Becoming a parent is an exciting time filled with so much joy. It can also be a time fraught with worry about your tiny new addition. Newborns are brand new to the outside world, and their little bodies are adjusting to their new environment. They have all sorts of curious little behaviors and quirks that can be concerning to parents because of this adjustment.
Here are a few of the most common, normal newborn findings we get asked about in the clinic:
This is related to the immaturity of the baby’s nervous system and will improve as they get older. Newborn sneezing is rarely a sign of sickness unless the sneezes are associated with other signs of illness, like a fever. Newborn sneezing is also very unlikely to be an allergic reaction to a family pet even if the family dog or cat may have licked the baby.
This is also due to the immaturity of the nervous system. Hiccups tend to occur when a baby has a full belly. Newborn hiccups are not dangerous for the baby and will resolve on their own.
Most newborns will shed a layer of skin in the first 4 weeks of life. If a baby is born after their due date, this is even more common. Wrists, ankles, low tummy, and low back are the most common locations for flaky skin, and lotion doesn’t typically make this go away. Try to be patient as the flakiness will improve with time.
Bumps Under the Nipples
These are breast buds. This happens in both boy and girl babies and is normal! It is related to a baby’s exposure to maternal hormones that crossed the placenta during pregnancy. Most breast buds go away by 2-4 weeks but can last up to 6 months in breastfed babies.
It is normal for a newborn’s eyes to wander in the first few months, especially when they are trying to focus on your face. This is more common when babies are sleepy. This typically gets better by the time babies are 3 months.
Baby skin is always changing! Babies can develop a normal newborn rash that can look like little red bumps with whitish centers. These bumps come and go, are not bothersome to the babies, and resolve without intervention by the time babies are 10-14 days old. At that age, babies can develop newborn acne on their faces and upper chests/back that look like little pimples. These may stick around until 3 months and also go away on their own. You don’t need to do any special treatments to improve the acne.
Blue Hands or Feet
This is acrocyanosis and is caused by a baby’s underdeveloped circulation. It is benign and not necessarily a sign that a baby is cold. We recommend a nursery temperature of between 68-72 degrees to keep your baby toasty. This will improve in a few days.
With all the interesting behaviors, we get plenty of questions from parents at their babies’ newborn visits. Let us know if there is anything that’s worrying you!
This article was written by Associated Physicians' Pediatrician, Dr. Katy Cahill.