Why is my baby sometimes ugly at birth?
If there is one topic that can be sensitive and taboo from motherhood, it is this that of appearance of her precious newborn. Despite all the love already given to her child, sometimes the first impression is not magical, as advertised. Worse, that you’d rather have your newborn baby… ugly, even ugly (it happens!). If some know how to laugh naturally, for others this thought can be a source of big questions : Does my baby look normal? What will the people around me think? am i a bad parent? if I don’t like my child? For Dr Sophie Bert-Vignon, pediatrician and author of: The secret life of infants, (Eyrolles, 2021) parents just aren’t not always prepared how newborn babies are. “Newborn babies are often far from beautiful, smooth, pink babies. with perfect skin that can be seen in advertisements. As for their appearance, there are all a set of amazing data that can surprise new parents, even impress them, even if baby is healthy” she confides. Aesthetic details that, rest assured, are not abnormal and work themselves out in a few days or weeks. Here’s a small compilation:
A swollen face
Baby just walked around 9 months in an aquatic environment† In other words, the substances are: soggy, who likes to give his face a look swollen and wrinkled, sometimes resembling an elderly person. “The tissues will quickly ‘dry out’ in the first days of the baby’s life. But this can indeed affect the baby’s appearance, as well as the his ability to open his eyesnothing normal anymore,” the pediatrician announces. The baby’s face will change drastically.
A deformed skull, a flattened head
Baby a so-called a sugarloaf skull or a head a bit flat † It happens, and it doesn’t matter. Contrary to popular belief, birthing aids (suction cups, forceps, etc.) do not deform babies’ skulls, but a bad attitude taken in the womb, resulting in a malformation. A deviation of the nose can too! Again, nothing really to worry about, nature tends to put everything back in its place in a few days to a few weeks‘ reassures the pediatrician.
The presence of vernix or lanugo
The expression “having baby skin” couldn’t be more misleading: in many cases it can be covered with: amazing fabrics† Vernix, for example, is a very oily substance that coats the skin of fetuses to protect it and contribute to its hydration. “The vernix is” quickly absorbed, but can sometimes stay in the folds of the baby for a while and find it hard to leave” explains the pediatrician.
Lanugo is very black fetal hair that can cover shoulderseyebrows, forehead, baby’s face, both girl and boy, sometimes very abundant. Something to confuse parents. “This does not predict the future hair growth of the child or the adult! Like the hair from birth, the lanugo will fall in a few weeks but he will not grow back. †
Spots on her tiny body
From birth, a baby can also show more or less impressive spots on his body or face.
- A nevus, or an already very dark mole, more or less broad. (we don’t touch it unless it changes)
- An angioma, a vascular site that can enlarge, even on the facebut which will disappear in a few months or not, depending on the type
- A slate stainwhich looks like a hematoma, on the back of the body, typical of babies from all over the Mediterranean or the islands.
Until the age of about 4 months, the baby may show a strabismus which is not abnormal if it remains intermittent: it corresponds to a difficulty to accommodate his sight.
Small pimples aren’t just for adolescence. From the first days and the first weeks, the baby may show skin rashes such as: toxoallergic erythemaeither small red pimples or even imitation pustules in response to its new environment, or even as miliasmall white cysts that will dot the child’s nose when it is not just very obvious dry skin in a child born very full term causing tears in the folds.
And even a visible tooth
Finally, a rare but not impossible fact, some babies are even born with a tooth already in the mouth. Sign of nobility? (Julius Caesar and Louis XIV had one!) However, it can give it an original look. This tooth is often of poor quality and if it moves, it must be removed.
Can a parent think their child is ugly?
Approach to read it in full, the answer is yes”† It happens that a parent, a mother, finds her baby ugly at birth, there is nothing abnormal about that, and it is even okay more often than we think. “If your parents ask around you, you quickly realize that there are many because they thought their baby was ugly, even strange surprised at birth by unexpected physical features, confirms Mathilde Bouychou, clinical psychologist specializing in perinatal support. Happy for many levity takes over† However, the professional only sees it as a completely normal occurrence. “Like in life, love at first sight on the first day of pregnancy is rare. The woman may have carried this child for 9 months† this one is a stranger to meet at birth, one must time to get used toshe recalls. And time to put this encounter into reality.
Projected image versus reality
So the projection we have of our child during 9 months takes a responsibility in the way we perceive our baby “this is what we call the mechanism of the imaginary child” explains the psychologist. “All parents without exception imagine their future child as… respond to their own ideals† They imagine their baby physically, in a perfect dollchubby, blond or brown according to their references etc. but not with an aspect that can appeal to them (deformed skull, low weight, etc.) ”, she continues.
So at birth is played a parent-child encounter in real lifebut also between the imagined child and the real child: “Parents must then take the step towards” detach from the imaginary child and go to this real child.” explains Mathilde Bouychou. A mechanism that is done very quickly in most cases: by getting to know him, the characteristics of this newborn quickly merge with those of the imagined baby, bonds of affection, protection, are made. And then this baby also evolves very quickly.
Even after 9 months of pregnancy, the baby that is born remains a stranger to be tamed
Go beyond the gaze of others
Why worry about your little one’s appearance when they are in good health? It also sometimes happens that the gaze of others, in particular of their loved ones, can also be seen apply unnecessary pressure about this delivery: the family enjoys the visit to the maternity ward comment on baby’s physiquedraws comparisons, which can be unintentionally violent for parents.
This pressure is of no use to the psychologist. “The importance we put in the eyes of others mainly depends on the relationship that we have with them. However, you should know that the parents of a baby and the people around them don’t see the same : the parents see their baby for who he is, the people around him mainly try to find similarities with their side of the family, to register it in the family lineit’s not the same look”.
Are you not completely conquered by your baby’s physique? How about just talking about how you feel? “What you need to understand is that ultimately no love at first sight is normal, and it’s ok to feel this way† We can even laugh about it, make it light-hearted’, says the psychologist. “The most important thing is that we… demystify this encounter that is always destabilizing’, she continues. When you talk about the subject with the people around you, your close friends, you can also realize that this meeting is a special time, and this, for everyone. ‘And then this baby will also change enormously, a transformation from the first hours, the first few days, will work. And will not be the same after a week”, Mathilde Bouychou remembers.
When should you consult a professional?
There’s still a limit to this “ugly baby” feeling, that of rejection† “In the vast majority of cases, the child’s ‘aesthetic’ surprise is just…a fleeting step and the parents move on very quickly and build their relationship with this newborn. The question of a consultation arises when the distance finally prevents the meeting to settle down. If the mother feels a certain rejection and that look does not change in the days or weeks that follow,” explains the psychologist. In this case, which can also trigger postpartum depression, the parent should talk about it and seek help from the professionals who organize the birth. surround: “It could be maternity psychologistthe professionals of a small business, or even his obstetrician True his doctor† Do not hesitate to ask them and let them guide you if necessary”, concludes the professional.