Stork Bite: What You Need to Know About This Birthmark

That red splotch on your child’s skin could be a birth mark known as a stork bite. Find out what causes it, if it goes away, plus how to speed things along.

Stork Bite What You Need to Know About This Birthmark by Mama Natural

You take a look at your newborn and stare into those tiny eyes. You analyze every inch of their beautiful face and notice a little pink or red blotch right where their nose meets their forehead or on the nape of their neck. This common birthmark is lovingly called a stork bite, and it usually fades with time.

What Is a Stork Bite?

A stork bite, also known as a salmon patch or angel kisses, is a light pink- to red-colored flat birthmark that appears naturally in around 30 percent of newborns.

Stork bite birthmarks are found from the neck up. The most common places stork bites show up are on the:

  • forehead
  • eyelids
  • nose
  • upper lip
  • back of the neck
Stork Bite What You Need to Know About This Birthmark by Mama Natural post image

There is no specific testing that needs to be completed to identify the birthmark. A physician can determine whether your child has stork bite just by looking at it.

What Causes Stork Bites?

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, these harmless birthmarks, known medically as nevus simplex, are usually caused by dilated and stretched capillaries, or blood vessels, under the skin. In some cases, when a child cries or when temperature changes, the stork bite becomes more prominent.

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Do Stork Bites Go Away?

It is hard to determine whether a stork bite will fade or be permanent. Time is a major factor with determining the outcome.

Usually a stork bite will fade and disappear within the first years of life, typically 18 months.

More than 95 percent of stork bite birthmarks lighten and fade away completely, according to Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Stork bites that are located around the neck could remain for a longer period or may become permanent. But, since they’re often covered by hair, most people forget they even have a stork bite as time goes on.

Should I Be Concerned About a Stork Bite?

The most important question while learning about a stork bite is: Should you be concerned? There’s nothing to worry about. These birthmarks tend to be painless and not life threatening.

With that in mind talk to your pediatrician during your child’s well visits—they can rule out any other possible medical issues. If your stork bite has not gone away with 18 months many people tend to look into their options for removal.

Are There Any Natural Treatments for a Stork Bite?

Some natural remedies that may lessen the appearance of a birthmark include:

  • Olive oil: Often used in restoring damaged skin cells, olive oil is also a natural moisturizer. As such, it can potentially smooth uneven surfaces and lighten the birthmark. To try it, dip a cotton ball in olive oil, then apply to the birthmark and rub in a circular motion for five minutes. Rinse with warm water. Repeat this process four times a day for several weeks.
  • Lemon juice: Lemon juice acts as a natural bleaching agent and can lighten blemishes and dark skin. Treating a birthmark with lemon juice is similar to that of olive oil. Dip a cotton ball in lemon juice and apply it onto the birthmark by rubbing in a circular motion for a few minutes. Let the area air dry completely before rinsing it with warm water. Repeat three times a day for several weeks.
  • Vitamin A: The main ingredient in many prescription anti-aging and acne treatments, vitamin A stimulates cell division and production of collagen. Apply cream to the birthmark two to three times a day.
  • Vitamin E: With anti-oxidizing properties that can minimize the appearance of damaged skin, vitamin E can help minimize the appearance of the birthmark. Apply the oil to the birthmark two to three times a day.
  • Cold compress: A cold compress is useful for helping maintain moisture in the skin and may lighten the pigment of a birth mark. Wrap an ice pack in a clean cloth or towel to protect baby’s skin from damage from the extreme cold. Apply the cold compress for about 15 to 20 minutes, but do not exceed 20 minutes. Try this as often as every hour.

Medical Treatment of a Stork Bite

For those who don’t want to wait for the stork bite to fade, you can try to eliminate it through laser removal. It is a non-evasive procedure and done in an outpatient setting. Healing time is also minimal, though occasionally people experience some light bruising or tenderness.

While the risk factors for laser removal are minimal, there are some things to keep in mind. In some cases, laser removal can cause cosmetic complications, like increased pigmentation. (source) Talk to your healthcare provider about what’s right for your child.

How Is a Stork Bite Different From Other Birthmarks?

