In our continuing series on normal variation in newborn appearance, we will next look at your baby’s skin.
Newborn skin is often covered with a thick, white substance that looks a lot like cream cheese.
This is usually most noticeable in skin creases, such as around the baby’s neck, under her arms, where her legs meet her hips, etc.
This substance is called vernix and it serves to protect your baby’s skin from the amniotic fluid before she is born. The vernix does not have to be washed or wiped away; it can be rubbed into your baby’s skin to help protect it.
Newborn skin is sensitive, and often red, splotchy and irritated looking. Some babies develop a yellowish coloring to the skin, indicative of jaundice, which is generally very easily treated. [Newborn Jaundice]
Because their circulatory system needs time to continue maturing, most baby’s hands and feet look blue. This is not because the baby is cold, but because of their circulation. This will resolve in a few days.
Some newborns have a red rash on their chest and back that looks much like small bites. This rash, which can appear anywhere on the body, is known as erythema toxicum. It generally appears a day or two after birth, and will disappear on its own without treatment in about one week.