Preparing for Birth Australian Edition Partial Preview - Page 20

Newborn Appearance There are many normal variations in newborn appearances. Some of these variations are a result of baby’s environment and position before birth, the events of labour and birth, or are simply heredity. Vernix Preview Vernix is a thick, white, “cheesy” or waxy substance that protects newborn skin in utero. Generally, babies born earlier have more. Vernix can be rubbed in to take advantage of its protective and moisturising properties or Lanugo wiped away with a towel or bath. Lanugo is a soft, downy hair that sometimes covers newborn skin, either over the whole body or in patches. It is simply the first hair of the follicles and will fall out in the weeks following birth. Blotchy Skin or Rash, Head Moulding Dry, peeling or blotchy/patchy skin is common, as well as cradle cap, in which dry, flaky skin forms scabs on the scalp and forehead. All of these conditions are harmless and usually resolve without treatment. The newborn skull consists of five bone plates that slide over each other to allow the head to mould to the shape of the birth canal. These bones also allow the baby’s brain to grow after birth. This “cone head” appearance diminishes soon after birth. Milia and Nursing Blister Milia (small white bumps on the skin) is common. It is best left alone and will subside with time. A nursing blister is a non-painful blister on the middle of baby’s upper lip. These are common in the first few weeks. Long-term, severe or persistent lip blistering may need attention from a care provider or lactation professional. 58 Life with Baby