Stork bites in newborn? Nope. Neither do storks cause them. Nor are they bitemarks! However, you may have noticed your neonate sporting this birthmark as you see your bundle of joy for the first time. And yup, after seeing it, you may be having a lot of questions. So, let’s delve in and see what stork bites are all about!
Stork Bites, Angel Kisses, and Nevi?
Stork bites have loads of names. Also known as an angel kiss, a strawberry mark, or a salmon patch. All these are common names for a nevus simplex. A birthmark that is present in up to 30-50% of newborn babies.
A birthmark is a colored patch of skin that appears at birth. Or sometimes within the first month of life. They range from flat patches to small, raised bumps. And can appear anywhere on the body.
A nevus is also a birthmark. It is a benign lesion and hence not harmful. Nevi or stork bites appear anywhere on the baby’s body. From the forehead, upper lip, around the eyes and nose to the nape of the neck and even on the back, arms, and legs.
Stork bites have a very characteristic flat and pink look. Hence the term ‘salmon patch’.
What Causes Stork Bites in Newborn?
Contrary to the fable, storks do not cause stork bites in newborn. Though you may have often come across a picture of a stork carrying a cute baby!
Seeing that pink patch on the otherwise clear and soft newborn skin is bound to set you in a frenzy. You may be blaming yourself for some inconvenience you faced in pregnancy. Something unhealthy you ate during those nine months. Or maybe some trauma you or the baby faced while giving birth.
But rest assured. None of these causes stork bites in newborn. Not even storks themselves!
The Real Reason Behind Stork Bites in Newborns
So, what causes stork bites in newborn then? Yup, they can be inherited but the exact cause is often not known.
Stork bites in newborn or nevi are caused by the stretching or dilatation of blood vessels underneath the skin. They are the most common vascular malformation in infants. As they affect approximately 30-50% newborns.
Changing Color of Stork Bites?
You may have seen the stork bite on your baby change color. This happens when your baby is crying or often when the temperature changes. This is because that stork bite in newborn, as we saw, is a vascular deformity.
Hence when your baby is crying or upset and exerting pressure, the blood flow in those stretched vessels changes. The same is the case when the temperature outside becomes hotter or colder than before.
This change in blood flow causes a temporary change in color. Even applying pressure on it would cause the color to fade. But it goes back to normal. Hence, no need to worry!
Temporary or Permanent?
A stork bite in newborn isn’t the best of birthmarks when it comes to the appearance. Especially when it is large and appears as an unsightly patch on the face.
Though it is not harmful, as a parent you do have concerns. Which are rightly justified? So, you may be asking yourself, “Is the stork bite in newborn temporary, or will it stay forever?”
Stork bites or nevi are temporary in most cases. And often disappear as your child grows older. In around 90-95% of cases, the marks fade away and become lighter with age.
However, a nevus on the back of the neck may still persist despite your child entering his teens or adulthood. But as it gets covered by hair, it doesn’t cause any problems.
Stork Bites and Treatment?
Stork bites in newborn often don’t need treatment. As they disappear by the time your baby turns 1 or 2 years of age.
As they are benign lesions, hence they do not need any intervention. Especially when your child is too young for them to bother their overall appearance.
But when your child is old enough to appreciate these angel kisses. They may ask for some treatment options. Especially when these stork bites are pretty evident and large in size. And are affecting the overall cosmetic appearance.
Diagnostic Tests for Stork Bites?
Diagnostic tests help doctors in deciding what disease a patient has. However, with nevus simplex, no test is required. The doctor figures out the condition on the basis of the appearance of the mark. Often it is an incidental finding during a routine physical exam.
Is Laser a Treatment Option?
Laser is an effective treatment option for stork bites. To reduce the appearance and decrease the size of the mark.
However, you may want to wait until your child is old enough. To wait for the mark to disappear naturally. And to see if the salmon patch does become troublesome for your child.
Laser therapy targets the blood vessels underneath the skin. Though it really works, you may need more than one session for the final result!
Stork Bites in Newborn- When to See Your Doctor?
Stork bites in newborns are one of the many types of birthmarks babies can develop. And they often disappear with age without causing harm.
However, when should you check in with your doctor? If the stork bite appears after birth, that is after you have taken your baby from the hospital. That salmon patch can be alarming.
And you may want to check in with your pediatrician to cater to those concerns. Your doctor may also want to rule out any skin disorder.
Also do not hesitate in talking to your doctor if the stork bite becomes itchy, painful, or starts to bleed or increase in size.
Stork Bites and Take-Home Messages?
Stork bites, angel kisses, salmon patches, strawberry marks- or just a nevus. Call it whatever you want. But stork bites in newborn are relatively harmless birthmarks. Which is why you may want to sit back and relax!
And don’t forget. The storks had nothing to do with it!
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