usually spend most of their time sleeping. Newborns whose mothers received certain types of pain medications or anesthesia during labor or delivery can be especially sleepy during the first day or two of life.
Many new parents become concerned about their newborn's breathing pattern, particularly with the increased attention to sudden infant death syndrome SIDS in recent years. But rest assured that it's normal for newborns to breathe somewhat irregularly. When infants are awake, their breathing rate may vary widely, sometimes exceeding 60 breaths per minute, particularly when they're excited or following a bout of crying. Also common are periods during which they stop breathing for about 5 to 10 seconds and then start up again on their own.
Known as periodic breathingit's more likely during sleep and is normal. However, if your baby turns blue or stops breathing for longer stretches of time, it's considered an emergency and you should contact your child's doctor immediately or go to the emergency room. Although talking won't come until much later, your newborn will produce a symphony of noises — especially high-pitched squeaks — in addition to the obligatory crying.
Sneezing and hiccups are common and are not s of infection, allergies, or digestive problems.
Because an infant's head is usually the first part through the birth canal, it can be affected by the delivery process. A newborn's skull is made of several separate bones which will eventually fuse together to allow the large head to be squeezed through the narrow birth canal without injury to mother or baby.
The he of infants born by vaginal delivery often show some degree of moldingwhich is when the skull bones shift and overlap, making the top of the head look elongated, stretched out, or even pointed at birth. This sometimes bizarre appearance will go away over the next several days as the skull bones move into a more rounded configuration. The he of babies born by cesarean section or breech buttocks or feet first delivery usually don't show molding. Because of the separation of your newborn's skull bones, you'll be able to feel go ahead, you won't harm anything two fontanelsor soft spots, on the top of the head.
The larger one, located toward the front of the head, is diamond-shaped and usually about 1 to 3 inches wide. A smaller, triangle-shaped fontanel is found farther back on the head, where a beanie might be worn. Don't be alarmed if you see the fontanels bulge out when your infant cries or strains, or if they seem to move up and down in time with the baby's heartbeat. This is perfectly normal.
The fontanels will eventually disappear as the skull bones close together — usually in about 12 to 18 months for the front fontanel and in about 6 months for the one in back. In addition to looking elongated, a newborn's head may have a lump or two as a result of the trauma of delivery.
Helping child development at years
Caput succedaneum is a circular swelling and bruising of the scalp usually seen on top of the head toward the back, which is the part of the scalp most often leading the way through the birth canal. This will fade over a few days. A cephalohematoma is a collection of blood that has seeped under the outer covering membrane of one of the skull bones. This is usually caused during birth by the pressure of the head against the mother's pelvic bones.
The lump is confined to one side of the top of the baby's head and, in contrast to caput succedaneum, may take a week or two to disappear. The breakdown of the blood collected in a cephalohematoma may cause these infants to become somewhat more jaundiced than others during the first week of life. It's important to remember that both caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma occur due to trauma outside of the skull — neither indicates that there has been any injury to the infant's brain.
A newborn's face may look quite puffy due to fluid accumulation and the rough trip through the birth canal. The infant's facial appearance often changes ificantly during the first few days as the baby gets rid of the extra fluid and the trauma of delivery eases. That's why the photos you take of your baby later on at home usually look a lot different than those "new arrival" nursery shots.
In some cases, a newborn's facial features can be quite distorted as a result of positioning in the uterus and the squeeze through the birth canal. Not to worry — that folded ear, flattened nose, or crooked jaw usually comes back into place over time.
A few minutes after birth, most infants open their eyes and start to look around at their environment. Newborns can seebut they probably don't focus well at first, which is why their eyes may seem out of line or crossed at times during the first 2 to 3 months.
Because of the puffiness of their eyelids, some infants may not be able to open their eyes wide right away. When holding your newborn, you can encourage eye opening by taking advantage of your baby's "doll's eye" reflex, which is a tendency to open the eyes more when held in an upright position. Parents are sometimes startled to see that the white part of one or both of their newborn's eyes appears blood-red.
Called subconjunctival hemorrhagethis occurs when blood leaks under the covering of the eyeball due to the trauma of delivery. It's a harmless condition similar to a skin bruise that goes away after several days, and it generally doesn't indicate that there has been any damage to the infant's eyes.
Parents are often curious to know what color eyes their infant will have.
Three types of behavior
If a baby's eyes are brown at birth, they will remain so. This is the case for most black and Asian infants. Most white infants are born with bluish-gray eyes, but the pigmentation of the iris the colored part of the eye may progressively darken, usually not reaching its permanent color until about 3 to 6 months of age. A newborn's ears, as well as other features, may be distorted by the position they were in while inside the uterus.
Because the baby hasn't yet developed the thick cartilage that gives firm shape to an older child's ears, it isn't unusual for newborns to come out with temporarily folded or otherwise misshapen ears. Small tags of skin or pits shallow holes in the skin on the side of the face just in front of the ear are also common. Usually, these skin tags can be easily removed talk to your doctor. Because newborns tend to breathe through their noses and their nasal passages are narrow, small amounts of nasal fluid or mucus can cause them to breathe noisily or sound congested even when they don't have a cold or other problem.
Talk with your doctor about the use of saltwater nose drops and a bulb syringe to help clear the nasal passages if necessary. Sneezing is also common in newborns. This is a normal reflex and isn't due to an infection, allergies, or other problems. When your newborn opens his or her mouth to yawn or cry, you may notice some small white spots on the roof of the mouth, usually near the center.
These small collections of cells are called Epstein's pearls and, along with fluid-filled cysts sometimes present on the gums, will disappear during the first few weeks. Normally the neck looks short in newborns because it tends to get lost in the chubby cheeks and folds of skin. Because an infant's chest wall is thin, you may easily feel or observe your baby's upper chest move with each heartbeat.
This is normal and isn't a cause for concern.
Looking at your newborn: what's normal
Also, both male and female newborns can have breast enlargement. This is due to the female hormone estrogen passed to the fetus from the mother during pregnancy. You may feel firm, disc-shaped lumps of tissue beneath the nipples and, occasionally, a small amount of milky fluid called "witch's milk" in folklore may be released from the nipples.
The breast enlargement almost always disappears during the first few weeks. Despite what some parents believe, you shouldn't squeeze the breast tissue — it will not make the breasts shrink any faster than they will on their own. Following birth, full-term newborns tend to assume a posture similar to what their position in the cramped uterus had been: arms and legs flexed and held close to their bodies. The hands are usually tightly closed, and it may be difficult for you to open them up because touching or placing an object in the palms triggers a strong grasp reflex.
Infants' fingernails can be long enough at birth to scratch their skin as they bring their hands to their faces. If this is the case, you can carefully trim your baby's nails with a pair of small scissors. Sometimes parents are concerned about the curved appearance of their newborn's feet and legs. But if you recall the usual position of the fetus in the womb during the final months of pregnancy — hips flexed and knees bent with the legs and feet crossed tightly up against the abdomen — it's no surprise that a newborn's legs and feet tend to curve inward. You can usually move your newborn's legs and feet into a "walking" position; and this will happen naturally as a baby begins to bear weight, walk, and grow through the first 2 to 3 years of life.
It's normal for a baby's abdomen belly to appear somewhat full and rounded. When your baby cries or strains, you may also note that the skin over the central area of the abdomen may protrude between the strips of muscle tissue making up the abdominal wall on either side.