A stork bite is generally visible at birth or very soon after, and will usually fade and disappear over time. My daughter Paloma was born with a honking stork bite at the nape of her neck (just like me), but it faded significantly within a matter of months. Other types of birthmarks tend to appear later in infancy or childhood and have a greater chance of becoming permanent.

There are many similarities and differences between stork bites and other birthmarks:

  • Strawberry Birthmark: Also known as a hemangioma, these birthmarks may not be present immediately at birth, but could develop shortly thereafter. They are caused by a cluster of blood vessels close to the surface of the skin, resulting in a red, bumpy texture similar to the skin of a strawberry.  They can appear in infants and children. Typically, a strawberry hemangioma will fade by the time a child reaches age 10. A biopsy, CT scan, or MRI may be required to confirm if the marking is a strawberry birthmark that is deeper under the skin. Occasionally a strawberry birthmark becomes troublesome if it is on an eyelid or if it starts to bleed and becomes an open sore. If your child has any of these complications, contact your physician right away. Stork Bite What You Need to Know About This Birthmark – Strawberry Birthmark
  • Port-Wine Stain Birthmark: A port-wine stain birthmark is known for its dark red or purple appearance and appears at birth. Unlike a stork bite, it does not fade with time and can even darken or gain texture. Although not rare, they appear far less than most other forms of birthmarks. They can occur in any part of the body, but are common around the face, especially near the eyelid area. Port-Wine birthmarks near the eye sometimes require medical attention. Port Wine Stains- What You Need To Know Mama Natural
  • Moles: Markings in the form of brown or black moles are known as congenital melanocytic nevi, another common blemish found on about 1 percent of infants. These can occur in any area of the body, including the head or face. The shade of the mole generally appears darker in relation to the babies’ skin tone. In some instances, the marking may change appearance later in the child’s life during puberty, becoming more prominent or hairy. Stork Bite What You Need to Know About This Birthmark – Moles

How to Handle Stork Bite Comments

Unfortunately, everyone has to have some kind of commentary when it comes to observing parenting or anything out of the ordinary with a child.

Here are some strategies for handling comments about your child’s stork bite or other birthmarks:

  • If people ask: “What is that?”
    Feel free to enlighten them with all the information you have learned in this post. As the adage goes, knowledge is power.
  • If people wonder: “Will my child catch a stork bite?”
    As much as you would probably love to tell them it is contagious so they will leave you alone, the truth is that there is no worry of stork bites being infectious.
  • If people are concerned: “Is she okay?!”
    Blow them away with some culture! In certain parts of the world stork bites and angel kisses are considered a blessing. Consider the name angel kiss—many deem that the child “kissed” is blessed and protected by angels.

How About You?

Did your baby have a stork bite? If so, what did it look like? When did it fade away?

Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 85,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

14 Comments

  1. I’m 33 and I still have my stork bite. It hasn’t changed in anyway since I was born.

  2. Hello,
    Looks like my daughter has a strawberry birthmark. It is right at the centre of her scalp next to where the hair curves are visible. It was not present at birth but in 2 weeks it appeared as red spot which was not bulged and only 5 mm. We showed to doctor he said it is nothing to worry about. Over time it grew and my baby is now 5 months old and the birthmark is an inch big with bulges. I really hope it gies away.

    • Hi, I’m 16 years old and so is my cousin, Makaia. We both have had strawberry birthmarks since we were a couple months old. Mine is in the crease of my elbow and has faded a bit since I was little but has stayed the same size in relation to my body and stayed in the same place. Makaia’s was right on the edge of her areola but has moved a few inches, grown a bit, and gotten darker. These birthmarks are nothing to be concerned about and give your child their own unique mark. It may fade, it may get darker, it may change size, and it might stay the same, but all birthmarks are beautiful and you shouldn’t worry about it.

