Baby’s face covered in teenage acne? Newborn won’t stop scratching their face? Baby flinging out their arms and legs at random?
If you’re worried about what your newborn baby is up to, then first of all you need to know that’s totally normal! Being worried is part of being a parent, and there’s a lot to get used to when it comes to babies.
Babies cannot speak up and tell you what’s wrong. Plus you’re new to this whole parenting thing, if this is your first baby, so feeling worried and overwhelmed is par for the course.
To help reduce the worry in the early weeks, or just to get you prepared for the strange things your baby might do, here’s a few weird but totally normal things about newborn babies.
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1. The tar poo
That first poo is black, sticky and pretty gross. It doesn’t smell bad which is one saving grace! You’ll need a lot of water and cotton wall to get it cleaned up, but it really is just the one you have to deal with! After that it’s normal poop all the way.
2. Newborns scratch their own face
Some babies are born with pretty long fingernails, which they immediately rake all over their own face leaving scratches. They won’t be deep enough to scar but it can be a bit upsetting for you to see.
Help them by putting scratch mitts on their hands and keeping their nails short.
It’s extremely nerve-wracking to cut them, but try to do it when they’re in a deep sleep as you’ll find it much easier to keep them still.
3. Baby cradle cap
Many babies suffer with cradle cap. These are big yellow flakes that appear on the scalp. They can look really dry and can even cover part of the baby’s forehead in bad cases.
Although it can look really grim, the good news is that it isn’t permanent and it shouldn’t cause them any discomfort.
Most cases of cradle cap just clear up on their own in the first few weeks, but for stubborn cases I have an entire post about cradle cap treatment you can check out.
4. Jerky movement of legs and arms
Is your baby’s arms shooting out and their legs pulling up and down constantly. It’s nothing at all to worry about and a totally normal baby behaviour.
You’ll notice that their movements become smoother and more deliberate as they get to grips with the fact they control their own arms and legs.
5. The startle reflex
It’s also known as a moro reflex and I think it’s really cute. When your baby is startled by a noise, or feels themselves dropping down (for example if you hold them in your arms and rapidly sweep your arms down an inch or two, safely of course) their arms will sweep out wide and do a kind of circular motion.
This is a normal and healthy reflex. Your doctor will probably check your baby is doing this as part of the newborn tests. They grow out of it within weeks of being born.
6. Babies can get pimples
Spotty babies are pretty common! It’s to do with the hormonal changes they have gone through after being born, and can also be to do with breastfeeding.
Your baby may get spots on their forehead. Do not squeeze them, just leave them to clear up naturally.
Your baby may also have lots of tiny white spots all over their nose and cheeks. These are common and will just clear up after a few weeks.
7. Baby boobs
Another weird phenomenon caused by hormones from being in the womb. You may notice your baby has small boobs in the early weeks. Don’t worry, they will go away quickly.
8. Nappy explosions
Nappies do very little to contain big poo explosions. That’s because in the first six months your baby is on a liquid-only diet. So you may find poo fires out of the nappy, either straight up the back or out of the leg holes.
Remember, baby vests have an envelope neckline so that you can pull it down the body in case of a nappy explosion! Read my baby hacks post for more tips like this one.
9. Babies sneeze a lot
Babies may sneeze quite a bit but this is totally normal. They have tiny air passageways and nostrils which can get blocked.
It’s also a reaction to any leftover amniotic fluid inside them.
10. Babies make a lot of noise in their sleep
Grunting and groaning, and a lot of fidgeting, means that getting a peaceful night’s sleep next to a baby can be tough.
This is all totally normal and nothing to worry about.
11. Blood in baby’s nappy
A tiny amount of blood in your baby girl’s nappy can be scary, but it is normal. This is to do with hormones from mama during delivery.
If there is blood in your baby’s poo, it could be because they are a little constipated. Keep an eye on it and see a doctor if it continues.
12. Some babies have crossed eyes
It looks quite funny, and is definitely not something to worry about. This will generally fix itself in just a few months.
If your baby still has eyes that don’t look quite straight, take them to a doctor to double check all is well with their eyes. The condition where eyes don’t line up is called strabismus and can be fixed with early treatment.
13. Swollen private parts
Extra fluid and hormones from their mama can cause baby’s private parts to be swollen. This is normal and will go down in a few days.
14. Baby rashes
Rashes are scary, but most rashes are nothing to worry about! Baby’s will get all kinds of rashes through the course of their life. The most common baby rash in the first few weeks will be eczema, which often clears up on its own but sometimes needs a bit of help.
If you are worried, you can take your baby to a pharmacist who can tell you if you should make an appointment to see a doctor. They really know their stuff on rashes and it can often save you having to wait for a GP appointment.
15. Very dry skin
This can be a particular problem if your baby was overdue. The longer they stay in the womb past the due date, the dryer their skin can be.
Use a very gentle, baby-specific, moisturiser to get rid of this issue, and don’t bathe them too frequently as this can dry out their skin.
16. Babies cry even when they’ve just fed
You may wonder why your baby seems unhappy even though you’ve fed them and are currently cuddling them.
Babies have very fussy periods where comforting them seems impossible. It’s odd, but is totally normal if there are no other symptoms of anything being wrong with them.
Fussiness in the evening is particularly common.
17. Babies cry in their sleep
It’s not necessarily that they’re having a nightmare, sometimes babies just cry out loud in their sleep. It normally lasts just a few seconds then stops as if nothing happened.
It can jolt you awake though, and leave your paranoid for the rest of the night. Sigh!
18. Newborns can lose their hair
If your baby was born with a gorgeous head of hair, it can be heartbreaking to see it fall out. However this is normal and do not fear, it will grow back!
19. Throbbing patch at the top of baby’s head
Your baby is born without the plates of their skull fully joined together. This is to make it easier for them to be born.
The little gap between the skull plates is called the fontanelle and you’ll notice it has a pulse. Keep an eye on this area, as you can tell if your baby is dehydrated and unwell if it sinks down.
The bones gradually join together and this disappears in a few weeks.
Hopefully this has reassured you that all is well with your little one. You may also want to read 18 tips for surviving the first eight weeks with your newborn.