Babies of most races and ethnicities are born with fairly light and often pinkish skin — the pink tint comes from the red blood vessels, which show through your baby's still-thin skin.
Newborn skin varies in appearance according to how many weeks pregnant you were when your baby was born. Premature babies have thin, transparent-looking skin and may be covered with lanugo, a fine, downy hair. Babies born prematurely will also still be covered with vernix, a greasy white substance that protects his skin from the amniotic fluid. Full-term and late babies will have only a few traces of vernix in the folds of their skin. Late babies may also have a slightly wrinkly appearance and very little, if any, lanugo.
Most parents assume that this pinkish skin colour is their baby's "original" complexion and fret when their baby's skin changes or darkens to its "actual skin tone" over the next few weeks and well into the first year. Another reason why babies look darker a few days after birth is because they lose water and some weight initially and this can make their skin may appear sallow. However, most babies regain a healthy skin tone (though not necessarily a fair complexion) once a proper feeding pattern is established.
In a country where fair skin is equated with beauty, many pregnant women consume certain foods in the vain hope of delivering fair skinned babies. One such belief is to consume only white coloured foods, such as milk, curd, and rice to have a fair baby. Another is to drink milk or any white coloured food first thing in the morning, yet another is to have milk with a few strands of saffron in it. However, it is important to remember that your baby's skin colour is decided by his genes depending on the race and ethnic group he belongs to and not by what you eat!
In many households, elders advise mothers to massage the babies with raw milk, fresh cream, besan (gram flour) and turmeric paste to ensure a fair and flawless complexion. However, this practice is best avoided as raw milk can carry a host of bacteria and cause infections, such as diarrhoea, dysentery, TB, E.coli and salmonella especially in a new born infant.
Fresh cream tends to make the skin greasy and may cause rashes in summer. Also the abrasive nature of gram flour and turmeric may result in allergies and even bruises.
Some mothers insist on applying lots of powder on their babies to make them fair -- this practice too is best avoided as the powder can cake up on wet skin and cause a lot of irritation and discomfort.
It is essential to understand that a person is beautiful because of what he is and what he does --not because of how he looks or how his skin tone is.
In some cases a baby's skin colour may change due to environmental or health reasons. A baby's skin may look red or flushed due to high temperatures, or he may have a slight pale bluish tinge due to the cold especially if his hands and feet are exposed. Some babies even turn blue or purple due to intense crying. However, if the bluish tinge does not go away after a crying fit, or if your baby has a blue tinge all over his body which does not subside after a few days, it may be a sign of breathing or circulatory problems. Talk to your doctor right away.
Sometimes babies have skin rashes and birthmarks which may need further examination.