Mini Mr. Magoo: More Weird Baby Body Stuff

SNEEZING

Most newborns sneeze frequently, even when they are not sick.  A baby needs to clear out his sensitive nasal and respiratory passages, and since he can’t blow his nose yet, sneezing is the perfect solution.  C-section babies have more to clear out of their passages, so they sneeze even more frequently than vaginal birth babies.  You might want to do yourself a favor and say, “God bless you times infinity” after the first sneeze, so you don’t feel obligated to say it a thousand times a day. Sneezing is nothing to worry about; there will be plenty of days ahead when your child’s idea of “cleaning out nasal passages” means wiping his nose on your shirt.   

EYES

When babies are first born, eye drops are given to prevent infection.  Depending on your state regulations, these drops may be either Silver Nitrate or Erythromycin.  Silver Nitrate burns the eyes, and babies understandably cry when these drops are administered.  You would cry, too, if it happened to you. (Wait…isn’t that a song?) If you want to be prepared, ask ahead of time which drops will be used.  This will not prepare you, however, for the brief time period when your newborn will look like a creepy alien baby with glowing eyes. 

Both of our boys had blocked tear ducts for the first six months.  This condition is common and completely harmless; it just means a little extra work for the mom. Babies with blocked tear ducts are constantly tearing up, and puddles of “gunk” form in the corner of their eyes.  Sometimes only one eye is blocked, but either way you need to constantly wipe their eyes and keep the affected area clean.  Periodically, you will need to gently press down on the area between the nose and eye to expel any excess blockage.  If this doesn’t happen to your baby, then you can thank me later for wasting your valuable time reading this paragraph. 

While newborns do have the ability to see colors and objects, they are extremely nearsighted.  Mr. Magoo in diapers. They love to look at faces, which they can see quite clearly at a distance of approximately twelve inches.  This happens to be their exact distance from their mother’s face during breastfeeding.  A baby will focus clearly on his mother’s eyes and face while feeding, further enhancing the feeling of bonding during nursing. 

Eye color does not solidify until one year of age.  A baby’s blue eyes may eventually turn green, and green eyes sometimes turn brown.  This factor puts a major crimp in The Milkman Game people love to play with a newborn.  Almost everyone who sees your baby will try to figure out whom he most resembles. This game becomes more challenging once they discover that his face, hair, and eyes look different every time they see him.   

GENITAL SWELLING

If you have a boy, his testicles may appear huge at birth due to fluids trapped in the tissue.  New babies still have Mommy’s hormones raging through their bodies, causing enlarged testicles in boys and swollen labia in girls.  Some fathers may rejoice thinking that their son’s swollen genitals must be inherited.  Let him have his fun because after the first few days this swelling deflates, along with his ego. 

Newborn girls also have a vaginal discharge that is mostly white, but sometimes it’s bloody.  Again, thanks to Mommy’s hormones. Do not panic if your baby girl’s labia start to seal up or close, unless it is affecting her ability to pee.  Her pediatrician may recommend estrogen cream for this problem.  Do not try to pry the area open, as you may do some damage by tearing this sensitive area. This condition usually clears up after a couple of months, but it can reoccur in girls on and off until puberty.  Ironic, since once puberty hits, that is one area you would love to have completely sealed off.

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