athomeparentingwithJoFrost2017 - 37

BABY'S FIRST YEAR

Skin

This can vary enormously depending
on how many weeks pregnant you were
when your baby was born. Premature
babies are often born covered in lanugo
- a fine, downy hair which usually falls
out within the first few weeks after birth.
Many babies born at term have a thick,
waxy substance called vernix covering the
skin. This has served as a protection for
the foetus' skin from the amniotic fluid
in the womb and is often washed away
during the baby's first bath.
For babies born late, their skin is often
compared to that of an old person as
it can appear to be very wrinkly, but it
will soon smooth out.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
Shortly after your baby is born, their skin
may develop a yellowish tone. This is a
sign of jaundice that occurs when your
baby's body has more bilirubin than
it can get rid of. Bilirubin is a yellow
substance that's made when the body
breaks down old red blood cells. It travels
in the bloodstream to the liver that
changes the form of the bilirubin, so
it can be passed out of the body in poo.
However, if there's too much bilirubin
contained in the blood, or the liver can't
get rid of it, this excess causes jaundice. It
is one of the most common conditions in
new babies and in most cases, once the
liver matures (usually in fewer than two
weeks), your baby will lose this yellow hue.
If it remains - or if it develops weeks
after birth - get your baby checked out, as
it can be a sign of liver problems.

wrong. Don't be obsessive about it, but if
a fontanelle dips noticeably, the baby may
be dehydrated and need a feed.

Spots and marks

If you thought dealing with acne was
behind you, think again as your newborn
may appear to have a break-out of spots.
Baby acne - caused by immature oil
glands, which can get clogged - should
not cause any discomfort. After a few
weeks your baby's hormone levels will
subside, and the oil glands will mature,
hopefully leaving their skin pimple-free.
It's also quite common to see upsetting
birthmarks on their skin at birth or
shortly afterwards. Whatever their size,
most are harmless.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
If the acne spots don't go away or worsen,
see your doctor to rule out anything
allergy related. Some birthmarks may
be a sign of other health complications so
keep an eye on them if you are concerned.

Eyes

New parents may not realise that the
true colour of their baby's eyes will not
be revealed until they are a few months
Unless you have had a Caesarean section
old. Normally dark in colour, they may
(where your baby's head has not had to
also appear cross-eyed as it takes time
squeeze through the birth canal), it is
to adjust to their new world.
very likely your newborn will have a large
Don't be alarmed if this is still the case
head. It is also possible their skull could
after a few weeks as it can take time for a
look cone-shaped - especially
baby to learn how to focus.
if it took them a long time
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
to make their way
Have your baby checked by a GP if
into the world. This
HIC HIC HOORAY
you think one of their eyes looks
look won't last long
Experts aren't sure why
like it is not fully opening.
and the head should
young babies hiccup so
Although red spots on the
be more rounded
much. But whatever the
eyes can appear at birth due to
after a day or so.
reason, they're just a
pressure when passing through
Soft spots on a
the birth canal, they should go
newborn's head are
harmless part of
away. If still present a few weeks
called fontanelle and
growing up.
later, alert your paediatrician.
will harden up once
their head bones meet and
fuse, after around six weeks.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
Keep an eye on your baby's fontanelles
Your baby's ears may appear soft and
as they can often indicate something is
floppy in their early days, but as the

Head

WORDS: SUZANNE BAUM, IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES

YOUR BABY MAY APPEAR
CROSS-EYED AS IT TAKES A
WHILE FOR THEM TO ADJUST
TO LOOKING AT THE WORLD

Ears

cartilage in them becomes harder, their
ears will become more defined.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
Although your baby's ears are welldeveloped at birth, it may take up to six
months before they can fully hear and
understand a range of sounds.
If you are concerned they are not
responding to your voice properly by
turning their head towards you, it may
be worth booking a hearing test.

Trunk

The umbilical cord is the baby's lifeline
to its mother during pregnancy. However,
it is no longer needed once your baby is
born, so it is clamped and cut close to
their belly button area.
The clamp helps prevent any bleeding
from the three blood vessels in the
umbilical cord - two arteries and one vein.
It is very important to care for the cord
as it begins to wither as otherwise it can
cause infection. It can look quite unsightly
but will fall off within a week or two.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
In some cases, the cord can either exude
pus or bleed or can appear swollen, so if
this happens take your child to the doctor.
Also, if the cord has not fallen off after a
month, get it inspected by a professional.

Genitals

It is, of course, the first sign of what sex
your baby is, unless you have found out at
a pre-natal scan. Don't worry if your baby
seems to have swollen breasts - both girls
and boys can have them, possibly due to
in utero exposure to hormones. For this
reason, a baby girl's labia may also swell.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
Only, 3% to 4% of full-term baby boys
are born with undescended testicles. This
happens when the testicles fail to drop into
the scrotum as they normally do around
the eighth month of pregnancy.
The testicles usually make their way into
position within three to six months but if
they haven't after a year, your doctor may
need to perform minor surgery.

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