What babies really look like fresh out of the womb, in all their goopy glory

by Megan Zander
May 16, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. ET

All babies are born with a coating of vernix on their body: a waxy substance that helps protect an infant’s skin and holds in body heat. But while vernix is totally normal and natural, it’s not something you often see in photos or read much about in books, meaning it can come as a surprise to some new moms the first time they lay eyes on their child.

To celebrate the beauty that is a brand-new baby in all its goopy glory, we’ve rounded up some beautiful images of newborn babies covered in vernix, because this is what real birth looks like.

1 /21: A new arrival

1/21 :A new arrival

Photographer Megan Bowen captured this photo of a vernix-coated infant just after birth.

2 /21: Welcome to the world

2/21 :Welcome to the world

Photographer Laura Eckert captured this beautiful image of a baby just after birth but before the first bath.

3 /21: Nature's skincare

3/21 :Nature's skincare

Photographer Liliana Leahy took this breathtaking image of a baby's vernix-covered face as it exited the womb.

4 /21: A well-protected torso

4/21 :A well-protected torso

A new mom gazes at her vernix-covered baby in awe in this image by Robin Baker.

5/21 :First kiss

Rana of Breathe Birth Photography captured this heartwarming image of a dad kissing his new baby, vernix and all.

6 /21: Snuggles before a bath

6/21 :Snuggles before a bath

Photographer Ashley Marston captured these parents cradling their newborn — vernix and all

7/21 :Hi, Mom!

A newborn makes vernix and a hat look equally adorable in this photo taken by Laura Eckert. 

8 /21: What newborns really look like

8/21 :What newborns really look like

Photographer Robin Baker captures what a newborn really looks like in this powerful image.

9/21 :Just born

This beautiful black-and-white image by photographer Ashley Marston shows a vernix-coated baby with a delivery team.

10 /21: A precious face

10/21 :A precious face

Photographer Robin Baker proves that even with a vernix coating, an infant's face is adorable.

11 /21: Tuckered out

11/21 :Tuckered out

Rana of Breathe Birth Photography snapped this sweet photo of a vernix-coated newborn resting with Mom. 

12/21 :First hello

A mom holds her baby close following labor in this picture taken by Robin Baker.

13 /21: A full coating of vernix

13/21 :A full coating of vernix

Photographer Laura Eckert took this photo of an infant coated in a thick, protective layer of vernix.

14 /21: Gloriously goopy

14/21 :Gloriously goopy

This photo, taken by photographer Robin Baker, shows the awesome reality of what a baby looks like right after birth, bodily fluids and all. 

15/21 :Sleepy baby

Traces of vernix are seen on this sweet, sleepy baby in an image by Rana of Breathe Birth Photography.

16 /21: Little baby bottom

16/21 :Little baby bottom

Photographer Leilani Rogers took this sweet photo of a mom holding her tiny baby, with a cool pattern of vernix still visible on its back.

17 /21: I've arrived!

17/21 :I've arrived!

A vernix-coated baby makes a loud debut in this image by Robin Baker.

18 /21: Bonding with Mom

18/21 :Bonding with Mom

A mom holds her infant skin to skin in this powerful picture taken by Rana of Breathe Birth Photography.

19/21 :Tub birth

In these amazing tub birth images taken by Rana of Breathe Birth Photography, we see that vernix can remain on a baby's skin even after exposure to water. 

20 /21: The wait is over

20/21 :The wait is over

Photographer Robin Baker captured this unique image of a newborn being held aloft

21 /21: Overjoyed parents

21/21 :Overjoyed parents

In this photo taken by Laura Eckert, new parents are thrilled to hold their vernix-coated baby.