10 Things that your newborn does that are completely normal

10 Things that your newborn does that are completely normal

Being a new parent is quite possibly one of THE scariest things you’ll go through! You go through 9 months of preparation, with everyone telling what you need to do and be ready for, they help you through the labour and then that’s it! You’re sent home and left to get on with your new addition to the family. No one gives you a manual on how to care for your baby, what to expect, what’s normal – or not normal!

The first few months can have you on hyper-alert as you analyse, obsess and overthink every little thing your new bundle of joy does. Below we set out 10 things you might notice about your newborn, and help put your mind at rest that they’re completely normal!

1. The shape of their head

Giving birth is not like the movies, and when your doctor puts your newborn into your arms for the first time, it’s unlikely they’ll be the clean, round headed, peachy pink baby we’re all used to seeing on the big screen. Getting past your pelvic bones is tough work for your baby, and they have soft, malleable heads to aid with this! You’ll probably notice a little bit of misshape and even flat parts of their head once they’re home from laying down. Make sure to encourage tummy time to help your baby as their head takes a more solid shape after birth.

When should I worry?

If even after plenty of tummy time, you’re still noticing flat parts of your baby’s head, have a word with your doctor or midwife who can provide support and help, and further intervention if needed.

2. They have cradle cap

If you’re just about to become a new parent, and you’re prone to being squeamish, now is the time to get over it! You’ll experience a broad range of bodily functions and going-ons with your newborn and pretty much none of them will be pleasant. Cradle cap is a rash and usually comes with patches of dry, flaky skin on your baby’s scalp and head. It happens to most babies, and usually lasts the first couple of months. You can treat it with a little bit of baby oil to keep the skin hydrated, but it usually clears up on it’s own.

When should I worry?

It’s common and clears up on it’s own, but keep an eye on it to make sure the rash doesn’t spread to other parts of their body or become too sore or if the dry patches seem ‘weepy’ (oozing any fluid). If you notice anything like this, speak with your doctor or midwife.

3. They look like they have acne

Baby acne is actually more common than you might think, and it’s usually all down to those pregnancy hormones they’ll have taken on board from living in the womb for 9 months. It can look scary at first, and many parents mistake it for something more serious, but it’s perfectly normal and should settle down after a month or two as the hormones leave your baby’s system.

When should I worry?

If the acne is accompanied by a rash, a temperature, or other warning signs (not feeding, listlessness) from you baby – make sure you see your doctor as soon as possible to rule out anything more serious.

4. Their Pooping Habits

From three day constipation, to sudden (and usually violent) explosive poops – there isn’t much you won’t experience by way of your baby’s bodily functions when it comes to pooping. If you haven’t already experienced it yourself, you’ll hear many a new parent describing an ‘up-the-back’ nappy explosion which meant a quick bath at 3am – for them and baby usually! Remember your baby is only living on a liquid diet, so it will get messy!

When should I worry?

Drinking a diet of milk will result in a wonderful display of colour in terms of your baby’s poop – from brown to bright yellow, and every shade of green in between! Don’t get too worried if it’s some variation of one of these shades. If you notice any lumps, excessive mucus or blood, or their poop is very dark brown/black in colour, that’s the time to speak with your doctor or midwife.

5. They get ‘Milk Drunk’

When you feed your baby you might notice that once they’re full they become ultra relaxed, limp and get a dreamy look on their face – this is often referred to as ‘milk drunk’ and is actually pretty cute to sit back and watch! It’s just your baby responding to being satisfied and full after feeding and it’s not uncommon for them to make twitchy facial movements – especially around their lips and mouths! It can be weird to see the first few times, but rest assured, it’s a good sign.

When should I be worried?

When it comes to feeding, you should really only be concerned if your baby is continually spitting up and unable to keep their feed down, or if they are turning down feeds. If you experience any of these symptoms, always speak with your doctor or midwife.

6. They make weird noises

Everyone knows that baby’s cry – and that it gets noisy! Most new parents are prepared for this, to some extent. What a lot of parents don’t expect when bringing their newborn home is the full array of farm noises they can expect from their bundle! From grunting, gasping, groaning and snorting – you might start wondering if your little one has been possessed! Rest assured these are all perfectly normal as your baby adjusts to life outside the womb and breathing on their own.

When should I worry?

If you notice that your baby seems breathless, struggles to catch their breath, or is grunting continually when they breath in or out, consult with your doctor or midwife.

7. They’re constantly sneezing

It’s not always a sign of something more serious like a cold or infection – remember your baby is new to this world, and their tiny little noses are, well, tiny! Including their nasal passageways. Any new particles can be irritable to your newborn which can result in a lot of sneezing as they try to clear their little airways.

When should I worry?

If the constant sneezing is accompanied by other symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness or excessive mucus, speak to your doctor or midwife as they could be a sign of a more serious infection, rather than just a little bit of irritability.

8. They have a case of wandering eyes

This is pretty much to be expected in newborns. When they first enter the world, they’re still trying to get to grips with using all of their motor movements, including using their eyes together, so you can expect to see their eyes drifting in different directions for the first couple of months at least.

When should I worry?

If by around 6 months old, your baby is still struggling to focus their eyes together on the same thing then speak with your doctor who can arrange follow up tests and make sure it doesn’t become an ongoing issue.

9. They’re a little plump across their chest

Many new parents are often surprised by the physical shape of their newborn – with some unexpected additions, including what is often referred to as ‘baby boobs’. After living in your womb for 9 months those pregnancy hormones that took their toll on you, also have an impact on your baby – including the slight development of breast tissue. If you notice your baby has a slightly rounder chest, don’t worry. The hormones will wear off in time and it’s nothing to be concerned about.

When should I worry?

If you notice anything unusual around their chest such as a rash, redness, or any harder ‘lumps’ make sure you get your baby checked out by your doctor.

10. Their movements are jerky and random

Along with the wide array of noises you’ll be hearing from your baby, watching their limbs spontaneously jerk about without warning can seem equally unnerving! But again, rest assured, it’s all normal and is a good sign of your baby’s motor neuron development. Their developing quickly and learning how their body works as they go. These types of movements should settle after a few months, but speak with your midwife about learning how to swaddle baby safely until then.

When should I worry?

If you’re reading the above and thinking ‘my baby doesn’t do that at all’ then it might be a good idea to speak with your doctor. Absence of this type of movement, especially in the early days, should be looked into.

If you’ve read through this list nodding and smiling to yourself as you go – congratulations! You’re the parent of a perfectly normal, healthy newborn baby!

There’s a lot to deal with as a new parent, but we promise it gets easier, and you’re not alone.