We've got the scoop on everything they won't tell you about at the hospital.
Sure, all those books and classes have prepped you for the major things: labor and delivery, the unavoidable sleepless nights and, of course, round-the-clock feedings. But what about the projectile vomiting and wandering eyes? Before you go running to the phone to call the pedi, we've got the rundown on all those freaky, but totally normal, things about newborns.
1. Cradle cap
What the deal is: There's no way around it — cradle caps are pretty gross. But they're also pretty common. How come? Honestly, nobody knows for sure. The good news is any dryness or flakiness will usually disappear within baby's first few months (though for some, random flare ups could go on for longer). In the meantime, try rubbing baby oil on the patches two or three times a week. Dr. Alanna Levine, parenting expert and pediatrician at Orangetown Pediatric Associates in New York, suggests making it a routine before baby's bath and scraping the caps off with a fine-toothed comb.
When to worry: Luckily, there's not too much worrying you need to do about this one — it's basically nothing more than a common rash. But if it spreads beyond baby's scalp or seems to be growing more severe, ask your doc about getting a prescription ointment.
2. Explosive poop
What's the deal? Okay, maybe our use of the word "explosive" was a bit much. But the truth is, you haven't been officially initiated into parenthood until you've had to deal with a diaper explosion or two. In other words, you're not the first mom to clean baby poop off those newly painted nursery walls. For a little schooling on the physics of it all, Dr. Levine breaks it down: "Newborn poop is mostly liquid with some mustard-seed texture mixed in," she says. "As a result, it doesn't take much power to propel it across a room." Grossed out yet? Just wait until you've got an "up-the-backer" on your hands.
When to worry: As long as it has color (ranging from brown to green to yellow) and some seedy particles in it, baby's poop should be good to go. But if you spot any signs of blood, Dr. Levine says it's time to get on the phone with your doc.
3. Baby boobage
What's the deal? Remember those wacky hormones that plagued your entire pregnancy? (How could you forget?) Well, they did a number on baby too. And, unfortunately, one of the side effects of hanging out in your belly for 9 months can be...well, large boobs. Baby's exposure to your hormones can often cause breast tissue to develop, since it takes a while for the hormones to wear off. But don't stress, they're generally nothing to be concerned about and should go away in time.
When to worry: Notice any redness around baby's breast? If so, Dr. Levine also suggests taking baby's temp, to see if the redness is accompanied by a fever. These symptoms may be a sign of something more serious, and reason to get baby checked out.
4. Weird groaning noises
What's the deal? If you expected just a little cooing and occasional crying out of baby, think again. Babies make a racket. There's grunting, groaning, snorting, and all sorts of other funny sounds that you'll hear out of her. But according to Dr. Levine, all those strange noises are caused by baby's nasal passages being pretty narrow in the newborn stage, leading the mucus that gets trapped in there to create some added sound effects. If you've been hearing a symphony of sounds lately, you may just need to spend more time clearing out baby's nose with a nasal aspirator.
When to worry: Take note of whether or not baby grunts with each breath. If so, he may be having trouble breathing. In this case, Dr. Levine says to call your pediatrician ASAP.
5. Constant sneezing
What's the deal? Don't forget that baby's new to this world and everything in it and, as a result, she's extra-sensitive to lots of things you're already immune to. So if she's sneezing up a storm but not actually sick, she's probably trying to banish any little foreign particles that have made their way into her nasal passages. Looking at the light will also be an adjustment for her, so if you take baby out on a bright sunny day and she starts sneezing, it may actually be the sun — and not allergies — that's to blame. Other common causes for sneezing could be to get rid of extra mucus or even amniotic fluid from the respiratory airways.
When to worry: If baby's sneezes are accompanied by wheezing, have her checked out by your pediatrician to see if she may have allergies or something else that needs treatment. You'll want to make sure her breathing is kosher, her swallowing is normal, and her lungs are clear, in order to rule out anything serious.
6. Random jerky movements
What's the deal? Baby's random jerks and spastic limb flailing may be a bit jarring to watch at first, but just keep in mind it's all par for the course. In those first few months, he'll be dealing with a lot of developmental changes, one of which includes honing his startle reflex (or Moro reflex). Maybe you'll see him doing it randomly or maybe it comes after he hears a loud noise, but either way he'll start to settle down around three or four months. Until then you might want to put your swaddling skills to good use: Babies often startle themselves awake, and swaddling will help baby sleep more soundly.
10 weird (but totally normal) things about your newborn
(SXC.HU user: Justyna Furmanczyk)