5 shocks for new moms
Belly button rot, erections and tar-like poo are among the 5 things no-one tells you about newborns
Birth and new motherhood are stressful enough without bizarre surprises. Prepare yourself for the following freaky realities:

1. Baby erections are normal

Men will be men – at any age. Even newborns get erections and this is totally natural. The penis contains millions of sensitive nerve endings so it’s inevitable that gentle handling or rubbing against nappies or even the sensation of warm bathwater may stimulate it. But it may also be a sign that they’re about to pee, so watch out!

2. I just gave birth to a conehead!

Birth is just as intense for baby as it is for you, and in a vaginal delivery every push for you is a squish for her. Luckily, newborn heads comprise two boney platelets instead of one solid skull, allowing it to mould its way through the birth canal with less damage to you both. This sometimes results in an elongated appearance which is absolutely normal, does not affect your baby’s brain, and will go down in a few days. Nothing to worry about – but it might be an idea to put off the newborn photo shoot for a few days.

3. Is his poo supposed to look like that??

With apologies to the squeamish (though you may want to get over that before you become a parent), most of us expect poo to look like, well, poo. So if you’re not warned, the sight of meconium – baby’s first black, tar-like excretions – can be a bit of a shock!

After a few days, Baby’s stools should settle into a regular routine of yellowy-brown or even green (speckled with mustard-seed-like curds if you’re breastfeeding). All a bit gross, but totally normal.

4. Why is my baby blue in the face?

It can be quite a terrifying experience for a new mother to watch her baby go blue around the mouth, especially if no-one has told you that this can be a perfectly common side effect of wind.

Of course, baby’s breathing is not an area in which you want to take chances – but don’t jump into default panic mode if slight blueness above the upper lip accompanies her crying. This is usually just a result of her immature circulatory system, and she will grow out of it. If she’s breathing normally, try winding her by gently rubbing her back while you hold her over your shoulder or knee.

5. The belly button rots

Yes, actually rots.Turns black and shrivels up. And then falls off. This is normal. The umbilical cord is no longer needed to connect baby to mom for sustenance, and the little stump left behind will become baby’s belly button. Clean it frequently with surgical spirits to prevent infection, and it should naturally fall off in the first few weeks. You might not want to keep this one for the scrapbook.

Knowledge is power, and I wish someone had warned me about these situations before I had to discover them myself, the hard way! It might have saved a few panicked midnight calls to the paed…

What do you wish you’d been warned about? What would you like to warn new mothers?

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.

Jobs - Find your dream job

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

Java Developer

Network IT Recruitment
R450 000.00 - R500 000.00 Per Month

Financial Manager

Communicate Recruitment: Finance 3
R750 000.00 - R800 000.00 Per Month

Property - Find a new home