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Your Newborn’s First Appearance

Pretty as a Passport Picture


  • Initial puffiness and bruising is to be expected
  • Allow a few days for the head to reshape
  • Bent ears and a flattened nose usually correct with time
  • As hormones shift, so does swelling
  • Eye color could change, or not


Rejoice!!! The waiting is over and your baby is here for the holding. Before judging appearances, remember, you are witnessing a beautiful miracle. Have no fear about the puffiness you see because your baby will soon smooth out and rival a puppy for cuteness. He may be a little ruffled and bruised at first, but that is to be expected. He either arrived through a vaginal luggage chute or out the cesarean emergency exit. Either way, the flight was probably a little bumpy.

  • Recovering From Jetlag. Only a model in a movie can step off an overseas flight and look picture perfect. After your newborns long journey, her features may be a little distorted, with wrinkles, bruising, and bloodshot eyes, not to mention a bit of swelling and puffiness. These are the pitfalls of traveling in coach. She may be skinny as a toothpick with her skin draping around her, or chunky as a polar bear. Some babies come out with enough hair to need a stylist appointment and some don’t get hair for months.
  • That Head, That Face. Getting through the birth canal is no small feat! And it’s only possible because your baby’s head is made of bones that can overlap and slide, if only for a short time. As he was forced and squeezed during labor like Samsonite luggage being tossed by a gorilla, the bones in his head slid into the smallest shape they could. Now his head and face are uneven: probably flat on one side, pointy at the top, nose flattened, ears bent. But enjoy these fleeting moments because the same flexibility that allowed those skull and facial bones to shift is what will, in only a few short days, return his head and face to its round, balanced state. Even those bent ears and that flattened nose will readjust in short order.
  •  Puffy? Not to Worry. Swollen eyes, breasts, or genitals as well as discharge from breasts or vagina are normal. High hormone levels that transferred from you to your baby during pregnancy cause them, but as the hormones diminish, so will the swelling and discharge. Some of the swelling could also result from the trials of being born as your baby pushed her way out, but will soon go away. If it looks like your baby’s eyes are so swollen she can’t see you, rest easy. Even through the opening of those swollen eyelids she can still make out shapes. And she can still smell, feel, and hear you.
  • Those Eyes. Newborn babies have the deepest eyes; they make us believe that eyes are a window to the soul. And one of the mysterious qualities of them is that they often change color. Most babies are born with dark eyes of one shade or another. Family genetics may provide a reasonable guess as to the final eye color. By six to twelve months of life, eye color is usually established and you will have your answer.

Few experiences in life are more precious than seeing a newborn. Leave those thoughts of imperfection on the airplane and have fun with the arrival of your baby. Congratulations!!!! Your baby has landed.

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