What Will My Baby Look Like?
The day has arrived…what you have been waiting for over the past nine months. You and your partner have spent all these months wondering, dreaming and talking about what your baby will look like. But, on the other hand, you will be no different from many other new parents in that you are not sure what to expect when meeting your baby for the very first time. You can consider this moment one of the most meaningful times in the lives of you and your partner.
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.
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. Either way is perfectly normal. Quite often you will find that your baby’s hands and feet appear to be bluish/purple in color. This is called acrocyanosis and is perfectly normal. Each baby is so different.
You may notice your baby is covered in a thick, white, cheesy coating called vernix. Although it may look awful to you, it 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 after his due date, then he may be born with dry, wrinkly skin. The vernix, or protective coating on the skin, will start to slough off around 38 weeks of pregnancy, and after 40 weeks there may not be much left on the skin.
Some infants, especially those born before their due date, may be covered with fine hair. This is called lanugo. It grows on your baby as he develops in the womb and is another protection for the growing fetus. Your baby will not grow up hairy! You will notice that in a week or two it will start to slough off.
You may be surprised how alert your bundle of joy may be! For your baby, all of a sudden there are new sensations, sights and sounds, not to mention a cold, bright room! This is a brand new world for your little one. If you shade your baby’s eyes, he may look at your face and study it. Although his vision is blurry, he can see up to 12-14 inches. He must learn about this new environment. You may find that your baby is alert and inquisitive the first hour of life. This is why the first hour of life is the best time to breastfeed your baby.
The alert period lasts one to two hours, and then he may fall off to sleep. Just like the new mom, the baby has been through a long, tiring process and needs some rest time.