What is a Stork Bite Birthmark on a Baby?

What is a Stork Bite Birthmark on a Baby?

What is a stork bite? Does it hurt at all? Is it permanent? In this article, we’ll take you through all the details. Read on.
Spoiler alert: a stork bite is unrelated to any creature, winged or otherwise. It certainly conjures up a lovely image, though.

Imagine: a mark left by the ever-helpful stork as it swiftly, safely, and gently delivers your baby to their new home.

Is that a Disney score I hear in the background? If only birth really were that simple!

But if that’s not it, what is a stork bite? We’ll take you through it.

In this article: 📝

  • What is a stork bite?
  • What does a stork bite indicate?
  • How common are stork bites?
  • How long does it take for stork bites to go away?
  • What is the difference between stork bites, port wine stains, and strawberry marks?
  • Should I worry about stork bites?

What is a stork bite?

A stork bite is simply a flat pink or reddish birthmark, often found on a baby’s head or back of the neck.

Its medical name is nevus simplex — but it goes by a bunch of other names too.

When occurring between the eyebrows, well-meaning relatives may whimsically refer to it as angel’s kisses, and somewhat less glamorously as a salmon patch.

Basically, it’s a collection of dilated blood vessels and capillaries, which is what gives it its characteristic color.

What does a stork bite indicate?

While you may worry that a stork bite is an injury caused during birth or while in the womb, don’t fret.

It is in fact caused by “a delay in the maturation of skin cells (that) results in the characteristic dilation of the dermal capillaries”.

Which is basically just science for, don’t worry mama, it’s a harmless skin quirk!

A little like what happens when you blush.

Adrenaline activates the little blood vessels in your face to open up, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to rush to the surface.

And that’s where you get them rosy cheeks!

How common are stork bites?

It may surprise you to know that stork bites are actually very common.

It may also give you some comfort to know that the marks don’t cause your baby any discomfort.

They’re simply more noticeable on the fine, soft skin of a newborn.

Their color may become more pronounced if your baby is warm, or upset and having a passionate cry.

If the mark itches or swells, is particularly large, or is in an unusual spot, you should always check in with your doctor.

But mostly, stork bites require no treatment and fade on their own.

How long does it take for stork bites to go away?

So, next question: Is it permanent? When does a stork bite go away?

The answer is, stork bites are seldom permanent and tend to get lighter over time.

They usually disappear around the toddler ages of one to two years.

It’ll happen before you know it… almost as fast as that same toddler can disappear with a contraband lidless Sharpie (so much fun to come!).

In the rare cases where a stork bite doesn’t fade completely, make-up can be used to conceal the birthmark if your child feels self-conscious as they get older.

There are even laser treatment options if your child wants a permanent solution when the time is right.

But this is by no means a given, or even necessary.

Many folk are unbothered by their birthmarks and/or wear them with pride. Ultimately, it’s all about what feels right for them.

What is the difference between stork bites, port wine stains, and strawberry marks?

Hold on… what? Yep, this plot thickens.

Stork bites are not to be confused with port wine stains or strawberry marks.

While all three are most often harmless, they look a little different.

Strawberry marks (AKA infantile hemangioma) are raised clusters of extra blood vessels that can be present at birth or develop during the first few months of your baby’s life.

Like stork bites, they usually resolve on their own, seldom requiring any treatment.

So-called port wine stains (AKA naevus flammeus) tend to be darker and larger than stork bites or strawberry marks, and are likely to grow darker and thicker with age.

While laser treatments are again an option to help lighten their appearance, it’s important to note that these birthmarks are also harmless.

And for many, like celebrity makeup artist Ryley Issac (who herself has a port wine birthmark) the message is to not hide your differences, but to highlight and embrace them.

Should I worry about stork bites?

Stork bites really are no cause for concern.

They are common, harmless and likely to vanish on their own.

As for that Sharpie-wielding toddler? Call for reinforcements!

Being a new mama comes with all sorts of challenges.

You don’t have to do it alone.

Join us on Peanut. We’re having the conversation.

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