Before and after: Viral image shows how a baby’s head “bounces back” post-birth

K Reeder Photography image of newborn baby boy

These images of a beautiful baby boy show how squishy his entry into the world was – and just how much flexible little bodies are capable of.

Welcome Graham!

When US mum Nikki fell pregnant, she chose photographer Kayla Reeder to capture the birth. It’s very lucky for us that she did, because not only did Kayla perfectly document the birth of baby Graham, her images reveal how quickly babies recover from that intense journey through the birth canal, too!

Kayla’s shared a beautiful edit of Nikki’s birth and her family’s response on her blog – you can see those here – but a shot Kayla’s shared to her Instagram is getting the lion’s share of attention.

The now-viral image (above) shows baby Graham very soon after the birth, and as you can see his head is still shaped from labour. Later shots show this sweet little boy getting to know his parents and big sister, as his head slowly settles into a more rounded shape.

(Scroll down or check Kayla’s blog to see those.)

Shape shifters

An elongated head is a common occurrence in vaginally delivered newborn babies, so little Graham is in very good company. Pressure on a baby’s very flexible skull as they navigate the tight fit of their mother’s birth canal often results in a misshapen head – to varying degrees –  in the hours after birth. 

Newborns are designed to be little shape shifters, though. Their heads resolve themselves into a more rounded shape in the 48 hours (or thereabouts) after birth, as everything settles back into its original position. #BabiesAreAmazing!

“Birth is beautiful”

Ridiculously, despite their super-special subject matter, Kayla’s photos have sparked some controversy online.

As the photo of Nikki’s new little boy went viral, some sensitive and misguided Instagram users reported the image, citing it as offensive and prompting the platform to remove it.

Luckily, Kayla’s a passionate advocate for women and babies and is inspiringly unstoppable too!  She posted the photo again with a reminder that we shouldn’t censor birth – and that pregnancy and labour are beautiful, warranting celebration rather than judgement. We could not agree more.

Congratulations to Nikki and family on the birth of baby Graham!

Follow Kayla on Instagram
See more birth stories on Kayla’s blog
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