Your Funny-Looking Bundle of Joy

Your Funny-Looking Bundle of Joy large

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After so many months of anticipation, you may be surprised when your newborn doesn’t look like the picture-perfect infants on TV. Your bundle of joy worked just as hard as you did as she entered the world — and it shows! She may have swelling in her face and a misshapen head, especially if you delivered her vaginally. Yes, that squeezing through the birth canal was probably no picnic for her.

Regardless of how you delivered, here’s what you can expect her to look like.

Baby’s Skin

Her skin could be wrinkled and may have a slight bluish-pale tint at first, but will become pinker as her breathing regulates. She may be covered in a white creamy substance called vernix that protected her skin the last few months. Of course, she’ll be wet with amniotic fluid. Some babies, especially if born early, are covered in soft fine hair called lanugo that will go away in a week or two. Peeling skin for a few weeks is normal, especially if she was born one or two weeks past her due date. Some babies have lighter color skin at birth that may gradually darken as they get older.

Baby’s Eyes

Your Funny-Looking Bundle of Joy smallSometimes her eyes may be puffy at first, almost as if she were in a boxing match — and lost! Don’t worry; it won’t last long. She’ll open her eyes within the first 20 minutes. She’ll be born with gray or blue eyes, but they may darken throughout the first year. Warning: if you haven’t fallen in love with her by now, as soon as she looks at you the love affair will begin.

Baby’s Head

Even if the ultrasound showed a perfectly round head, a journey through the birth canal can change all that. Her head might be cone-shaped, but will return to normal within a few days. For the same reason, her nose may be flattened, or an ear bent forward. No worries, mom. It’s all normal.

Baby’s Hair

Are you imagining thick dark curls from the get-go? Don’t get too attached to the idea. Even if your baby is born with a headful of luxurious locks, she may lose it all. And when it grows back, it may be a different color or texture. Or she may be bald for a while. All normal!

She’ll gaze at you in wonder (and you at her!) when she first opens her eyes.

Baby’s Genitals

For a while your hormones will still be circulating through your little one. That’s why baby girls may have swollen vaginal areas. The proces of birth can also contribute to swelling of the genitals, especially in little boys.

Bonding with Your Bundle

After growing in your womb for so long, your baby will be anxious to get to know you as soon as she arrives. Those first few hours of her life will be so special. Cuddle skin-to-skin, and talk to her softly so she can recognize your voice. She’ll gaze at you in wonder (and you at her!) when she first opens her eyes. She can see up to two feet away. Don’t worry if she startles easily. She’s adjusting to the hectic world outside your womb. Put your finger in her palm and watch her squeeze it. Grasping and sucking come naturally to her.

Even if your little one isn’t as picture-perfect as you expected, it won’t matter. You’ll already have fallen in love.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.

Small Steps: Cherish the First Hour
The first hours of life are incredibly special. Start bonding right away by holding your baby skin to skin on your chest after delivery.