Your baby’s body will surprise you. When you see a perfect baby in movies, it is usually older, and many of the natural imperfections that come along with childbirth are cleaned up or edited out. Of course you’ll think your own baby is the picture of perfection, but there are still some things that you might be curious about. One such condition is called lanugo.

Lanugo is fine hair that grows all over your baby’s body in the final stage of pregnancy. Assuming your baby is not preterm, there is a very good chance he or she will be born with lanugo all over the body. Some parts of the body are more susceptible to lanugo than others, including the shoulders, ears, back and forehead.

Most babies loose all of their lanugo by the time they are only a few weeks old. It will fall out on its own until your baby’s skin is as smooth as—well—a baby’s lanugo-free bottom. However, it does last longer in some cases. A friend of mine has a four-month-old baby and he still has lanugo on his neck.

As long as any dry skin or rashes don’t accompany the hair, there is no reason to be concerned about it. The hair is natural and extremely common. Though many moms feel self-conscious about the hair on their baby’s foreheads when introducing him or her to relative, few people will probably even notice it. The hair is very fine, and though it’s usually dark, it is still difficult to see from a distance.

If your baby’s lanugo hasn’t faded away by the time your baby is a year old or older, bring it up to your doctor. Though it is completely harmless, the pediatrician might be able to recommend a cream or a treatment to make the hair fall out faster.

In the first few weeks of motherhood, you might find a lot of strange things about your baby’s body. No matter how much reading you’ve done, there is always more to learn. If you notice anything that seems like it might be painful or unusual, bring it up to your baby’s pediatrician. Even if you are being overly cautious, it’s better to diagnose and treat any conditions as soon as possible. If you don’t they could become permanent and lifelong problems for your child that last well into his or her adult life.

Source: FS Afsar: Physiological Skin Conditions of Preterm and Term Neonates. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology Volume 35 Issue 4 pp. 346-350 June 2010

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