How a newborn looks like
Congratulations! Now that you have your newborn in your arms, you might want to know what’s normal and what’s not. Is she ok? What’s this on her scalp? Why is her skin so pink? Why is her head not so round? Such questions do come up when you see a newborn, but here are some facts that would answer some questions about how a healthy newborn looks like.
Your newborn is very delicate and her head and back needs to be supported while handling. She may have red or wrinkled skin, vernix deposit, asymmetrical shape of head, puffy eyelids, dry skin or grayish blue spots on buttocks or limbs, and all this is normal. You will observe a large head relative to the body (about 1/4th of the total length) and you may find some soft spots on the head, where bones are yet to fuse completely. There may be fine hair on the shoulders, back, ears, face and forehead.
Moments after the baby is born, pediatricians calculate the Apgar Score for the baby which ranges from 0-10. A score of 7 or more indicates a healthy newborn. Here is the Apgar score table (score for every criterion is added up for the total score):
|Color of Skin (Cyanosis)||Blue /pale skin||Pink body with pale limbs||Pink all over|
|Heart / Pulse Rate (Beats per minute)||No Pulse||Very slow or less than 100||More than 100|
|Response to Stimuli||No response||Low / feeble / weak response||Crying or good movement on stimuli|
|Muscle Tone||None||Little flexion||Good muscle activity|
|Breathing / Respiration||Absent||Weak or slow||Good, loud sound of crying and regular breathing.|
The average ranges for a newborn’s body weight and length are 2.7 to 4.6kg (5.5-10lbs) and 35.6 to 50.8cm (14-20inches).
Your baby is able to focus on things in the range of 50cm from her face, seems happy and comfortable when caressed, cuddled or rocked. She would cry, move her face, hands and feet when wanting to feed. She would prefer looking at faces than anything else, but will like to view objects with high contrast or bright and colorful ones. She would immediately grasp your fingers when you keep them on her palm. She would love her mom’s voice than any other and may startle at sudden loud voices or thumps.
- The Baby and Child Question and Answer Book by Carol Cooper, MD