Your Newborn’s First Day

The Long Wait

You have been waiting for this moment for months, and it is difficult to know what the meeting will be like.

  • What will your baby look like?
  • Will you fall in love at first sight?
  • What happens if you do not?

Some of you may take stay awake of hours just looking at your newborn. Some of you may fall into a light sleep despite all your previous intention to just lie that and admire the little miracle.

Bouncing Baby

All newborns are beautiful but the image of a robust bouncing baby may not match the tiny and wet baby in your arms. Your newborn’s head may be slightly pointed and the nose may be crooked.

  • The head changes shape when it passes through the birth canal and it will take a rounded shape within a few days.
  • The head is big and this makes the body look even tinier.
  • Your newborn may have spent some time in an awkward position in the womb and the nose or face may look strange.
  • The arms and legs may have been bent and they will straighten out after a while.
  • A newborn has relatively short legs and arms.

Reddish, even Purple

You might have expected a pink and rosy baby but a newborn’s skin can be reddish, pinkish, and even purple. Blotches and rashes are also common. If your baby is born with jaundice, the colour will most likely disappear later.

Jaundice is a condition that gives the skin and the whites of the eyes a yellow colour. It is caused by excess bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells and all babies should be examined for signs of jaundice. In most cases, the jaundice disappears after two weeks.

Be Prepared

It is rather common with jaundice and it is good to be prepared. I had bought white clothes that my newborn was supposed to wear on the trip home. But the white clothes brought out the yellowness even more so I ended up changing to another outfit.

And my newborn baby looked perfect in the other outfit. It is easy to imagine things but you have to be flexible as a parent!

White and Paper-thin

  • The nails and finger are tiny and whitish.
  • The nails can be surprisingly long and sharp!

Premature babies may have a soft fine hair over the body. The hair usually disappears after a week or two.

Sputters and Wheezes

Breathing air is a new experience. And your newborn may cough and sputter to get rid of inhaled fluid.

A baby who is born vaginally is squeezed in the birth canal and a lot of fluid is squeezed out.

If your baby if born with a caesarean section, he or she may take quicker breaths until the fluid has been cleared from the airways.

  • A newborn breathes faster than an adult – 40 to 60 times per minute  (double or even triple to the adult’s rate of around 20 breaths per minute).
  • The heartbeat is quick around 120 beats per minute.


You may notice the reflexes and innate survival mechanisms.

  • If you stroke the cheeks, your newborn may try to find your finger and start to suck.
  • Newborns eyes blink if the light is strong.
  • Newborns move their legs to look for support – hold your newborn under their arms in upright positions without a solid ground for them to support themselves.
  • Strong fingers and a newborn hold on to everything tightly.
  • A surprising sudden noise may startle a newborn, and he or she may fling out their arms and legs to find something to protect them. They may feel secure if they find a blanket or sheet. If not, they may curl into a little ball.
  • Your newborn imitates facial expressions.

If you stick out your tongue or raise your eyebrow.Well they might do it too. 


Photo: A New Baby by David Castillo Dominici


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