[[quoteright:350: [[Film/KnockedUp http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/knocked-up_1677.jpg]]]]

->''We had lots of babies offered in the beginning -- all the way from Eugene Sloper who was so new he was still red, up to Junior Caudill who was almost four (his mother said he could scrunch up).''
-->-- ''Literature/TheBestChristmasPageantEver''

A subtrope of DawsonCasting, one specifically about newborns, or at least TV "newborns". Whenever a supposedly just born child appears on TV, the baby you will see will actually be several months old. Put this down to a mixture of simple ethics, employment laws, and casting laws that make it unacceptable to cast a real newborn in such a role. This is because sound stages are hot, bright, stuffy, dirty places--not a great environment for a newborn infant prone to infection and unable to control body temperature.

This can have [[TheCoconutEffect an unfortunate side effect]], due to the fact that RealityIsUnrealistic, making a person's first encounter with a real newborn possibly {{squick}}y. Real newborns aren't clean looking gurgling bundles of cuteness. Real newborns are covered in mucus, blood, amniotic fluid, and other bodily substances, up to and including fecal matter. There is a chance they could be covered in a peach fuzz like substance called lanugo (a remnant of when our ancestors were a lot hairier than we are now; most fetuses lose it before birth but obviously, a few don't). Their skin will usually have a red hue to it as well, and look somewhat "wrinkly", especially if they are considerably premature. On top of all this most newborns have noticeably deformed heads from the birth process since their skulls aren't yet closed and their bones are very flexible. To say nothing of the placenta that should be popping out with the babe. Even newborns that have been cleaned up and are a couple days old are generally UglyCute at best. It's been said that all newborn babies look like WinstonChurchill.

This can even carry over to newborn animal babies, who fiction likes to depict as [[RidiculouslyCuteCritter the cutest, smallest things]] ever to arrive, when in actuality most newborn animals arrive slimy, hairless, and often [[EyelessFace eyeless]] because their eyes may be covered by a layer of skin that takes some time to wither away. Take a look [[http://www.orcca.on.ca/~elena/useful/new_born_rabbit.jpg at a newborn rabbit]],and you'll think your bunny just gave birth to a dumpling.

In fiction, birth is [[CleanPrettyChildbirth a much cleaner, nicer]] ([[ScreamingBirth but still painful for the mother]]) process, and in American films and TV shows usually happens in a tent. The four month old tot pops out of his/her Mommy as clean as whistle and is bundled up.

