What parent isn’t over the moon when their baby is born and they get to marvel over all their tiny features? This new little life enters the world and it’s impossible to know what kind of personality will come with it. While a baby’s temperament and how often they coo or giggle might not come to fruition for a while, there are plenty of details that new parents will take note of right away.
What color is the baby’s hair? What about their eyes? How many wrinkles are covering their tiny newborn hands? Parents come to know and love all of these intimate details about their babies, and then just like that — poof — many will fade away like they were never there to begin with.
There’s probably not a parent on the planet that hasn’t been warned about how quickly their little one will grow up. Still, this warning can’t be fully appreciated until they’ve went through it themselves. One day the baby is just a week old and it seems like they’re six months old in the blink of an eye.
While there are lots of developmental milestones and cute facets of their personality to fall in love with along the way, it’s hard to say goodbye to some of the features they were born with.
Within the first few months of life, babies go through many changes. Many don’t even look like the same baby by the time they are just three months old. Their skin tone changes, along with the shape of their body, their hair and eyes, and the way they behave around mom, dad, and others. It’s unpredictable and bittersweet.
Newborn skin is the stuff dreams are made of. It’s soft like marshmallow fluff yet silky and smooth, too. Across a newborn’s hands and feet, there may be a road map of fine lines and wrinkles from their time spent floating around in amniotic fluid. Some people may describe the skin as saggy in certain areas.
This sagging creates some of those folds and wrinkles that we love so much. Some of that plumpness is due to collagen. Type III collagen actually accounts for more than half of the total collagen in a newborn’s skin — so much so that it is often called fetal collagen.
The wrinkles will start to disappear. Slowly but surely, those little lines that appear in their newborn footprints across the pages of their baby book will look as though they never existed. Of course, we all have wrinkles on our hands and feet; some do remain, but not nearly all of them.
14 Newborn Noises
Some babies are cooing before they’re even home from the hospital post-birth. Others will take a few days or weeks to start emitting those telltale sounds that are so sweet and so subtle they could only come from one of the smallest human beings on Earth.
The best advice parents can heed on this front is to get their cameras ready and revel in these coos, oohs and ahs as often as they can, because it won’t last forever.
In fact, by the time a baby turns two or three months old, they may never make a cooing noise again. Yes, it really can end that soon. Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to give up on the way those coos make you feel. That warm and fuzzy feeling that a newborn giggle gives you will be replaced by the mamas and dadas of your six-month old and someday, the belly laughs of a toddler.
13 Sleep Habits
Most of the time, expectant couples experiencing their first pregnancy will recall warnings from friends and family alike of how much sleep they’re going to lose being a parent. Pregnant mamas may be encouraged to take advantage of the sleepiness that pregnancy provides and soak up all the extra naps they can get.
It may be suggested that dads-to-be snuggle up to momma and snooze away Saturday afternoon, too.
Yes, once that baby comes, your sleep patterns are going to change. Moms who nurse will experience this even more as their babies will often wake every 1.5 to 2 hours to feed. This may persist until solids are introduced between six and 12 months, but most parents start being able to squeeze in 3-4 hour stretches before then.
Truth be told, the first sleep months are the easiest in terms of sleep, because parents can sleep when baby sleeps throughout the day, too — if they’re fortunate enough to be graced with time off from work. By three months, baby will still be up at night, but they will also slowly start to sleep less during the day. Yikes!
12 Newborn Hair
The hair is actually one of the most frequently changing features on any baby. Even if you’ve had heartburn all pregnancy long, that full head of hair that science says you might get means very little. Why? Because it might not stick around, that’s why. Many babies are born with lush heads full of hair only to give their parents a fright when they subtly start shedding those locks in the weeks following birth.
Don’t worry moms and dads. This too is normal. Many babies have a hair growth cycle that tends to end post-birth and they start growing fresh locks that might even be a different hue from that which they were born with. In addition, babies who are born bald could be swimming in thick curls or fine baby soft tendrils by the time three months passes.
It’s easy to get attached to the hair they’re born with, but believe it or not, some babies are ready for their first trim by three months, too.
