Special Delivery

Special Delivery

Your newborn’s body

You may be surprised by a few things about your newborn that are really quite normal.

Birthmarks. These common spots are usually harmless, and many eventually disappear on their own.

Blood. It’s not uncommon to see a tiny bit of blood in your daughter’s diaper for the first couple of weeks. The withdrawal of mom’s hormones after birth causes this tiny bit of vaginal bleeding.

Breasts. Your hormones are still in your baby’s system. These hormones may cause breast tissue to grow slightly, in both girls and boys. These baby breasts may last for a few months but then should go away.

Cord color. Your baby’s umbilical cord stump will turn yellow and then brown or black before falling off on its own.

Jaundice. This is a condition that makes a newborn’s skin and the white part of the eyes look yellow. It happens because there is too much bilirubin in the baby’s blood. Bilirubin is a substance made when the liver breaks down old red blood cells. Jaundice is easily treated by placing the baby under a special bilirubin light for a few minutes. If your baby is diagnosed with jaundice, he will need a follow-up exam within the first five days after birth. Call your doctor if the yellow color gets brighter after your baby is three days old.

If you think your child may be ill, or if something just doesn’t seem right, trust your instincts and call your doctor.

special deliveryOdd movements. Newborns’ bodies are ruled by reflexes. His chin, arms or legs may seem shaky, especially when crying.

Other skin conditions. Rashes and other skin conditions are common in newborns. Typically, they go away in a few weeks without treatment.

Rapid breathing. Your newborn’s breathing may pause for up to 10 seconds and then resume normally. This is normal. Healthy newborns average 40 breaths a minute (adults take 12 to 18).

Soft spots. The two soft areas on your baby’s head are known as fontanels. When your child cries, they may bulge. The soft spots may pulse along with his heartbeat. Despite the lack of a bony layer, they are well protected from regular gentle baby handling.

Handling a newborn

  • If this is your first baby, you might be surprised by how tiny and fragile your little one really is. Here are a few important tips for protecting your newborn:
  • Don’t let anyone smoke around your baby. Secondhand smoke is dangerous.
  • Wash your hands (or use a hand sanitizer) before handling your newborn, and make sure everyone else who handles your baby also has clean hands.
  • Do not shake your newborn, and don’t let anyone else shake him. If you need to wake your infant, don’t do it by shaking. Instead, tickle your baby’s feet or blow gently on his cheek.
  • Support your baby’s head and neck. Cradle the head when carrying your baby, and support the head when carrying the baby upright or when you lay him down.
  • Make sure your baby is securely fastened into the carrier, stroller or car seat. Limit any activity that might be rough or bouncy.
  • Your newborn is not ready for rough play, like being jiggled on the knee or strolled at more than a walking speed.
  • Never let anyone throw your baby in the air and catch him. This can cause irreversible brain damage.

Resources

Newborn genetic screening

Newborn screening tests take place before your newborn leaves the hospital. Identifying serious conditions early, before symptoms begin, is the best way to make sure babies grow up healthy. Serious or life-threatening diseases are rare, but the cost of treating them later is emotionally and financially high.

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