For 9 months you’ve been waiting to meet your newborn. You’ve spent months wondering, dreaming, and talking about what your baby will look like. But like most new parents, you may not be sure what to expect when meeting your newborn for the very first time. Most newborn babies are not the beautiful, bouncing babies that we see on TV or in magazines. The reality is that they are wet, tiny little human beings when they come into the world. What is amazing is how your baby’s appearance may change even in the first hour after birth.

Color

The first thing you may notice is your baby’s color. Newborns may be gray or purple until they take their first breath and start to cry. Some babies will be crying as they are being delivered and may appear pink or red in color immediately. Both ways are perfectly normal. Often you will find that your baby’s hands and feet appear to be bluish/purple in color. This is called acrocyanosis and is also perfectly normal. As your baby begins to breathe and circulate oxygen throughout his body, his hands and feet will start to pink up in the first 24 hours after birth.

Vernix

You may notice your baby is covered in a thick, white, cheese-like coating called vernix. Vernix is an amazing substance that protects your baby’s skin. He has been floating in amniotic fluid all these months and the vernix keeps your baby’s skin from becoming wrinkled. If your baby is born close to or after your due date, there may be very little vernix on your baby as it gets absorbed by the amniotic fluid.

Eyes

Although your baby’s vision is blurry, he can see up to 12 to 14 inches. Typically newborn baby’s eyes are gray-blue in color for the first 9 to 12 months until their true eye color emerges. Even though a baby cries, there are no tears and they may not be present for up to 3 months of age.

Head Shape

A newborn’s head is usually the largest part of his body and may seem misshapen after birth. The skull bones aren’t firmly set and may be somewhat molded together from moving through the birth canal. The shape of the baby’s head has to do with the length of labor and type of birth he encountered. If it was a long, second stage of labor where the baby’s head had to mold to your pelvis, then your baby may have a ‘cone’ head or an odd-shaped head. But don’t worry! The head will go back to a normal shape in a relatively short period of time.

Swollen Breasts and Genitals

Your baby’s breasts and genitals may look a little swollen in both boys and girls. This is normal and due to the mother’s hormones. After a few days the swelling will go away.

No matter what your baby looks like at birth, you can be sure of one thing; you can consider this moment one of the most meaningful times in your life.

EIRMC is the region’s leading pediatric provider. To learn more about pediatric services at EIRMC, visit EIRMC Kids - eirmcKids.com