At about one week old, Colin developed what looked like a scrape on the side of his head, towards the back. It was a little pinkish-red and about the size of a dime, slightly oblong. The babies were still in the NICU at the time, so we initially thought maybe he had just scraped his head by accident during a changing or feeding or something like that... and fully expected it to heal up.
But it became more red and eventually it started to become raised off his skin and we realized he had a Strawberry Birthmark, or Strawberry Hemangioma. It's even shaped like a strawberry, for extra effect.
About Strawberry Birthmarks...
Strawberry Hemangiamas are a "collection of cells that make up tiny blood vessels. Strawberry hemangiomas, while they are technically birth marks, are often not noticed at birth. In fact, they usually do not become obvious until the first few weeks of life. These occur more often in females than males and are more commonly seen in Caucasian infants (10%) than in other racial groups (1%).It grew a little bit as he grew, but quickly stopped and started to become smaller (compared to his huge head - it's like an orange on a toothpick!) and now it's just hanging around there. There is nothing we want to do about it, we just hope it gets smaller - and that eventually his hair comes in and covers it up! There are laser treatments but those are generally reserved for Strawberry Birthmarks that cause physical pain or problems... Colin doesn't even know it's there.
After an initial growth phase, it's size only increases in proportion to the child's normal growth. Then over the next several years, the red color of the hemangioma begins to fade the mark dissolves away. Most of the time, there is little if any mark left behind. Strawberry hemangiomas completely resolve in 50 percent of children by age five and 70 percent by age seven. The rest show gradual fading completed by the time they reach the teenage years." (from parenting.ivillage.com)
Really, it doesn't bother us at all. What does bother us is that people notice it on him right away if he's not wearing a hat. People say things like "what's he got?" and later, after they've seen him once, they'll ask "how's his head?" His head is fine, it's just a birthmark. Especially little kids, they'll immediately say "what's that?" or something to that effect - but they are kids. Clearly it stands out as often the first thing people notice on him.
So, we hope it gets covered up by luxurious hair sometime soon and we know it could be much worse. If this and reflux are going to be the extent of his "health problems", we couldn't be happier.