14 Things They Don't Tell You About Newborns

Welcome to parenthood! It is a happy, exciting, but very challenging time for any parent. It will be one of the most interesting time in a couple's lifetime full of ups and downs, successes and failures, happiness and sorrow but in the end it will be well worth the effort. Parents will receive more advice than they can imagine, which is good to take in and consider.

Most people mean well when it comes to having and raising children since most of those people would have raised their own children. So some of that advice will be sound and reliable, while other advice they’ll have to take with a grain of salt.

That brand new life that has entered a couple's life will provide them with a bundle of joy. Not many things will put a smile on their face like that innocent baby looking up at mom and dad can do.

There are many things they'll know from others, things they'll pick up along the way from doing research and reading books, and other things they’ll find out about from experience, but there are a number of things mom and dad may not know about their little one until it's experienced first hand. These things can be strange or weird or maybe just unusual or unexpected.

But don’t worry, most parents find out about it and manage to survive it and continue on with the necessities in taking care of their newborn one. Here are 14 things nobody seems to tell parents about their precious newborn that may surprise mom and dad.

14 The Shape Of The Baby’s Head

One reason for this unusual shape is due to the intense pressure of your baby coming out of a narrow birth canal and the fact that your baby’s head is very soft, fragile or delicate and very pliable, their head will stretch out of the normal shape of a head. The second reason is due to the openings in their skull which allow it to squeeze through your pelvis.

This actually helps protect the skull against fractures and brain injuries but it will cause the head to come out looking like a conehead that may startle you at first. There are other weird appearances like a flattened nose. Their eyes may appear swollen due to fluid accumulation.

And they may also have small bruises on their face if forceps or a vacuum extractor was used to deliver them. All these things may make your baby look a little alien-like but don’t worry their facial and head shape will soon return to normal.

13 The Baby May Be Jumpy

Don’t worry your baby is not having a spasm. After 9 months of sitting in a bag of water and being limited in their movement they can now move their limbs like they want to. Plus, they don’t know how to control their movements or limbs so they’ll wildly swing their limbs one way to the next.

Babies also become startled easily so any unusual noise will cause them to jump. Their neurological system is still developing and it sends extra electrical impulses. They also will experience the sense of falling since they have freedom to move around and are not confined to the womb.

This sense will cause them to become startled and suddenly kick their legs, jump or throw out their arms, open their hands or draw their head back quickly. This startling reflex should disappear after the age of 3 months. If this twitching and jumping doesn’t end after a few months, be sure to contact your pediatrician.

12 Swelling Of The Boy's Bits

Don’t be alarmed by this odd feature. Your son does not have some super-power hormones going on. The swelling is a result of excessive pressure your baby boy experienced during childbirth. Not only do you and your body go through a change during the childbirth process, so does your little one.

Intense pressure and excess fluid trapped in certain parts of the body will cause your baby’s body parts to experience unusual features and shapes. Newborn babies still will have their mother’s hormones moving throughout their body which will cause male testicles to enlarge and a swelling of the labia in females.

Don’t worry, this swelling goes down on its’ own in a few days. The doctors or nurses will let you know and ease your concerns. And let you know you don’t need to do anything to help the swelling decrease. In fact, anything you do can cause the swelling to stay longer.

11 Baby’s Hunger Never Seems To Be Satisfied

Your baby’s appetite seems abnormal, but it’s not. It may seem as if you’re always feeding them and they’re always eating. But remember if you’re breastfeeding or even if you’re not, your breast milk will increase to meet their constant demands. It’s a natural occurrence.

If you are breastfeeding, the baby will tend to eat more anyway for the simple fact that breast milk is just what the baby wants. This too is natural. Breast milk is better for the baby, especially healthwise. And they quickly absorb it and they completely absorb it compared to formula.

But the main reason your baby is eating so much is simply because they are growing so they need as much food and nutrients as possible. Babies experience growth spurts at different times, and when they do, milk or food intake will pick up tremendously. Make sure you learn when they are actually hungry.

10 Cold Hands And Feet

You may wonder what is going on, but no you don’t have it too cold in the house and no your baby is not sick. Before you turn up the thermostat or wrap them in a blanket, check their torso to see if it’s warm. If it is, your baby is not cold.

Because their circulation system is still developing, blood is focusing more on reaching their vital organs and unfortunately the feet and hands are not receiving as much attention. These limbs are the last to get the blood supply. But don’t worry, it’s part of the process. It may take close to three months before your baby’s circulatory system is working fine outside of the womb.

Instead of wrapping up your baby completely or turning up the thermostat, simply keep socks and thin hand warmers on your baby’s fingers and toes. The more mobile and adapt your baby becomes, the quicker their circulation system will progress.

9 Bloody Diapers

This may be very alarming and scary for new mothers but it’s completely normal if you notice a stain of blood here and there in your baby girl’s diaper. The same thing is happening to a baby girl as it is with a baby boy and swollen testicles due to an overflow of hormones.

Your little girl’s labia area is swollen and it’s causing the vagina to occasionally produce a bloody discharge. It’s almost similar to a mimi menstrual period and it lasts a few days just like a regular menstrual period. This will usually go on for a few weeks of their birth. Oftentimes, this discharge is not blood but urine which will appear very dark.

The blood should be dark and light. It should only be a smudge of blood or dark urine. if it is a bright red and/or a heavy flow, that’s unusual and your pediatrician should be notified immediately.