11 The Tininess
Even for the baby who is born at a hefty nine pounds, it’s hard to watch them get bigger. There’s probably not a mom or dad in existence who didn’t wish at one time or another that their child would go back to being a baby — even if just for a day. We fall in love so hard and deeply with our babies when they are born, and their petite size is part of that.
We scoop them into our arms and stare at their tiny features in amazement of their size.
So, how do they suddenly jump to 25lbs then? They don’t. It’s subtle. They grow bit by bit, day by day and creep up the scale of percentiles until you’re left wondering where your baby went. Most babies will have doubled their birth weight by the time they reach three months old. They’ll be longer and more limber.
They will have outgrown the outfit they wore home from the hospital. They won’t fit into that ring sling quite the same, and they might need a teether at this point.
10 That Conehead
Short of having a C-section, there is no surefire way to avoid the conehead. Some baby’s heads will be misshapen more obviously than others. Likewise, some will round out within days while others take weeks. It might make those woven pink and blue striped hospital hats look more appealing in photos, but they can interfere with skin to skin contact, too.
If we aren’t opting for hats and surgery out of vanity, we’ll all have to deal with the conehead our babies are born with. Consider it a rite of passage. You’ve birthed your baby the same way that millions of women have been for centuries.
You carried that baby for nine — more like ten — long months and then pushed — with the help of your uterus — them through the birth canal. Their conehead might be the only proof you have, unless you’re really brave and opted for photography.
9 Eye Color
Eye color is genetically predetermined. If mom and dad both have brown eyes, baby has a 75 percent or greater likelihood of having brown eyes, too. Despite that fact, many parents get their hopes up when they see their newborn’s baby blues flash their way that they will have beaten the odds and their little one will keep their blue peepers.
Don’t shoot the messenger; surveys have shown men and women both prefer blue eyes to any other color.
So why then are these babies born with blue eyes only to have them change down the line? Most all Caucasian babies are born with blue eyes, and some with a steel grey hue. These babies don’t have color-changing genes. Rather, all babies have low levels of melanin at the time of birth. It takes time for melanin to build up and react with the pigment in their bodies.
While it can take as long as nine months to a year, most baby’s eyes will start changing color by the third month of age if they’re going to.
8 Skin Tone
Newborn babies have this fabulous skin tone. It might help that they have no scars, laugh lines, pimples, or pores, but seriously, their skin is perfection. Their complexion is often reddish or pink and they might look a little warm or flushed because of it.
Rest assured this is normal. As the hours pass by following delivery, some babies will lose the red skin tone and settle into their own flesh coloring.
Others will take much longer — upwards of a month — until their skin tone evens out. Sometimes babies will go through periods where their skin looks bumpy or blotchy, too. This is also normal. Their skin is also paper thin in the initial weeks and weeks following birth. Sometimes you’ll catch a glimpse of their veins through the flesh.
This is nothing to be concerned about. The skin will thicken over time.
7 Pigeon Toes
The majority of all babies are born looking somewhat pigeon-toed. This feature occurs when the feet appear to curve inward. This curvature might look problematic at first, but it is quite normal. When babies are squished in the womb for the duration of a pregnancy, much of their body becomes a little contorted in order to fit comfortably. The feet are no exception.
One advantage that can help babies get more accustomed to their bodies and their surroundings is chiropractic care. While it sounds a little scary to think about having a newborn baby adjusted, it’s actually one of the best things a parent can do for their children.
Being in proper alignment boosts the immune system considerably and keeps the body’s many systems working well together. Adjustments can also help to sort out features like pigeon-toes. Nonetheless, it should rectify itself within a few months, though some babies may still have a slight curvature of the feet going into their first birthday.
6 Umbilical Cord
This step won’t take three months. The umbilical cord is present throughout fetal development to pass nutrition that the mother ingests on to the growing baby. One end of the umbilical cord is attached to the placenta, which is the organ that develops during early pregnancy to filter out toxins from getting to the baby. The other end is attached to where the naval will be on the newborn.
The umbilical cord also serves another purpose. It carries away waste from the developing baby. Most umbilical cords have three vessels inside of them — two of them carry waste away. For around 1 in 100 singleton pregnancies, one of the vessels will be missing.
