Many years ago when children asked their parents “where did I come from?” they answered “the stork brought you”. The picture of the stork’s beak holding on to the baby’s neck and flying to drop the baby on the new parent’s doorstep was known by all….but things change and that visual is not known by my newest parents. In fact they look at me with completely blank stares when I discuss the birthmark on the nape of their child’s neck.
But the term “stork bite” comes from that old story, and the red birthmark seen on up to 50% of babies necks is also called nevus flammeus or nevus simplex. They are flat, pink and irregularly shaped and while they occur most commonly on the nape of the neck, they are common on the forehead, eyelids and above the upper lip as well. They are due to capillaries close to the skins surface. The stork bites on the face typically fade over time while the ones on the nape of the neck may continue to be present but are obscured and typically forgotten once the baby has hair. Many people are not even aware that they themselves have one.
When I am doing a newborn exam I see so many of these little “flat red patches” that I often to forget to bring them up as they are small and typically fade….but sometimes a parent will specifically ask about them. After I apologize for not bringing it up….as I know they are small and fade, but they are concerned, I tell them that they are “stork bites” and get that blank look. Then I launch into the etiology for the name etc. But, things are getting ready to change as STORKS a new animated movie is just bring released. The old myth of the stork is making a come back!
So…if your baby has this small birthmark, no need to worry. Be assured that most will fade but if they have not resolved by the age of 3 or 4 years, there are now lasers available to treat them.
In the meantime..take your family to see "STORKS" so they are aware of where “you used to come from”! We can still tell our children the myth of the stork and then make sure to discuss the truth about “where did I come from?”.