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Caring For Your
Newborn Baby

Baby covered in vernix

What Your Newborn Will Look Like

Normal skin changes and appearance


Vernix is a harmless, thick, white, cheesy film that coats and protects your baby's skin in the uterus.

Some babies are born with more vernix then others.

Your health care provider will wipe or wash off your baby's vernix right after birth and during his first bath.

During his first week of life, your baby's skin might be dry and flaky or might start to peel. This peeling and flaking is natural as your baby's skin adjusts to the loss of the coating of vernix.

Some vernix might be left on your baby's skin after his first bath. This is normal. It won't harm your baby, so there's no need to scrub it off. The vernix will absorb into your baby's skin within the first few days.

Watch a short video to see what a newborn baby looks like

Source: Credit Valley Hospital


Lanugo - is a fine, downy hair that covers your baby's face, shoulders and back - develops on your baby in the uterus. It will rub off and disappear within a week or two.



Some newborns have acrocyanosis right after they're born: the head, shoulders and chest are pink, but the hands and feet look blue or purple.


This discolouring is normal and will fix itself as your baby's blood flow increases. However, if other parts of your baby's body are blue, contact your health care provider right away.


Milia are tiny whiteheads on a baby's forehead, cheeks and nose. They're caused by a lubricant in the skin called sebum and will disappear naturally within a couple of weeks.


Baby acne

Baby acne is a red, pimply rash on a baby's face. This is caused from the pores in a baby's face not working properly. Baby acne disappears on its own as a baby grows and develops.

Baby Acne
Baby Acne

Cradle cap

Watch a short video about cradle cap - what it looks like and how to treat it.

Source: Credit Valley Hospital

It's common for "crusty" patches (peeling skin) to appear on a newborn baby's scalp. This is known as cradle cap.

The cause of cradle cap is unknown. With treatment, it usually clears up in a few weeks; however, left untreated it could last for months.

Treating cradle cap

You can treat your newborn's cradle cap by:

  • Massaging a small amount of baby/mineral oil on your baby's head to help soften scales.
  • Using a baby hair brush or comb to gently remove scales.
  • Washing your baby's hair with mild shampoo.
Erythema Toxicum
Erythema Toxicum

Erythema Toxicum (rash)

Erythema Toxicum are yellow or white bumps surrounded by a red splotch anywhere on the skin except the soles of the feet and palms of the hands.

This common, harmless rash can appear at birth or within the first two weeks. It can last for only a few hours or up to several days and will slowly disappear within one or two weeks.

Swollen genitals

Swollen genitals and enlarged breast tissue is common for newborn boys and girls.

This swelling and redness is caused by the rush of the hormone estrogen, which is passed from mother to baby before birth.

Swollen Genitals
Swollen Genitals

These estrogen levels start to lower soon after baby is born.

A baby girl's swelling will decrease in a couple of weeks, but a baby boy's swelling may take a few weeks to a few months before it goes away.

It's also common for girls to have a mucous discharge with streaks of blood from the vagina up to one week after birth.

Both newborn girls and boys may have lumps of tissue beneath their nipples, or their nipples might excrete a small amount of milky fluid. This milky fluid will stop and the breast tissue will shrink on its own during the first few weeks.

More newborn appearance information

Hospital for Sick Children's AboutKidsHealth

Nemours' Kids Health

At the Hospital | Preparing For Baby | The First Few Days | What Your Newborn Will Look Like
Taking Care of Your Newborn | Taking Care of You and Your Partner

Revised: Thursday July 11 2019

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