A head-to-toe look of what to expect from your newborn

Posted on June 12th, 2019

Registered midwife Pippa Hime gives us a lowdown on what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to your newborn.

A head-to-toe look of what to expect from your newborn

Newborn babies are one of the most amazing little miracles of life. So tiny and perfect in every way. Having dealt with hundreds of newborn babies and more importantly “newborn” parents, I would like to highlight a few things that you may see with your newborn that we consider in practice to be “normal abnormal”.

ALSO SEE: Top 5 newborn health concerns all moms have

Your baby’s head

Newborn babies’ heads can be a little misshapen. This is often due to the mode of delivery. Babies who are born vaginally can have cone-shaped heads, swellings, ridges or markings. But this is nothing to be concerned about as it settles a few hours or a few days after birth.

ALSO SEE: Caring for your baby’s head

Their little eyes can be a little swollen at birth, often due to the pressure from delivery. This settles a few hours after birth. They also often have a blocked tear duct. This means that they have a build-up of sleep in their eyes, which should be cleaned with damp warm cotton wool pads. It usually resolves on its own.

ALSO SEE: The truth about teary eyes

Newborn babies sneeze – a lot. They can’t clear their airway consciously by sniffing or blowing their nose. So they sneeze. This helps clear out whatever is sitting in the nasal passages. Saline sprays or drops, plus a good nasal aspirator can help keep her airway clear.

ALSO SEE: Nasal congestion – How to clear your baby’s nose

They can have serious hiccups. You would have noticed this happened in utero and it continues to happen after birth. It doesn’t bother them in the slightest, and usually after a good few minutes of hiccups they settle of into slumber.

ALSO SEE: What you need to know about baby hiccups

Your baby’s chest

Little girls, especially, can have swollen nipples and even leak small amounts of colostrum from the nipple. This is a result of hormones past from mother to baby.

You’ll also need to care for your little one’s umbilical cord stump until it separates and falls off. Once it falls off, it’s normal for it to have some very slight crusty separation bleeding. Just keep the area clean and dry.

ALSO SEE: Caring for your baby’s umbilical cord

Down there

Little girls can have swollen and exposed vulvas, which usually settles a few days after birth. They may also experience a slight vaginal discharge that can be blood stained. Again, this is a result of all those maternal hormones that’s circulated to her in utero.

Newborn can also pass out orange/rust coloured urine in the first few days as the urine contains uric crystals. This can leave an orange/rust or pink stain on the nappy. This passes in a day or two and is totally normal.

ALSO SEE: How to change a nappy, PLUS what to expect from baby’s poo in the early days

Your baby’s skin

It’s not uncommon for a newborn baby to break out in rashes and pimples after birth. Baby acne is common and usually pops up around day 10, settling after a week or two. This usually resolves on its own and no treatment is needed.

ALSO SEE: Your guide to identifying and treating newborn skin rashes

If you are concerned about your newborn at any stage, and believe me, it is totally normal to feel worried as a new parent, pop into your local baby clinic for advice. The clinic sisters are so helpful at putting your mind at ease.

Pippa Hime

About Pippa Hime

Pippa is a Registered Professional Nurse and trained as a Registered Midwife at Chris Hani Baragwanth Hospital. She has extensive experience in all things baby related with a special interest in preparing couples for the exciting journey of parenthood as well as supporting them in the weeks that follow the birth. She and her husband Richard are the proud parents of Becca age 6 and Tom age 4. Pippa has a comprehensive private clinic service that includes Childbirth Education classes, a Well Baby Clinic including Immunization as well as Post Natal and Lactation support. With over 5 years of running a private clinic facility and raising 2 children Pippa comes with a wealth of knowledge and first-hand experience of parenthood.