Tiny babies arrive in the world to be greeted by parents who think them the most beautiful creatures ever born. But even the most love-blinded mother can't help noticing her baby has a few unexpected attributes. So be prepared for:
A fine covering of body hair, even on the backs of the ears, is called lanugo and tends to show up on the back, shoulders, forehead and ears. It's very common and soon disappears after birth Nevertheless, it will make you wonder if she's a throwback to Neanderthal man.
Not such a good look in the family photo album, the appearance of cross-eyes or even the eyes going in different directions is again something that's special to newborns and will sort itself out within the first few months.
Like baby acne and cradle cap, we can blame maternal hormones for enlarged breasts. It affects 30-40% of babies - both girls and boys - and in a few cases these baby breasts actually produce milk! A mercifully short-lived effect.
Common for both sexes but particularly boys, who arrive looking as if they have swollen testicles and it's not pretty. But don't worry there's every chance it will settle down within a few days.
Snorting, groaning, farting, sneezing
This is the one time in baby's life when people will find these internal noises utterly adorable - and there will be plenty for the grown-ups to appreciate. This is all part of the clearing-out process after the birth and those tiny nasal passages getting blocked up with mucus. If she's sneezing a lot it could also be a reaction to bright lights.
So there you have it - a baby who is hairy, cross-eyed, with the worst of teenage afflictions and some uncouth internal eruptions as well. It's lucky her mum loves her so much.
Published 7 September, 2012