Features of the newborn
What is the normal weight of a newborn baby?
Weight always depends upon when the baby is born. If born after 37 to 42 weeks of pregnancy, a baby weighs 2.5 kg to 4.3 kg (5.5 lbs to 9.5 lbs). In terms of size, it is typically 17 “to 21” (45cm to 55cm).
In the first few days of life, a newborn baby can lose about 10% of the weight he had at birth. This situation is quite normal. He will regain his birth weight in 10 to 14 days. On average, he should gain 140g to 250g per week during his first three months of life.
During this period, he might have growth spurts. If so, he will drink more often. By the age of 4 or 5 months, he will probably have doubled in weight from what he weighed at birth. At 1 year old, he will have tripled in weight.
If your baby was born prematurely, before the 37th week of pregnancy, it could be smaller in weight and size than other newborns. Its growth rate may also be slower at first. The important thing is not that he joins other children his age, but rather that he follows his growth curve.
The characteristics of the newborn skin at birth
When the baby is born, the skin is pink or reddish. Sometimes it has marbling (marks that make you think of stains on marble). They are caused by the cold and usually go away as soon as it is warm.
Neither hot nor coldKeep the room temperature at 20 ° C or 21 ° C (68 ° F or 70 ° F). If necessary, cover your baby with a light blanket: if he should be warm enough, he should not sweat. Her skin is as sensitive to heat as it is to cold.
In general, a baby’s skin is smooth, soft, and transparent in places. However, sometimes the skin of the newborn baby is wrinkled or peeling, especially at the extremities (fingers, feet), especially in babies born a little late. It can also be covered with a whitish coating, called vernix caseosa, which will be absorbed in a few hours or a few days. Sometimes her skin is covered with a fine down that will disappear in a few weeks.
If your child has yellow skin to 2nd or 3rd day of his life, it is perhaps because it is the physiological jaundice of the newborn.
Marks on the skin
You may notice small red spots between your baby’s eyes, on their eyelids, or on the back of their head. They turn white under finger pressure and turn darker when your baby cries. They will disappear within the first year of his life.
Your baby may also have bluish spots on the buttocks or on the back. They will probably disappear before the age of 3. However, some birthmarks are permanent: it is a kind of genetic signature that comes from one of your ancestors or those of your partner.
Your baby may have small white dots on his face, especially on his nose. This is milium. They will disappear gradually, over a few weeks.
Characteristics of Newborn Umbilical cord
Its umbilical cord is yellowish-white in color and gelatinous in texture at birth. Then it turns blackish as it dries. He ends up falling for itself, usually to 2nd to the 4th week. For more information, see our Umbilical Cord fact sheet.
The newborn’s head
A baby’s head is too heavy for it to hold it well. The muscles, tendons, and nerves in her neck are still delicate. You should therefore always support his head when you pick him up to avoid injuring him.
If the baby’s head has been deformed a little from the pressure on his skull during childbirth, it will return to its shape within a few weeks. The bones of his skull are not yet fused to each other. They are connected by two membranes. These are the fontanelles. One is diamond-shaped and is located on the top of its head and the other, triangular-shaped, is located on the back of its head. Sometimes we can see them beating at the same rate as the heart. These parts of the head must be touched with delicacy.
At birth, there is sometimes a bulge under the baby’s scalp it is a serosanguineous lump caused by an accumulation of blood or by edema. It will disappear in a few days without leaving any traces.
Stopping “Flat Head”.If a baby’s head is always resting on the same side, it may flatten out, because the bones in his skull are still soft and may change shape. This phenomenon is called the ” flat head “. The chances of developing a flat head are greatest when a baby stays in one position for a long time. This is the case if he always sleeps in the same position or when a shell is often used, with a hard surface, for example in a stroller, in a car, in the supermarket, etc. To prevent flat head, it is advisable to regularly change the baby’s position in his bed so that his head changes orientation by lying him either towards the head or towards the foot of the bed. You can also place a mobile that will attract his attention and move his head in the desired direction. It is important to remember that the baby should always sleep on his back. However, when it is awake and someone is watching it, it is recommended to lay the baby on its tummy.
Eye color at birthCaucasian- type babies usually have blue-gray eyes when they are born, while other babies with darker complexions have darker eyes. Their color is not final before the age of 3 months, sometimes even 1 year.
It’s a girl…
The labia minora of a girl’s vulva is swollen during the first 2-3 days of her life. Sometimes a whitish substance can cover them: this is the vernix caseosa. Do not try to remove it, as it protects against bacteria. It is also possible that a little blood will flow from her vagina during the first week. It’s a sort of normal mini-period, caused by hormones her mother passed on to her during pregnancy.
