Every newborn baby is different, and this includes the appearance of their skin. The changes that baby might experience will be due to their ethnic background, the child's age, their temperature and even whether or not they're crying.
Some of the differences are temporary - take blue feet as an example - and will change as your baby adjusts to being out of the womb. Whereas some, like birthmarks, are usually permanent
Having a good understanding of what's normal with newborn skin color will help you to recognize if your baby is healthy or needs medical attention. The color of your child's skin is often used as an indication to help identify possible issues in another part of their body.
For instance, if there is an overall blue tinge to your baby that just doesn't go away, this could be a signal of a heart defect, because the heart is unable to pump oxygenated blood to the rest of the baby's body. So, the more you know the better.
In this article, we will explore 15 interesting facts about the changing color of your newborn. Each fact can act as another precious nugget of knowledge to put in your backpack of essential motherhood knowledge.
15 Intense Crying Can Cause Purple Skin
When your baby is born, they will cry and they will cry with an intensity you didn't know existed. It's actually expected that infants will cry for 2-3 hours a day. Yes, you read that right (your eardrums are gonna hurt!).
Some babies will turn blue or even purple while crying - but remember that this is NORMAL. It's best that you lose the idea that they're going to be a pink-cheeked cherub at first sight.
However, if they have a bluish tinge doesn't go away following their crying fit, or if they have a bluish tinge that doesn't show any sign of subsiding after a few days of them being born, this could indicate that they are suffering from a breathing or a circulatory problem and you should talk to your doctor straight away.
14 Darker Skin Caused By Losing Weight
Don't be shocked if your baby looks darker after they have been born. This is because they've lost water as well as some weight, and as a result, this can make their skin appear sallow. However once you have established a feeding pattern and they are getting enough milk, they ought to regain a healthy skin tone.
Premature babies - a baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy - or babies that are almost premature may also appear darker, though once weight is gained, their skin tone will become fairer.
I read a comment from one mom who said that it looked like her premature baby had an all-over tan. Another mom who was fair-haired, as was her partner, said her little one looked olive skinned and was even asked in the supermarket if they had used tanning lotion!
13 Pink Tinge From Blood Vessels
Most babies are born with a pink tinge to their skin. This tint comes from red blood vessels which show through the little one's still-thin skin. It's normal for most parents to think that this pinkish color is their baby's complexion - I suppose that it's only natural to think like that - and they stress out when their skin changes to its actual tone over the next few weeks and well into their first year.
To be quite honest though, so long as your baby is healthy and happy that's all that really matters. I've read so many comments of motherhood forums where women are fretting because their baby isn't the tone that they envisaged, and it can get quite worrying that something like that is bothering them so much.
12 Baby Will Have Blue Feet For Several Days
When your baby comes into their world, the changing of their skin color has a lot to do with the environment that they are in as well as their health. It's entirely normal for your precious one to have blue feet and hands - which also feel cold to the touch - with pink skin everywhere else.
Their blue fingers and tootsies can last for several days, so do not panic when it doesn't go away after a few hours. It's harmless, so long as it's temporary.
As your baby matures and their blood circulation adapts, the bluish tone will change. If they still have blue hands and feet after several days, get in touch with your doctor, as it could indicate a problem with your baby's health, such as reduced oxygen.
11 Jaundice Causes Yellow Skin And Eyes
Over half of all newborn babies will develop jaundice, at least to some extent, during the first week of their life. The likelihood of it happening increases if your baby is born prematurely.
Jaundice is when a newborn's skin color and the whites of their eyes change to a yellowish color. Other signs can be yellowing of the soles of the feet and palms of the hands, dark yellow urine and pale colored poo. It occurs as old red blood cells break down and hemoglobin is changed into bilirubin. Bilirubin is then removed by your child's liver. It's because of the bilirubin pigment that your child looks yellow. Jaundice disappears as baby's liver matures.
Jaundice should only be temporary, but it could also be a sign of inadequate liver function, infection or other factors, so keep an eye on it and call your doctor if it persists.
10 Blue Skin Elsewhere Than Hands And Feet Can Be Dangerous
Earlier on in this article, I talked about your child temporarily having blue feet and hands which fades to a pink tone within several days. However, you need to be watching out for a bluish tone to the other parts of your baby's body. Bluish tones elsewhere on the body than the hands and feet could be a sign that something is wrong, for example, your child might have a heart defect or a breathing problem.
Be sure to look out for their lips, mouth, and face too. Sometimes when a baby cries, their lips turn purplish and bluish but when they stop crying, everything ought to go back to a healthy pink color. If it doesn't, and your baby holds onto a bluish tint, be sure to call your doctor.
9 Mongolian Spots Are Highly Common
Mongolian spots are blue or purple colored splotches that can appear on a baby's lower back, buttocks arms or legs. More than 80% of African-American, Asian and Indian babies will be born with Mongolian spots, though they can also make an appearance on dark-skinned infants of any race. They are flat and grayish-blue in color and can range in size from person to person.
There is no need for treatment of Mongolian spots, as they aren't anything to worry about. All these painless spots are is a result of a concentration of pigmented cells. However, they have been often mistaken for bruises which have triggered child abuse allegations.
More often than not, they will have disappeared by the time your child is five years old. If they are still there by puberty, it's likely they'll be there permanently.
