Becoming a first-time parent is hard. Nothing can prepare you for the challenges and triumphs of birthing and caring for a newborn child for the first time. They try. Oh, how they try. First-time parents get all the marketing for the hot new products that are going to make your child happier and your life easier. That’s one of the challenges of entering into this arena. They know you don’t have a clue what’s in store. They know you’re scared, and they know you worry about your baby’s welfare. One of the most important parts of newborn care is not looking for potential danger, but knowing what’s normal. Trust me. Lots of stuff doesn’t seem normal and it can raise alarm bells for a first-time mom who is anxious about her baby’s health.
Related: 15 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Parents with a Newborn
Instead of solutions to all of your potential parenting woes, I want to give you a heads up about normal but scary things that are likely to freak you out about your new bundle of joy. It’s a healthy approach to newborn care that lets you understand what is likely going on with your baby so that you can sleep a little more soundly and raise your baby with confidence instead of calling the pediatrician every time something seems a little strange.
In your approach to newborn care, you may find some startling things you didn’t expect. Your temptation will be to go online and search for whatever malady your child could be suffering from. Your heart is in the right place but beware. This only tends to fan the flames of anxiety and add to your worry. Yes, there are potential real concerns. However, very often there is a simple explanation for why you may be seeing things that seem worrisome, even though they aren’t. These are things that I’ve experienced with my children that worried me but turned out to be harmless and normal.
With my oldest, I didn’t recall seeing these white dots at the roof of her mouth. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have freaked out when I saw them on the roof of Baby #2’s mouth. I thought she’d developed thrush. When I took her to the pediatrician, and it was explained to me, I felt silly. Epstein pearls are little white harmless bumps found on the roof of the mouths of newborns and infants. It typically goes away on its own, as it did for my daughter.
Newborn Nasal Congestion & Sneezing
I know we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Because I had my daughter right before when everything went to sh!t, I was a bit concerned about her sneezing. Her pediatrician and hospital staff reassured me that it was nothing to worry about. Why? Because it’s just a result of the baby getting out any remaining amniotic fluid from their noses. I mean, they did just spend 9 months surrounded by fluid so it makes sense that some of it remain trapped in their nasal passages.
They Have Breast Buds that May Excrete Milk
Both my daughters had breast buds when they were born. They form because babies absorb estrogen from mom. It took about two months to completely go away. Whatever you do, don’t squeeze them.
They Excrete a Pink Discharge or Even Blood
This is for parents with newborn girls. During the first two days, parents may see pink crystal-like discharge in their diapers. These are called urate crystals. This is completely normal, especially if the baby is breastfed. Sometimes have a slight amount of vaginal bleeding a few days after birth as a result of the mother’s high hormone levels during pregnancy. It’s just our hormones coming out of their system. At least, that is the way my daughter’s pediatrician explained it.
If bleeding or crystals appear longer than three days or a week, contact your baby’s pediatrician.
They Cry Without Shedding a Tear
Maybe not as alarming, but newborns babies don’t shed tears while crying until maybe after their first month. This is because they don’t have functional tear ducts until they’re between three and twelve weeks old.
They Don’t Immediately Have Baby Soft Skin
The skin is dry and peels due to being in amniotic fluid for 9 months. Instinct is to peel it off but don’t. It will come off on its own. The baby’s pediatrician recommended applying a bit of baby healing ointment but nothing else.
Related: Bathing a Baby: Tips for Bathing Your Newborn Safely
Also, babies purge hormones from mom and may get baby acne. Don’t put anything (lotions, creams, etc.) on their skin it may make the baby acne worse. Wipe their face with plain water. Breast milk also helps clear it up. For the most part, it clears up on its own.
Don’t You Feel Better?
I hope that this puts your mind at ease about some of the things you might be experiencing as a first-time, mom. Even if you’ve had kids, there are always new things that come up that you aren’t familiar with and they turn out to be completely normal. When you become a parent, it’s very easy to invite fear in your approach to newborn care, because you want to protect your precious child from everything bad. Unfortunately, a lot of “knowledge” on the internet is aimed at stoking that fear so that you will buy more products and services. Fear is a healthy and useful component of being a good mom, but it’s also important to be confident in your ability to nurture and support your child, especially when weird, freaky stuff like this comes up.