Main Line Pediatrics

Appearance of Newborns

Each baby is different and looks different.

One noticeable difference might be in their skin. Usually, a baby's skin is soft. The softness due to vernix, or "baby cold cream," that covered your baby's skin while the baby was still in the uterus. Some babies may have very smooth, transparent skin. Other babies may have skin that takes on a mottled, red appearance when they are undressed.

In some infants, especially those who are born after the calculated "due date," the skin may take on a scaled, cracked and dry appearance. You can lubricate your baby's skin with a good skin lotion, like Eucerin, Aveeno or Moisturel, which can be purchased at the drug store, or even with A&D ointment.

In some babies the head size may appear large in relation to the rest of the body. In other babies the skull may be molded (lop-sided) during the first few days after birth. This is because the infant's skull is flexible and changes shape to move through the pelvis. This molding will go away in several days and the head will assume its normal round shape. Additionally, there may be some bruising on the scalp if there was a difficult delivery or a delivery assisted with forceps or a vacuum extractor. These bruises will disappear in several weeks.

Some babies have hair on their bodies and some have none at all. Hair on the forehead or cheeks disappears in several weeks.

Newborn girls often have a vaginal discharge. Occasionally, it is even bloody. Both of these appearances are normal and can last a few days.