8 Twins With Half Race Parents Can Have Different Complexions
It's something that you can see quite often in the news actually - twins with half race parents being born with different skin complexions. It will be impossible to predict which skin color genes a child will inherit, as both genes from the parents are passed on randomly.
One famous case that I've been reading about recently is that of Maria and Lucy, the bi-racial twins of a British father and a Jamaican mother. Maria has brown hair with a caramel complexion whereas her sister Lucy is exceptionally fair with fiery red hair.
Lucy said about their mother: “It was such a shock for her because obviously, things like skin color don’t show up on scans before birth. So she had no idea that we were so different. When the midwife handed us both to her, she was just speechless.”
7 Tomatoes Can Improve Baby's Complexion
I haven't spent much time thinking about what my baby's complexion will look like when it is born. So long as it's healthy and happy, that's all that matters. But after reading about eating tomatoes during pregnancy to improve baby's complexion, I've decided to stock up!
The thing that's responsible for all this good stuff is a powerful antioxidant called Lycopene. It's found inside tomatoes and is responsible for that familiar, bright red color. It's believed to fight against harmful UV rays and protect from sun exposure, as well as helping to make baby's complexion healthy and radiant.
Tomato extract, curd, and oats mixed together and applied to the child's skin will provide great results quickly. Consuming almonds, oranges, and coconuts when you're pregnant is said to have a positive impact too.
6 Ears Can Indicate The Final Color
There is so much fascinating debate going on online about whether or not the color of your newborn's ears, or more specifically the tips of the ears, can indicate what their final skin tone is going to be.
And there have been many instances where doctors have told their patients that it's true. I've read dozens of accounts from new moms who back up the idea. Some also believe that it's actually the cuticle skin rather than the ears that point towards a little one's final skin tone.
The fact is that a baby's skin is immature at birth, and for some reason, the ears and genitals of a newborn can, in many cases, appear darker than the rest of the body. It can take a few months for a child's 'full' color to come in.
5 Mottled Skin Can Be A Warning Sign
If your newborn baby appears to have mottled skin - where the skin looks patchy and blotchy, a bit like marble - try not to get distressed, even though it looks scary. Easier said than done though, I know.
Be aware that mottling, in most cases, is a normal phase for baby's skin to go through, and is caused by an immature circulatory immune system. It becomes more noticeable when the baby is uncovered or cold (it happens to all of us when we get cold. Take a look at your own skin when it next gets chilly).
However, sometimes mottling can be a warning sign that your child is ill. If your baby's skin is mottled and they also have a fever, you should call your doctor right away to make an appointment and rule out viruses, dehydration, and meningitis.
4 Becoming Darker With Age Is Normal
When a baby is born, they are usually relatively fair, or to some extent purple-reddish, and this is regardless of their race. But, their color can change quite dramatically in the first year. This is nothing to be concerned about though, and is entirely normal!
The changes that your baby's skin will experience are entirely controlled by genes, so it's pointless fretting about it. Just watch, with wonder, as your baby grows and develops, and love them for everything that they are regardless of the tone of their skin.
There are too many moms out there who are begging for ways to 'make their baby fair again.' The majority of the moms come from India, where it's thought, quite tragically, that having fair skin is, in some way, better than having dark skin.
3 Saffron And Milk For A Fair Baby
As I mentioned before, fair skin is seen as an ideal in India. The obsession with 'whiteness' is something quite disturbing though, and I pity the babies (and the parents) who are put under such pressure to obtain and maintain fair skin.
In this part of the world, it's traditional for women to be advised by family elders to massage their babies with raw milk, fresh cream, and turmeric paste in order to ensure a fair, flawless complexion. For pregnant women, the elders would recommend saffron or kesar milk as part of their daily dietary intake to ensure a fair baby.
The saffron milk is a myth though. No scientific evidence exists that it actually works. While taking small amounts of saffron, like 2-3 strands, might have other benefits during pregnancy, increasing your child's fairness isn't one of them.
2 The Wrong Bath Temperature Can Make The Skin Darker
It is absolutely crucial that when you bathe your baby, the water temperature is bang on right. Putting little one into water that's too hot or cold could cause real distress by harming their sensitive skin - and it's VERY sensitive. The wrong temperature can also lead to your child's skin becoming darker.
To avoid making bath time a distressing time for your child, always, always, always check the temperature of your baby’s bath water by sprinkling few drops on your skin surface. Though my mom always said that she would dip her elbow or wrist into the water to check.
Simply touching the water with your hand isn't enough, as it's considerably less sensitive than your baby's body. BabyCenter website recommends that the bath water you use is between 90 and 100 degrees F.
1 2-3 Months For Baby's True Complexion
When it comes to your baby's true complexion, you are going to have to be patient, as it can take up to 3 months for it to appear. Also, remember that nothing you can do will change the tone of your baby's skin. It was determined at conception, and that's that.
Don't see this waiting game as a negative, see it as part of the exciting process of motherhood. There are countless moms out there are so impatient and desperate to know that they're not concentrating on the things that are most important. Be one of the moms who are excited to witness the changes.
Document your little one's change in tone as it evens out, so you can show them when they're at that curious age of wondering how they came to be.
Sources: WhatToExpect.com, BabyCenter.com, Baby.LoveToKnow.com, EasyBabyLife.com, Quora.com
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