(1) Color. At birth, the iris color is usually grayish-blue in Caucasians and
grayish brown or brown in dark-complexioned races. A gradual deposition of pigment
produces the final eye color of the baby at the age of three to six months and
sometimes it may take a year.
(2) Pupils. The pupils do react to light and the infant can focus on objects
about eight inches away. The infant's blinking is a natural protection reflex.
(3) Lacrimal apparatus. The lacrimal apparatus is small and nonfunctioning
at birth and tears are not usually produced with crying until one to three months of age.
b. Ears. The infant's ears tend to be folded and creased. A line drawn through
the inner and outer canthi of the eye should come to the top notch of the ear where it
joins the scalp (see figure 7-5). The infant usually responds to sound at birth.
Figure 7-5. Structure of infant's ear.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NEWBORN INFANT'S SKIN
The infant has delicate skin at birth that appears dark red because it is thin and
layers of subcutaneous fat have not yet covered the capillary beds. This redness can
be seen through heavily pigmented skin and becomes even more flushed when the
a. Vernix Caseosa. This is a soft, white, cheesy, yellowish cream on the
infant's skin at birth (see figure 7-6). It is caused by the secretions of the sebaceous
glands of the skin. It offers protection from the watery environment of the uterus, is
absorbed in the skin after birth, and serves as a natural moisturizer. If there is a large
amount of vernix caseosa present, it should be meticulously removed as it is thought to
be a good culture medium for bacteria.