The newborn from top to toe
In your arms there is a small human being, wrinkly, red and vulnerable. From top to toe, here are a few things that are useful to know.
When you hold your baby’s little hand or foot, you will surely feel how cold it is. Many babies have cold, bluish-coloured hands and feet in the early days. This is caused by immature circulation and doesn't mean your baby is feeling cold.
The colour and appearance of your baby's skin can vary significantly. There can be some lanugo hair left, but this will fall off with time. On the nose, and on other parts of the body, you can see some reddish glands, that almost look like a rash. But the reddishness will fade away soon.
Dry skin all over
Many newborn babies have dry skin which flakes off, like a snake shedding its skin. This is completely natural and doesn't need any special skin lotions or creams. The amount of oil produced naturally by the baby's skin hasn't stabilised yet and this process can easily be disturbed if you use lotions and creams too early. It is important for babies' skin to be kept clean.
Hormonal spots are small pimples that occur mainly during the first few months of a baby's life. They are caused by the mother's hormones received in the breast milk. They will disappear on their own along the way.
Wash your baby's navel with water and keep it clean and dry. The navel stump doesn't have any nerves, so it won't hurt your baby when you clean it. The stump generally falls off after 8 to 12 days and it's normal for it to bleed and smell a bit.
Newborn has breast milk
The mammary glands of newborn babies (both boys and girls) can contain and produce milk (known as witches' milk). This is caused by the mother's hormones received in the breast milk.
The baby will initially lose weight
Most babies lose weight during the first three or four days after the birth. The breast milk has often not really started to flow, and the baby may end up weighing less than they did at birth. Babies start putting on weight again and reach their birth weight again usually within a couple of weeks. Your midwife will weigh your baby frequently in the first few weeks to ensure they’re gaining weight and breastfeeding is going well.
Contact your midwife, lactation consultant or Plunket nurse if you have any concerns.