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My Baby's Got What?

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-Welcome to Parents TV On Demand, a place for parents to learn, share, and develop a healthy family together. Parents TV, our families, our lives. -Hi. I'm Ursula Carranza. You're watching Parents TV. New parents get a lot of surprises after they give birth. In some cases, that includes how the new baby looks, but don't be alarmed. Joining us today is Dr. Jennifer Shu, author of Heading Home With Your Newborn From Birth to Reality. She's here to talk about some common conditions some babies are born with. Hello, Dr. Shu. -Hi, Ursula. -Thanks for joining us. -Thank you for having me. -Let's start talking about what's called Mongolian Spots. -Yes. -Those resemble bruises. What causes it? -Right. Well, Mongolian Spots are bluish birthmarks that are usually found in darker skin babies. -Yes. -They're usually found in the buttocks area or the lower back and they're caused by a little bit of bluish pigment in the layers of the skin. -Will they go away? -They do tend to fade away. They're totally harmless so parents don't need to do anything about it or worry about it, but some do stay on until adulthood. -So then parents shouldn't worry about them? -Parents should not worry. It is a good idea to bring them to the attention of your pediatrician so that they can be recorded in your baby's medical chart and that way everyone will know that they're not bruises. -There's also a common birthmark called the stork bite or the angel kiss. What can parents do to deal with this? -Well, as you know, stork bites are the little pink birthmarks that can happen in the forehead or in the back of the neck. Parents don't need to do a thing. Usually they'll go away on their own in about a year as the baby gets older. What parents may notice is that when the baby is upset or crying or really hot that they may flare up and look more red than usual. -But it's not something permanent, right? It'll go away. -Not something permanent, they do go away with time. -Okay. You also say it's not uncommon for babies to be born cross-eyes. Will this fix itself or is there something that parents can also do? -Well, what's going on is when the babies are first born the muscles around the eyes aren't always very well coordinated. They don't work together very well. So you may see one or both eyes going in and out at any given time. It's a good idea to bring this to your pediatrician's attention. If it doesn't happen all the time, take a picture of your baby when her eyes are crossing and ask your pediatrician if this is something to worry about. -Yes. Another condition that's also common in newborns is dry skin. How can parents treat the dry skin? -Well, what's going on here is that while before the baby was born, the skin was protected by a layer of vernix. -Okay. -That's a protective coating that kept the amniotic fluid in the womb off the baby's skin. -Yes. -After the baby is born, they're no longer exposed to the fluid. They're just exposed to air and that vernix is gone. So the top layer of skin dries, cracks, peels, and sheds, and that usually takes about a month before it goes away and leaves a smooth layer underneath it. -Yes. So what can parents do? Do they need to moisturize or keep their babies less baths or-- -That's a great idea. You don't wanna bathe too often because the drying water, the soap and water can actually dry the skin and make it worse. And before parents decide to use a moisturizer, check with your pediatrician because babies who are that young can actually have rashes from moisturizers. -I see. Let's talk about jaundice. What exactly is jaundice? -Well, jaundice is when the skin and the whites of the eyes turn yellow in newborn babies. This is very common in babies in the first few days or so. -Yes. -And what's going on is that there is a substance in the body called bilirubin that the body doesn't clear out very well. -Yes. -And it stains the whites of the eyes and the skin yellow, usually from the head down. -Okay. And what can parents do about it? -Well, definitely you let your pediatrician know because there is a special test for a bilirubin that can see if your baby needs any treatment. Most cases babies can just be fed a little bit more frequently to kind of clear the body of that bilirubin, but sometimes special lights are needed to help the body break down that jaundice. -Does it ever get serious or it's something that-- -It can be serious so if you do notice jaundice, make sure you tell your pediatrician right away. -Okay. Newborns most of them are born with soft spots on their head. How can parents treat them? -Well, the great thing about soft spots is that they're at the front of the head usually with a small one on the back, and what's happening is that the skull bones are separated a little bit to allow the baby's brain to grow as she gets bigger. Parents don't need to do anything at all. There is a protective layer of tissue under the scalp between the scalp and the brain, so parents don't need to be extra careful or anything when they bathe and shampoo the baby. Just do your normal routine. -Okay. Dr. Shu, will any of these conditions affect the baby later in life? -Well, most of these don't have any long-lasting effects or problems, but it is important that if you do notice something that you think might not be normal, let your pediatrician know right away in case some treatment might be needed. -Thank you, Dr. Shu, for this wonderful information. Dr. Shu's book Heading Home With Your Newborn is in bookstores now. Thank you for watching Parents TV, your source for the best information for your growing family. -Hi. I'm Juli Auclair. I hope you enjoyed this segment on Parents TV. We have so much more available now that you're gonna love and keep coming back. There are new topics studied often with information that will help you for parenthood. Coming soon, we'll feature your children and answer your questions about parenting. If you wanna be part of Parents TV, send your questions, comments, or videos to Parents TV, 375 Lexington Avenue, LX726, New York, New York, 10017. Make sure you include your name and contact information and remember if you send pictures or videos, we cannot return them. We're looking forward to hearing from you and give you a voice on Parents TV, your source for the best information for your growing family. -Thank you for watching Parents TV, our families, our lives.