PARENTS

Birthmarks: What To Do If Your Baby Has Them

24/09/2009 08:47 | Updated 22 May 2015

During the first few weeks after my son was born, his face broke out in baby acne and his upper eyelids, more often than not, had red patches on them. I knew this was completely normal, so whenever my husband asked, 'Is that normal?' I'd brush him off with a 'yes, yes, he's perfectly fine.'

Though the red patches on his eyelids started to disappear, I soon noticed there were red splotches on the back of his neck and on the top of his head which, along with the almost invisible spots on his eyelids, got very red when he cried. I assumed they were stork bites - red birthmarks most often found on the eyelids and back of the neck in up to 50% of Caucasian babies which fade within the first couple years - but wondered if they could be a different kind of birthmark, one that perhaps might need treatment.

Thank goodness for the internet. After half an hour reading I not only was positive that my son had been born with stork bites, but also knew loads about the different kinds of birthmarks babies are born with.

I was wondering if my son's marks could be port wine stains or strawberry marks as they are red- as opposed to cafe au lait spots which are brown or Mongolian blue spots which are, well, blue- which was why I was looking.Strawberry marks are not usually present at birth. They appear most often on the face or neck within the first few months. They start off as a small red patch which grows over the next several months and ends up as a bright red lump. They stop growing and shrink again over time and are usually completely gone by the age of 7.

Port wine stains are present at birth, are flat and range in colour from light pink to dark purple. They occur most often on the face, chest and back, though can affect any part of the body.

Port wine stains do not fade with time and can, in fact, get much darker as the child grows up. Some of them even become raised or lumpy. They can often be successfully treated with laser therapy starting from when the child is a few months old. It can be painful, however, so some parents may feel the size or position of the stain isn't 'bad enough' to warrant the trauma of the treatment in a little one.

It was definite, my son has stork marks and I'm sure I will miss them when they are gone.

If your child has been born with a birthmark, there seems to be a lot of information, advice and support out there. A few places to start are:

The BUPA Birthmarks factsheet - It provides very useful information about the different types of birthmarks.

Birthmark Support Group UK - a UK-based support community with information, advice and support.

Birthmarks.com - this site has loads of information including personal stories about people's experiences of having a birthmark themselves or a child with a birthmark. Also includes people's diaries about their laser removal, including before and after photos.

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