  3. I don’t see the big deal. My daughter has a huge one on her forehead that literally looks like i big lip stick kiss, plus both of her eyes look like she’s wearing eye liner, then she has a bit on the tip off her nose and inside her left nostril. Plus a huge dark patch on the nape of her neck and another on the back of her head where her hair pattern starts (her hurricane as i call i t). I love them, i think it’s adorable, and I’m kind of upset they’ll go away. The only reason I’m grateful is because i know that when she’s a teenager she’ll hate them and be self conscience. It’s funny because one of my fears was a giant birthmark on the face, as I’d mentioned to my husband repeatedly, along with having to have my baby in a park because i ran out of time (when my water broke in the park I’ll admit i panicked, sobbing hysterically), and now I’ll miss it when it’s faded. They even Photoshopped it out of her pictures, and every nurse mentioned “it goes away,” first thing they say to us after hi, i don’t think it’s so bad, despite my daughter having so many.

  4. A week before my daughter was born my mom had a dream that she was born with a giant red birth mark on her face. I’m her dream she panicked but my grandmother and grandfather who both passed away a few years ago came to her in this dream and said the birthmark was from their kisses. A week later when Baby Olivia was born she had a giant red birthmark on the back of her neck. I won’t lie, I’m grateful for the placement of it, but I like to think that the birthmark is from my granparents’ kisses and while I know these stork bites fade I’m hoping hers stays with her. It will always be a loving reminder of the great grandparents she never got to meet.

  5. I was born with a storkbite on my right eyelid, my mother and father thought it was cute. Mine is a light pink color but when I get sick or upset, it turns BRIGHT red. Mine has yet to fade (I’m 20) and I’m constantly getting asked “what is that on your eye?”, “Are you alright? It looks like you’ve been punched”, “why did you put pink eyeshadow on one eye?” Etc.. I’m glad I’ve found this article!

    • If you don’t mind me asking, when you were a baby did you happen to not open the eye with the stork bite as well as the other?

  6. Both of my children have stork bites. Both of them have it in the shape of a heart right between their eyebrows. My oldest is 3 and while it hasn’t gone away it is so faint most of the time most people don’t notice it.
    It’s only noticeable when she cries or gets really hot or really cold. My youngest is 15 months and still has a very noticeable stork bite. She actually has it in 2 places. One between her eyebrows which has faded some but not much, and one at the nape of her neck which has turned into a sensitive area where she has extremely dry skin and has to constantly be treated or it bleeds and scabs. It’s only gotten worse with time. We are hoping to try a new treatment that will hopefully get it to go back to normal skin. Not scales.
    Either way, we thing the little hearts are beautiful.

    • Just wandering how you treated the neck mark? My buns has recently gone dry and now scanned and a bit weepy when it’s cleaned.

  7. I heard that stork bites could indicate a gene mutation. Mthfr gene mutation? Do you know anything about this? My daughter has a stork bite so I’m interested in learning more.

    • Yes! I heard this too! (Just recently!) So I had my daughter tested and turns out she DOES have MTHFR. It was a simple test (cheek swab) and not too expensive. Our chiropractor did the test.

      • Can I get the name of the Chiropractor who did the swab?

    • Hi, I just wanted to let you know that MTHFR mutations aren’t known to cause birthmarks as far as I can find. I searched pubmed and found zero studies to suggest this link. MTHFR mutations exist in about 10% of the population, so just having an MTHFR mutation does not indicate your child’s birthmark was caused by it.

      • Dear Casandra. Please do your own research on MTHFR as information given above is not entirely accurate. MTHFR has two variants. Depending on the Gene mutation … it has been suggested 25 – to 50 % of the population has MTHFR depending on your heritage.
        I have two variant mutations in the C667 gene myself and passed this same double mutation on to one of my daughters. I do not recall any of my 3 girls having a “stork bite” but it would be interesting to see if this can be medically documented.

        MTHFR can cause some serious health issues and does require excellent health habits. I will be on B12 injections – as my daughter our whole life. A small price to pay for health.

        Not to say it’s not accurate but have never heard of a cheek swab to be tested for MTHFR. Have had 4 family members tested at Jacksonville Mayo Clinic thru blood work. The medical knowledge behind proper care is still sparse and still some specialist are guessing so do your research.
        A double variant person is more incline to strokes and heart attacks thru blood clots and then some. So avoiding certain medications : birth control, statins to name a few … is critical.
        Be advised and stay well-


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