Newborn Babies: An Overview

Newborn in blanket and hands
Your baby is finally here! At birth, your baby may look different from what you had expected. Caucasian babies are dull red or sometimes dull bluish grey in colour, while dark-skinned babies can be purplish-grey. All babies born at term are covered in a white waxy substance called vernix and their skin looks mottled. They may turn red from head to foot if they are crying furiously. Don’t worry, though: within 48 hours or so, your baby’s skin colour will look more normal, with the exception of blue hands and feet when she is cold.

The World Health Organization defines the newborn period as the first 28 days of life. This is also called the neonatal period, and the medical term for your newborn baby is neonate. This section of the Pregnancy & Babies Resource Centre provides information about your newborn baby, including what she will look like at birth, medical care, newborn baby behaviour, feeding and routine care at home, and health concerns.

Andrew James, MBChB, MBI, FRACP, FRCPC