Baby A turned 8 weeks on Wednesday and she is now starting to reward us with some smiles, laughs and probably best of all she recognises me when I come home from work.
Looking back at those first few weeks I realise now that even with all the books, NCT classes and advice from other parents, there were still some things which freaked me out a little but turned out to be completely normal.
Perhaps I just didn’t read enough parenting books (or any parenting books), but below are the strangest things I’d never heard of before becoming a dad.
1. Babies have a hole in their head
About a day after my daughter was born whilst my wife was still in hospital, I noticed baby A had a fairly large soft spot at the top of her skull. Panicking a little that our baby had a large chunk of her skull missing, I thought I’d ask one of the midwives to take a look at her. Luckily my wife woke up before I made a fool of myself and explained that all babies have a hole at the top of their skull which doesn’t fully close for up to 18 months!
This is to help with the birth, allowing the skull bones to move around a little. Somehow this piece of knowledge had totally passed me by during all the baby classes.
Even stranger than this was a few weeks later when Laura noticed the hole in her head was pulsating, which also turns out to be perfectly normal!
2. Baby girls can grow boobs
After my daughter was about 2 weeks old my wife noticed a small, but noticeable lump under Baby A’s right breast. Not having a clue what this was and starting to freak out a little, Laura asked her health visitor to take a look at Baby A at her next appointment.
Apparently after a baby girl and sometimes even a baby boy is born, the mother’s hormones remain in the their system for several weeks. This can cause them to be born with enlarged breasts and/or lumps under their nipples. We were even told that if we squeezed them some real breast milk may come out (which of course we didn’t). Fortunately these are completely harmless and disappear within a few weeks or months.
Little bit freaky…
3. Babies sometimes pause their breathing whilst asleep
This was probably the most worrying thing we encountered as new parents. When Baby A was asleep her breathing would become quite rapid, then slow down and then even pause for several seconds. Whilst in reality it may have been only a couple of seconds, it seemed like an eternity and was pretty scary.
For some reason I just expected a baby to breath like an adult from the word go.
It turns out a newborn baby’s normal sleep cycle involves periods of faster breathing and slower breathing, and occasional pauses. Obviously if you have any concerns you should get your baby checked out, like we did. In our case it was nothing to worry about.
4. Babies go crossed-eyed a lot of the time
For the first few weeks my daughter seemed to be cross-eyed most of the time I looked at her. This naturally caused me some concern that there might be something wrong with her eyes, or brain development.
Nothing to worry about again. This is completely normal. Babies have to learn how to control their eyes to focus and track objects. Thinking about it rationally it does make sense that during this time they might go a little cross-eyed now and again.
5. Babies can have hairy ears – even girls
Possibly the strangest thing I didn’t expect my daughter to have when she was born were hairy ears…
Still to this day little fine hairs cover the outside of her ears. I’ve been told again that this is fairly common with baby boys and girls and that it usually all falls out within a year.
This still remains to be seen…