Growth scans may be used to monitor these cases since adequate nutrition is a concern if the nutrient-supplying vessel is the one that’s missing. Otherwise, it is nothing to worry about. The umbilical cord is severed after birth and a stump is left. Nothing should be applied to this stump. It will fall off on its own in about seven to ten days.
5 Hair, Hair Everywhere!
Babies spend a lot of time in their mother's bellies. Their skin is kept protected by vernix for the most part, which will diminish the longer a baby is in utero, but there is also hair growth that starts to form, too. Our entire bodies are covered by fine hairs that alert us to sensations such as a blowing breeze, and the newborn is no exception.
Initially, they grow lanugo all over their bodies. This fine and often colorless hair is shed between 33 and 36 weeks in most developing babies. They will then digest it along with amniotic fluid. The lanugo is then replaced with vellus hair, which is what the baby will be born with. This hair is still very fine and soft.
It may be very dark or so light that it is barely visible. It is common to see more prominent trails of it along the shoulders and neck. This hair will shed in the first few months and slowly be replaced by terminal hair, which is what we have as adults.
4 A Lumpy Head
When you have a baby, there’s almost nothing more irresistible than brushing their fine baby hairs with your fingertips and swooning over their tiny little head. So, when your fingers grace over that massive ridge that seems to be taking shape at the crown of their head, rest assured that it is supposed to be there.
In addition, the rest of the skull will appear to be almost puzzle-like in formation. Certain areas will dip down into the skull, too. You might notice blood vessel underneath these regions pulsating at times. Don’t worry! It’s supposed to be like that. These are called soft spots or fontanels.
The newborn baby’s skull is actually in five separate pieces at the time of birth. This flexible skull is what makes it possible for the baby to be pushed through the birth canal, and what causes that telltale conehead appearance in many of them.
3 Swollen Parts
A lot of parents aren’t told to expect this. So, when the baby is born they end up very surprised and wondering if something is wrong with their baby. Don’t worry, moms and dads! It is completely normal for the genitals and breasts to be swollen the way they are at birth. No, it isn’t at all indicative of the size they will end up being, and no their breasts won’t stay that way.
The appearance of a baby’s genitals at the time of birth is actually somewhat related to how far along they were in gestational age. Premature boys may still have undescended testicles, for example, and premature girls may have a very swollen and prominent clitoris. All of this will subside in the days following birth.
In addition, girls may have some white-colored discharge and even a little spotting of blood in the weeks following birth. This too is normal.
2 Erythema Toxicum And Baby Acne
Either or both of these rashes may appear on your little one within the days and weeks following birth. Some babies will develop erythema toxicum, which is a rash that resembles flea bites. It often appears prickly and red and will spread from the top of the body to the bottom before it clears up. Baby acne is more common. Around 20 percent of babies will experience this phenomenon.
It is most common on the cheeks and forehead, but isn’t understood why just yet. These raised pustules are actually pimples. They are thought to be caused by leftover hormones from the mother that are trying to leave the baby’s body.
While it can be tempting to squeeze or otherwise burst these pimples in an attempt to clear the baby’s complexion, this is not recommended and actually warned against because it can lead to infection and scarring. Some women have found breastmilk applied topically to be helpful in clearing it sooner. Otherwise, leave it alone and it will go away by itself.
Obviously, the vernix isn’t going to stick around forever. You will — at some point — bathe your baby. I say at some point because delayed bathing is all the rage right now — as it should be. Evidence actually supports this trend, so don’t scoff just yet. But it’s not because of just the vernix itself. Rather, the baby is exposed to bacteria.
Yes! You actually want to expose your little one to germs. Why? Because that’s how they build their immune system.
This is such a strong proponent of a healthy baby that many moms-to-be and hospitals are now opting for swabbing babies down with mom’s vagina fluids post-Cesarean, too. In addition, the vernix acts like a protective barrier for the newborn’s brand new skin. It is naturally antibacterial, too.
So, when the vernix will go away is entirely up to the mom and dad. Some will still opt for that first bath at the hospital. Others will wait up to a month. Rub that vernix into the skin, Moms and Dads! Science says it’s best for baby.