When I delivered my baby girl in 2007, my mom took a look at her and proclaimed, “She looks just like Ken.” Awesome. Every new mother wants to hear that her precious daughter looks like her 60-something father-in-law. When a nurse came in minutes later and told me my baby was so beautiful, I couldn’t help but think, “You say that to everyone.” (I later fact-checked this with a nurse friend of mine—they really do say that to everyone!)
As weeks and months rolled by, Charlotte became absolutely adorable, with big blue eyes, round cheeks, pink lips and curly blonde hair. She even got to model for P&N a couple times! So when I birthed babies two, three and four, I worried less about their initial appearance. I have learned and confirmed that I simply do not produce picture-perfect newborns. You know those new-baby glamour shots you see all over social media, featuring porcelain cherubs tucked in baskets or sporting funky knit hats? You’re not going to see any of those portraits at my house. Butler babies simply need a little time to ripen before they’re photo ready.
Baby Deacon is no exception to the above, except that he might be a more exaggerated example than the others. My babies come out red and puffy-eyed. Their little noses have clogged pores. Their faces appear somewhat smooshed upon delivery. Deke owned all of these features, plus a highly pronounced ridge running across the horizon of his head, which has since faded as his skull has realigned. He also had yellowish eyes flecked with broken blood vessels for the first couple weeks of his life, and he loves to Edward Scissorhands his face if I don’t file his nails down on the daily.
The beauty issues we’re wrestling with now are baldness and baby acne. That’s right—Deke has the hairline of a middle-aged man and the complexion of a teenager, poor child. First, let’s talk about the recession up on top. Every one of my babies was born with brown hair, which was gradually replaced by blonde. However, I’ve never noticed a distinct loss of hair until this baby. The photos I took last week show fuzzy brown hair up to the expected hairline—it wasn’t thick, but it was there. In the hospital, they shaped it into a fauxhawk. Now, Deke is shiny bald up to the top of his head, so that he looks nearly hairless when he’s viewed straight on. A peripheral view shows that he still has some ground cover at the crown, a brown fringe jutting out over his ears and a prodigious mullet warming his neck.
Then there’s the acne. All of my babies had some blemishes in the beginning, but I’m pretty sure Deke’s is the worst case I’ve ever seen, maybe because the temperature has been in the 90s or higher since he was born? These are the remedies I’ve tried so far:
- Changing soaps. I’ve bathed him with Johnson’s, Aveeno and just plain water. No discernable difference between the three, but bathing in general does seem to help.
- Switching formula. I was using formula for sensitive tummies (to help with gas) until I realized that the first listed ingredient is corn syrup. If my diet consisted primarily of corn syrup, I’d be breaking out, too! Unfortunately, putting him back on regular formula did not seem to help his skin.
- Applying breast milk facemasks. Some sources say that baby acne is caused by hormones passed on by mom at birth, so rubbing breast milk on it doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. However, I saw this remedy on Pinterest and thought I’d give it a try. Nope.
- Massaging with oil. I’ve tried coconut oil, which didn’t do much, and baby oil with aloe and vitamin E. The baby oil has been my most successful remedy so far, although the results are minimal. It doesn’t clear the bumps, but it does lessen the redness.
Here’s what I haven’t tried yet:
- Treating with baking soda. I saw this on Pinterest as well, but I’m afraid to try it. The blogger says she applied a baking soda paste to her baby’s face for 30-60 seconds before rinsing it off and following with moisturizer. I’m just not sure about using this on a newborn; it seems like it might be too harsh. (If you’ve tried it, let me know!)
- Using baby detergent. I wash all of our clothes in detergent free from dyes and fragrance, but I haven’t been using the Dreft sitting in my cabinet. With a family of six, I’d rather not have to wash baby’s stuff separately, but I will if I need to. (I don’t trust Dreft to cut through the stains and odors my other kids leave behind.)
- Mustela Cleansing Water. Some of the Internet moms swear by this. I haven’t found it in a store yet, so I’ll need to order it online. Have you used it? Is it worth the hype?
- Waiting it out. Time is the only sure remedy.
Lest I appear ungrateful, let me lastly assure you all: I love this baby with all of my heart, and he is beautiful and wonderful to me, regardless of any skin-deep imperfections. I can laugh and whine about a bald pate and bad skin knowing that none of that matters in the least. I am supremely thankful for a healthy, content baby boy with intelligent blue eyes and a smile that lights up my whole day, every day. He is a joy!