8 Blistered Lips

Here is another facial feature most mothers aren’t told that may surprise and alarm you. But don’t be alarmed by the sudden appearance of a blister on your baby’s lips. It mainly comes from the sucking on a bottle or breast in an effective and forceful manner. For nine months your baby did not use their lips to eat, so sucking is something new to their overly sensitive lips.

And because of this their lips will develop a callus of sorts that is only inconvenient for you, not the baby. It is not discomforting to your baby and actually helps the lips strengthen making it easier for the baby to hold onto the nipple. The skin that develops on the lip is a way that makes it easy for baby.

No need for you to run out and buy products to remove the callous, it will go away completely on its own in a few months.

7 Explosive Outbursts

No we’re not talking about crying - that’s pretty much a known occurrence that every parent will tell you to expect. They cry for several reasons - hunger, sleepiness, discomfort, pain or just want to be hold. So we’re talking about explosive outbursts in the form of poop and spit-up. Get ready to be in constant cleaning mode with a newborn. Breast-fed babies may mess their diapers up more because the milk is cleaning out their system.

But they don’t spit up as much. Formula fed babies may mess up their diapers more because their digestive systems have to get use to the “foreign” milk. Also, formula-fed babies may spit-up more because of these digestive issues. If you are formula feeding and you notice more poop and excessive spit-up, you may want to change formulas or try breastfeeding your baby.

It will help their stomach cope, make feeding much more pleasant and reduce cleanup for you.

6 Runny Diapers

Formula fed babies have more solid bowel movements with a brownish color to it, while breast-fed babies may have more runny, liquid mustard colored stools. This is perfectly normal. Breast milk is the best milk for babies. It has more nutrients and goes down easier for the baby so the milk pretty much runs smoothly through the digestive system.

It helps flush out the system so it works similar to greens and minerals that make stools more runny. Diarrhea is fine as long as your baby is gaining weight and not having abdominal pain. Some infants will poop many times throughout the day, while others use it once or twice a day. Breast-fed babies will poop more frequently, usually after each feeding.

It’s important for you to find out what is a normal bowel movement for your baby. If the frequency, volume, color or how often they have a bowel movement changes drastically, contact your pediatrician.

5 Constant Sneezing

You may fear your baby is catching a cold because they seem to be sneezing quite often. So you run off to their doctor to get them checked out only to find out this is normal. The fact is that newborns sneeze a great deal, and not because they are sick. Just like the rest of their body it is adapting and developing to their new environment outside the womb.

Their nasal and respiratory passages may be congested because of their new environment that’s filled with particles floating in the air which they weren’t exposed to in the womb. Their nasal passages may become irritated so they have to get use to the environment which will cause them to sneeze a lot.

If you are breastfeeding, their nostril may become flattened from being up against the breast. This can cause them to sneeze because their nostril is opening back up.

4 Flaky Skin

Despite being surrounded by water while in the womb, your baby’s skin was protected from the water that could cause dryness by a material called vernix, which is a white waxy substance. Once the baby is born and is exposed to the environment or the air, this material goes away automatically and their skin becomes dry and starts to peel.

You’ll notice this peeling mostly on the hands and feet but the entire body may peel. Don’t worry about the flakes or your baby’s dry skin. Most importantly, don’t pick the flakes off or use lotion to remove the dryness because you will be removing skin that is not ready to be shed.

Let nature takes its time and the flakes will fall off naturally within a couple of weeks or so. It may look unpleasant but it’s a part of the natural process of your baby’s body developing to its new environment.

3 Unusual Coloring Of The Eyes

As you see when your baby is born there are a number of unusual features he or she will have that will make you wonder. Another feature that may make you smile or confuse you are their eyes. Some babies eyes will appear crystal blue, gray or green in color. This may not be surprising to babies of European descent.

However it may be very surprising to babies of African, Middle Eastern or Asian descent. The simple reason is that most babies are born with light-colored eyes because there is a lack of melanin in their eyes, and melanin being a type of pigment that gives color to the eyes, skin and hair. Babies don’t get much melanin while in the womb but when they are exposed to the sun or light, the eyes will darken or change over time.

Of course, there will be nothing unusual about gray, green or blue eyes if the parents or other relatives have these colored eyes.

2 Strange Breathing Patterns

Probably one of the biggest concerns for parents is their baby’s breathing. Every new parent will spend quite a bit of time checking their baby’s breathing, especially while they are asleep. Because of this constant checking you may notice irregular breathing periods at times.

Don’t panic it’s perfectly normal for infants to go through periods of irregular breathing where their breathing is rapid or where it pauses. That’s naturally scary for any parent but it is common for this to occur. Just like the rest of baby’s body, the diaphragm, circulation and neurological systems are developing. They are growing and expanding and only time will straighten things out.

A pause in breathing should last no more than 20 seconds. Be sure to place your baby on their back while sleeping and keep toys and extra things out of their cribs. After about a month and a half your baby’s breathing should be normal.

1 The Cries All Sound The Same

We all know babies cry that’s how they communicate with us. And most new parents have been told your baby will have different cries for different needs. The problem for most new parents is distinguishing between those cries. The fact is most new mothers will pick up what each cry means fairly quickly. It’s known as a mother’s instinct.

You will pick up what cry is for hunger, which one is because they are sleepy, which one is a plea for a diaper change, and which one is just because baby wants attention. If you don’t pick it up pretty quickly, don’t worry it will come. The cries will range from high, loud shrieks to soft whimpers.

The hunger cry is usually a medium cry that comes and goes unless baby is really hungry. The sleepy cry is probably the worse as many babies seem to fight sleep and become agitated.

More in Did You Know...