The breasts of the newborn (boy or girl) are sometimes swollen and may produce a little milk. Don’t try to get him out. Everything will return to “normal” in a few days.
It’s a boy…
Usually, a boy’s testicles have descended into the scrotum, which is a purplish red. If they have not come down, tell the doctor: this is sometimes the case in premature babies. This can also happen in full-term babies, and in this case, it is common that only one testicle has descended into the scrotum.
If the skin of the foreskin sticks to the glans, do not try to peel it off, it will cause unnecessary pain to your baby. The foreskin will dilate on its own, and the glans will usually be free when your boy is 3 to 6 years old (sometimes this doesn’t happen until his teenage years). For more information, see our Foreskin care sheet.
During the first week of his life, the baby begins to urinate more often: for example, it wets only one layer of the first day, then so will wet at least 6 times daily from the 5th day.
When a baby drinks enough, his urine is pale yellow and doesn’t smell anything. It may happen that there are orange spots in his diaper. These are urate crystals. These are normal and present no danger. The presence of urate crystals after 2 days of life may indicate that your baby is not drinking enough. See a doctor if you still see crystals after a week.
Make sure he drinks often and in sufficient quantity. During the first 2 months, he should suckle (bottle or breast) 8 to 12 times every 24 hours. 2nd month to 6th month it will just 6 to 8 feedings per day.
During the first 2 days of his life, he will drink 15 ml to 100 ml (1 tbsp to 7 tbsp) daily. From 3rd to 5th day, it will increase the amount to about 200 ml (just over ¾ cup). Thereafter, he will drink 700 ml to 800 ml per day (2 ½ to 3 ½ cups).
Dark, smelly urine
If your baby is starting to urinate less than usual and his urine is turning dark and smelly, it is probably too hot and a little dehydrated. Lower the room temperature a little (it should be 20 ° C or 21 ° C [68 ° F or 70 ° F]), and do not cover it too much.
If he is breastfeeding he should drink more often. If he is formula – fed, make sure you are using the correct amounts of powdered formula and water, as mixing errors can lead to dehydration. Then make sure your baby is getting enough of it. If so, you can give her a little water between feeds. If the situation does not improve, consult to a doctor.
Your baby’s urine may also be dark and fragrant if he has a fever. See a doctor right away if your baby is less than 3 months old and their rectal temperature is 38.1 ° C or higher.
The stools from the first few days are very dark, green or black and have a sticky texture. The baby is shedding residue ( meconium ) that accumulated in his intestine while he was in the womb. The mother’s milk from the first days ( colostrum ) helps cleanse her digestive system. The color of his stool will gradually turn brown and then yellow during the first week of his life.
If your baby is breastfeeding, from the 2nd week of life, it will make 1 to 3 large yellow stools per day. Don’t worry if he does more: some babies may pass up to 10 bowel movements a day in the first few weeks of life. This number may decrease from the 6th week and stabilize around a large saddle per day or week. From this point on, don’t be concerned if his stools are infrequent, as long as they remain soft. However, it is normal for the baby to strain and turn red when he evacuates. If your baby is formula-fed, he will have loose stools every 2-3 days.
A newborn baby can also have diarrhea if they are breastfeeding and their mother is taking food or laxatives. A newborn baby who does not drink sufficient amounts of milk can become dehydrated.
When to consult?
Contact the doctor if your baby’s stools are red or black (tinged with blood) or if they are hard and dry. Likewise, see a doctor promptly if your baby’s stools are white, gray, or beige, as stool discoloration may indicate a problem with the liver.
Also, see a doctor quickly if your baby has diarrhea and seems dehydrated. The first signs of dehydration are a decrease in the frequency of urination and a drier mouth.
If your baby is formula-fed, see a doctor if his stools are hard and more than 3 days apart. He can give you advice against constipation.
Why do newborns often sneeze?
The newborn baby sneezes often, up to 12 times a day. This is how he gets rid of the secretions that hinder his breathing. The hairs inside its nostrils are not yet developed enough to effectively play their role of a natural filter. This is normal and is part of the growth process. His sneezing is therefore not necessarily caused by a cold.
How to get over baby’s hiccups?
Don’t worry if your baby hiccups after drinking – they don’t feel any pain. Hiccups are caused by spasms of their diaphragm and cease on their own within minutes. Restoring your baby to the breast can help calm their hiccups.