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Weird Nappy Surprises New Parents Should Be Aware Of...

If you’re a new parent, or soon to be a parent, it’s good to be prepared for all of the surprises our babies can throw us.

The most common ‘mystery zone’, when it comes to small babies, is the nappy. Sometimes, the things we find in there can cause us alarm and anxiety when they’re actually common and perfectly natural occurrences, so to reassure you and prepare you, we’ve looked into the most common causes of ‘nappy anxiety’ and the scientific explanation behind each one…

WARNING: There may be a few yucky photos further down the page!

First Poo…

Ok, so if you’ve already experienced this, chances are you’re mentally regaling that very first poopy nappy.

That first poo, mummies and daddies, is made up of something called meconium. Meconium builds up in baby’s bowels and is made up of everything baby ingests in your womb when he or she swallows amniotic fluid. It’s very dark, sometimes black, dark brown or dark green. It can resemble motor oil or tar, and often there may be lots of it, which can alarm new parents if they’re not aware!

It should all be passed within the first few days after your baby is born and transition to the yellowish poo that will become the norm whilst your baby is mainly on milk.

Read more about meconium on the NHS website here!

‘Rusty’ Residue in Nappy…

Also known as a ‘brickstain’, this odd orange mark you may find in your baby’s nappy is something that worries a lot of new parents – it certainly worried me, I was concerned that it was blood.

This mark is actually caused by urate crystals and is really common in newborns during the first few days, especially if they’re breastfed. It can be a sign of over-concentrated urine – understandable as baby only consumes colostrum for the first few days (they have tiny stomachs at this stage) before your breastmilk comes in, so these marks are usually not seen after this point but it’s always advisable to let your midwife or Health Visitor know so that they can check your baby over.

Read some NHS guidance on this here.

Image credit: La Leche League

Baby Girls

If you notice blood in your baby girl’s nappy, it’s natural to panic!

However, there is an explanation for this; something known as pseduo menstruation. In laments terms, your baby’s hormones can fluctuate a little after she is born and away from her mummy’s hormones, at around 2-10 days old, and this can cause some bloody discharge that lasts a few days.

You may also notice that your baby girl has swollen genitals and her aereolas may also seem swollen – this is all due to the drop off in Estrogen baby has that was passed on from her mum, just like with the pseudo period, and it should resolve itself within a few days but it’s always worth speaking to your midwife!

This NHS documentation gives some reassuring information on this.

Baby Boys

Baby boys, like baby girls, can have swollen genitals due to the fluctuation in hormones once they’re away from their mummy’s own hormones! This will settle down within a few days.

Another surprise that you should be warned about is, without sounding crass, that baby boys can get erections – even in the womb. It is a completely normal physiological occurrence that stems from your baby’s body development. In the first few months of life, your baby boy will have a surge of testosterone that usually coincides with when a parent starts to notice this. So, it isn’t just a thing that starts in the teenage years!

This article written by paediatricians is really useful.

Is there anything else you’d add to our list of nappy surprises? Drop your input into the comments!

Love from Katie & Team BBY. Xx

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