6 Things about Newborns That Freak You Out but Don’t Need To

By Lisa Pecos

As a new parent, you’re going to see and experience all kinds of things that you never have before, which can be both exciting and a little scary all at once. Chances are you’ll notice every last little thing about your new bundle of joy and some of these things may freak you out, for lack of a better term. While being alert and aware of potential issues is a good thing as a new parent, knowing what not to worry about can help make this special time a little easier.

The following are 6 things that you’ll notice about your newborn that you don’t need to stress about.

Tiny Pimples on the Face

You may notice your baby’s face break out in tiny bumps and worry that they’ve developed some sort of rash due to an allergy or other problem. This is actually baby acne and it affects approximately 40 percent of newborns, usually during the second or third week of life. It’s caused by the mother’s hormones, which at this age are still circulating in the baby’s bloodstream. There’s no need to do anything about it; it’ll clear up on its own.

Soft Spots on the Skull

As many times as you may hear or read about these soft spots, which are called fontanels, like most new parents you probably can’t help but be a little weirded out when you see them—especially when you see your baby’s pulse in them. These soft spots actually have a couple of important purposes: to give your baby’s head the flexibility needed to squeeze through the birth canal and to accommodate the brain’s growth. If they can handle that then you can rest assured that you’re not going to hurt them by caressing or washing your baby’s head.

Enlarged Genitals

It’s very common for male and female newborns to be born with swollen genitals. As disproportionate as it may look, swollen testicles are the result of extra fluid buildup and a swollen labia results from exposure to the mother’s hormones in the womb. This type of swelling is perfectly normal and generally resolves within a few days.

Black or Green Poop

While this could be a cause for concern in an older child or adult, it’s perfectly normal in the first couple of days of a baby’s life. This greenish-black poop, which has a sticky or tarry texture, is called meconium. It’s made of the things your baby ingests during their time in the womb, such as mucus and amniotic fluid.

Flaking, Crusty Skin on the Scalp

A crusted layer of dry and flaking skin on a newborn’s head is called cradle cap. As bad as it may look, cradle cap doesn’t really cause baby any discomfort and usually disappears within the first couple of months. Gently massaging some baby oil into the area and using a fine-toothed comb to scrape off the cap is usually sufficient to improve cradle cap.

Blood in the Diaper

Who wouldn’t be freaked out at the sight of blood in a baby’s diaper? Fortunately, this isn’t the emergency that it may appear to be. A baby girl may have a “mini period” as a side effect of exposure to her mother’s hormones while in the womb. A withdrawal of estrogen is responsible for this bleeding and it usually stops within a few days. A severe case of diaper rash or even a hard bowel movement can also lead to a little bit of blood in the diaper.

There’s no harm in calling the pediatrician if you notice anything unusual or have concerns. If any of these things are accompanied by other unusual or concerning symptoms, contact a doctor. Better safe than sorry.