Now that the doctors have done all their checks and are happy, you get to meet your baby for the first time. The appearance of your baby may not be as you expected, clean and calm, however, this bundle of joy is yours and this is what you can really expect.
Your baby’s head may be elongated or misshaped due to natural birth, this is caused because the skull bones slide and are not fused together yet, this is to allow for the virginal birth, there may be slight bruising or swelling due to the birth, however, there is nothing to worry about and after a few days, the head will return to normal.
You will find a soft spot at the top of the head called the fontanelles, this will take about two years before it is completely closed and fused.
Some baby’s won’t be able to open their eyes straight away, they may be a little puffy due to the birth. The pressure may also cause a few blood vessels to burst, this is nothing to worry about and will disappear after a few weeks.
It is common for your baby to have a yellow discharge come from their eyes, if this persists after a few days, consult your doctor. You will also find that your baby will start squinting because he cannot focus further than 20-25cm, this will improve as the eye muscles develop and become stronger. All babies are born with blue eyes.
You can never tell how much or how little hair your baby will be born with, the fine hair that some babies have, is called langugo and will fall off soon after birth.
A whitish, greasy substance called vernix covers your baby’s body, this is to protect the skin from becoming waterlogged and is often kept on the baby to prevent skin irritations. You may also find your baby’s skin a little blotchy due to unstable blood vessels. This clears up after a few weeks.
Birthmarks are formed by a collection of blood vessels under the skin and cause your baby no pain. Almost every baby is born with a birthmark, it can be so small that you only notice it a few days later. Some birthmarks disappear after a few years and others will remain. Superficial birthmarks need no treatment.
Your doctor will immediately clamp and cut the umbilical cord, which is bluish-white in colour and moist. Your baby will be left with a short cord that will dry up within 24 hours and become black, you need to keep this clean and dry, it will shrivel up and fall off with no pain after 7 days or so.
Due to the increase of hormone levels you produce before birth, this can make its way into the bloodstream and cause the male and female genitals to be enlarged after birth, this will gradually subside and is perfectly normal.