Being clueless first-time parents, we dutifully obeyed. When the big day arrived, we excitedly examined all 7 lbs. of her to find that she looked like... a cross between my grandpa and a raisin.
Lesson learned. If you, too, want to call your newborn what s/he really looks like, here are a few names I recommend:
From their papery skin to their huge near-black eyes to their freakishly large heads in proportion to their bodies, newborns obviously look like aliens. Notable extraterrestrials you might recognize in your child shortly after birth include the Coneheads from Saturday Night Live, and E.T. when the delivery room nurse holds up his head and you see his scrawny neck stretching out.
Covered in body fluids and vernix, the smooshy newborn at a few minutes old also closely resembles a garden slug. Don't tell me these shapeless invertebrate blobs don't look just a little bit like newborn babies to you, too. Put them both in cute sleepers and you'd hardly be able tell them apart.
Most newborns, let's face it, look exactly like short, sweet, toothless Mr. Magoo. Both sport the same huge bags under their eyes and eyelids so swollen they can hardly open them. Also, when you try to prop newborns up in the hospital bed to take a picture they schlump down like tiny geriatric patients.
With their flatted, puffy facial features and no neck, most babies are shaped more like potatoes than people at first. At birth your baby will be the purplish-red color of a French Fingerling; after a few hours she'll turn the healthy pink of a Jewel Yam (unless she develops jaundice, in which case you can expect to see the yellowish hue of a delicious Yukon Gold.)
While it's not a particularly flattering comparison, some newborns are just so long and skinny you can't help but make it. If you look objectively at their round eyes, spindly arms, skinny bowed legs, and distended bellies, it's hard not to see Gollum just a little. Sorry.
With their wrinkly foreheads, haggard expressions, and downy hair covering their backs and shoulders, newborns can also remind you of another lovable household creature: the Shar Pei. Also, both make wonderful companions and attract tons of attention when you take them out for walks.
It's no surprise if you give birth to a miniature Winston Churchill. Most newborns share a number of prominent characteristics with the former prime minister, including invisible eyebrows, a pudgy face, and a head full of peach fuzz. If your baby is especially skinny, though, s/he might look more like the "Inconceivable!" guy from The Princess Bride.
And despite all of these completely accurate descriptions of what newborns look like, they really are the cutest things on the planet, anyway. What did you think YOUR babies looked like when they were born?