Once she was about 10 days old we noticed that a small superficial looking scratch had appeared on her forehead and thought nothing of it.
Then it got darker..... and darker.....and bigger. Erin had a strawberry naevus on her forehead about 1cm by 1cm which is pretty big on a babies head! We regularly had people asking us if she had banged her head or offering sympathy for 'that awful bruise'. We also had lots of old wives tales to help get rid of it such as rubbing strawberrys on her forehead, or people telling us it was because she had been touched by the hand of God etc. There are lots of opinions about birthmarks!
She also had no hair so it was pretty noticeable! According to the NHS around 5% of babies will develop infantile haemangiomas (the posh name for a strawberry mark) and they can appear anywhere on the body usually within the first month after birth. They often get bigger for the first 6 months and eventually shrink and disappear after this - usually by around the age of 7. These are a vascular birthmark meaning that they are caused by a malformation of vasculature under the skin.
Overall Strawberry marks shouldn't need medical intervention - they are only a risk if they develop in areas that can compromise airways or eyesight etc. There is also a risk of some bleeding if they are knocked and we were advised to try not to catch Erins with anything.
Erins birthmark is currently much lighter than it was, it's still very noticeable but we forget how dark it was. When we look back at baby pictures its actually really dark and angry looking. It used to be quite raised and obvious. Now, at 22 months it is pinkish with pale spots and really quite flat.
We have come across quite a few people with Strawberry marks as many people notice it and bring it up in conversation, mostly to say don't worry it will improve, But we have seen a massive range in location and size of Strawberry marks.
I've included a sample of photos from birth to now to show you the massive improvement in Erins Birthmark which will hopefully give you some reassurance if you are going through the same thing.
In all honesty we barely notice Erins and haven't for a long time. I think it can be incredibly hard sometimes though, Everybody wants the perfect newborn and to us Erin was perfect, but to others she had an obvious imperfection. Some people were quite offensive at times, whether they meant to be or not. My least favourite comment was from a friends mum who asked 'What we were going to have done about it?" We actually never planned to do anything unless it was a problem for Erin when she was older and she asked us to see if there were treatment options. We also got a lot of people saying 'oh well she's a girl you can always hide it with her fringe'. As I said, we had no intention of hiding it as we didn't want Erin to grow up thinking it was something to hide. Our plan was always to teach her to embrace it as something that made her special.
We would be really open when children asked about it as well and explained that it was a birthmark. We usually joked that it was how we could tell her apart from other babies.
There are lots of different places to get information if you would like to know more. I have included a couple of links at the bottom. These aren't sponsored links, just links that I found useful.
The British association of dermatologists
Birthmark support group