Jaundice and common rashes in newborns.
Does my baby have jaundice?
In the first 5 days of life you may notice your baby’s face or chest become yellow. This is called jaundice.
After birth your baby has extra red blood cells. As the blood cells break down, bilirubin is released and causes jaundice. As the baby’s body clears the excess bilirubin, the yellow will go away.
The more the baby feeds (especially breast milk), the better the bilirubin will be removed from their body.
In some babies, the yellowing will spread, going down the body to the arms and legs. If this happens, your baby may be very tired and not feed well because they are sleepy. It’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible.
Learn more about jaundice and how it is treated.
Get answer to common questions about jaundice in this video.
Is this rash normal?
Often babies will appear to get rashes that can be quite worrisome for new parents. Most of these marks are actually quite normal.
Blotchy red marks with a small white or yellow lump in the centre
- Called “newborn rash” (erythema toxicum)
- Occurs on second or third day of life in almost 50 per cent of all babies
- ½ inch to one inch blotches with a small white or yellow lump in the centre (almost look like an insect bite)
- Found anywhere on the body, except the palms of hands and soles of feet. If such marks ARE seen on the palms or soles, please see your primary health care provider.
- Disappear after two weeks of age
White bumps on the face which looks like pimples but much smaller
- Called “milia”
- Tiny white bumps that look like pimples but are not infected
- Found on the faces of about 40 per cent of newborns
- Caused by a blocked skin pore that will open on its own at one to two months of age without any treatment.
- About 30 per cent of all babies get acne around three to five weeks of life
- Looks like small red bumps
- Caused by mom’s hormones passing through the baby
- Goes away on its own by four to six weeks of age
Bluish-green or bluish-grey flat birthmark
- Called “Mongolian spots”
- May look like a bruise
- Most common in babies from African, Aboriginal, Asian or Hispanic heritages
- Occasionally occurs in Caucasians of Mediterranean descent
- Usually found on the bottom or back, but can be anywhere
- Usually disappear by two to three years of age but a trace may sometimes still exist into adulthood
Flat pink birthmark
- Also known as a 'stork bite'
- Found on the nose, eyelids or back of neck
- Seen in half of all newborns
- Marks on the nose and eyelids will go away completely
- If they are found on the top of the nose and go up to the hairline, they can continue into adulthood (but can be treated)
- If found on the back of the neck, about 75 per cent will disappear
Red birthmarks that are raised
- Called “strawberry hemangiomas”
- Usually appear around three weeks of age
- Can grow larger over the first year of life
- In six to eight years will fade away without any treatment
Learn more about birthmarks.
Crusty, scaly or oily skin to the forehead or scalp of a baby
- Called "cradle cap"
- Common in babies, not a sign of illness or poor cleaning
- Usually disappears by one year of age
Learn more about home treatment options.
- Also known as “atopic dermatitis”
- Appears as dry, red, flaky, itchy areas on the skin
- Usually found on the cheeks, forehead and scalp of babies
- Usually starts in babies but can start at any age
- Symptoms can come and go
- Can improve with age and many children outgrow it in their teen years.
- Belongs to a group of allergic conditions (including asthma, hay fever, and food allergies) and tends to run in families
- Occurs in about 10 per cent of Canadian infants and children
Learn more about eczema and food allergy in babies.
- The skin in the diaper area looks red, irritated, raw or even burned.
- Caused by the moisture from the diaper against the skin, rubbing or chemicals in the diaper or wipes.
Learn more about diapering, preventing rashes and treatment options.