This is an OmnipresentTrope so only aversions, subversions, inversions, parodies and the like should be added.
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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/BloodPlus'' has two examples, which are both [[JustifiedTrope justified]] since the babies in question are [[OurVampiresAreDifferent chiropteran]] babies:
** The newborn Saya and Diva were described by the first Joel as having the appearance of two-month-old human babies.
** [[spoiler:Diva's daughters]] are an even better example. When they emerge from their cocoons, they already have full heads of hair as opposed to small tufts on their foreheads as Saya and Diva had, and after a moment or two of crying, they quickly shift to smiling and giggling.
* If the third ''Manga/{{InuYasha}}'' movie is anything to go by, the title character was born with a full head of hair.
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[[folder: Fanfiction]]
* A subversion in Chapter 13 of the ''{{Superjail}}'' fanfic ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8803490/1/Extended-Stay Extended Stay]]''when the Warden and the Mistress's twins are born. Sure, they had umbilical cords, but there was no mention of them being covered in blood or other fluids for that matter.
* Link and Jenna's child in ''FanFic/MyInnerLife'' is cute, clean, and cooing in his mother's arms just seconds after his birth. He's smiling, giggling and doing math not long after. There was also no mention of an umbillical cord and apparently the birth only took... eh, maybe five minutes?
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[[folder:Film]]
* {{Aversion}}: ''Film/ChildrenOfMen'' used a CGI baby in the birth scene.
** Ditto for ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'', where both Luke and Leia are CG and so is the droid midwife. Yet they still looked like this.
* Attempted aversion/bizarre example: Judd Apatow wanted to shoot an actual birth for ''KnockedUp''; Creator/AnneHathaway is said to have turned down the project because of this. Apatow abandoned this plan when he realized that he would need a worker's permit for the unborn child.
* Taken to its most insane in Rudy Ray Moore's ''Petey Wheatstraw, the Devils' Son-in-Law'', where the titular character emerges from the womb looking about twelve years old and ''wearing a diaper''! He then attacks his doctor.
* ''Film/TheNativityStory'' is odd in the fact that while the baby playing Jesus could maybe pass for newborn, the baby John the Baptist comes out of the womb looking as if it's already attending preschool. The contrast between them makes the problem much worse than if they had used two older babies.
* Total {{aversion}} in the film ''Window Water Baby Moving'' by Stan Brakhage, in which Brakhage actually films his own wife in the few days before giving birth, as well as the filming during the birthing process... from up close. The fact that the film that there is no music or dialogue only highlights the intense (and {{squick}}y nature) of birth. The camera only being a foot away from his wife's... "area" also lends to this feeling.
* Creator/SpikeLee's ''SheHateMe'' averted this in a rather traumatizing fashion. Not one, but two births were actually filmed and used in the movie. Pretty squicky stuff, especially since you expect the standard "mother screaming/cut to clean, swaddled child." Nope. You get two real kids popping out of real mothers right before your very eyes.
* In the TV movie ''Million Dollar Babies,'' about the Dionne quintuplets, the producers used anamatronic dolls for the newborn quints. Using older babies to represent the newborn Dionne girls, who were two months premature, and small for that, would have been ridiculous, and defeatist as well, since it's a major portion of the first half-hour of the film that the girls are tiny, premature, and not expected to live. In addition to that, finding five babies who looked alike would be difficult. Obviously, using real, underweight newborns or preemies was out of the question. The film was made before CGI was an option.
* ''Film/{{Junior}}'' has [[ItMakesSenseInContext Arnold Schwarzenegger give birth]] and like GeorgeLopez they CGI his adult face onto a CGI baby... It's NightmareFuel for everyone, including Arnold, which is fair, as it is a nightmare in the film.
* French film ''Romance'' has what appears to be an actual birth. Close-up of vagina and everything.
* In ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'', when Rapunzel is supposed to be so young that her parents are still celebrating her birth, she has flowing (magic) hair and can hold up her own head and focus and otherwise act months older. The narration describes the period of time before Gothel abducts her as "a moment."
* Averted as much as possible in ''Film/ManOfSteel''.
* In ''Theatre/AnneOfTheThousandDays'', Elizabeth is a rather sprightly toddler for someone who would not even be three years old at the time the film ends. This was averted in the original play.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Aaron on ''Series/{{Lost}}'' was actually a newborn at birth, but thereafter was played by a series of significantly older babies. Of course, it's difficult to find blond, blue-eyed babies in Hawaii, especially to play a character who only ages two months in three seasons of episodes.
* {{Inversion}}: In a ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' flashback in season one, an eighteen-month-old Claire (an age when children are often walking and might even have a word or two in their vocabularies) was played by an eight-month-old baby.
* Both used and averted on ''DesperateHousewives'' in season four: Danielle's son was born with amniotic fluid and all and looked like the average newborn for quite a while afterward, but Susan's (month early) son was born perfectly clean and looked to be the average size of a four month old baby.
** Of course, Danielle's son was born on Hallowe'en and delivered by a doctor dressed as Frankenstein's Monster, which may have influenced the realistically grisly nature of the birth.
* Parodied on ''[[TheGeorgeLopezShow George Lopez]]''. Anytime a flashback occurs where George is an infant, it's an infant's body with George's head computer generated on.
* Similarly parodied in the ''Series/ChappellesShow'' parody of ''Antwone Fishe''r, where close-up shots of newborn Dave show his adult head. (Wider shots show an obviously fake baby - with an enormous penis.)
* Hera on ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'' is born tiny, bloody, and generally looking slightly premature.
* Averted on ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode "Disaster" when Keiko O'Brien gives birth to Molly with a cut-away shot that looks realistic.
* According to the [[AllThereInTheManual companion book]], a half-Bajoran, half-Cardassian newborn was needed for an episode of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', so they got the guys who built [[Film/ChildsPlay Chucky]] to do it. Sadly (and hilariously), the baby really ''looked'' like a [[NightmareFuel Cardassian/Bajoran Chucky]], so in the end they used a normal doll wrapped in a blanket and had one cutaway scene, using a four-month-old with a small rubber prosthetic forehead applied with K-Y Jelly.
* Either TV Land or Nick-at-Nite once ran a commercial that lampshaded the entire TV-birth process, including this trope. It went something like this:
-->'''Kid:''' Where do babies come from?
-->'''Mother:''' Well, when two TV characters love each other very much, generally in the third season, the woman wears a very special pillow on her tummy. For three to five episodes. The [[PanickyExpectantFather man panics]], and the woman is rushed off to hair and makeup, so she can look fresh as a daisy. And voila -- four-month-old newborns!
* Not shown on camera, but a ''LawAndOrder'' about infanticidal teen parents averted the sanitized-birth elements of this trope, citing as evidence the gory mess (blood, amniotic fluid, infant feces) which the birth made of a hotel room.
* Averted in ''Series/TheXFiles'' episode "Existence." Baby William is played by Jerry Shiban, the newborn son of one of the producers of the show. He was only about two weeks old when the episode was filmed. Creepily enough, he ''does'' look like he could be Mulder and Scully's child.
* One ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' skit has the newborn baby played by Creator/WillFerrell.
* The first-season episode "Brief Candle" of ''Series/StargateSG1'' has a suspiciously large newborn. However, RapidAging is central to the plot.
* In the fifth season premiere of ''Series/StargateAtlantis'', the baby used to portray Teyla's newborn is about two weeks old. The commentary notes that they were counting down when the actual expectant mother would have her baby since it had to be at least 14 days old before they could use it in the scene.
* Little baby Jake in the ''Series/SesameStreet'' spin off, ''Sesame English'' (which teaches English to foreigners, starting with Taiwanese and Chinese), is portrayed by RogerBart (who was 37 at the time of first airing) of all people.
* Quite neatly averted in the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "A Good Man Goes To War". Although it's the first time we see the baby, the previous episode ended just before the birth, and the opening scene appears at first to be just-post-birth, a throwaway line of dialogue near the beginning of the episode establishes that it's been a month since the baby was actually born, accounting for this trope.
* Averted in ''Series/CallTheMidwife'', where nearly all of the babies that appear are actual newborns (with the exception of the birth scenes, which substitute a model). They can do this because both consultant midwife Terri Coates and the baby's mum are always just off-camera.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Averted in the Creator/TomClancy novel ''[[Literature/JackRyan The Bear and the Dragon]]'', where President Ryan allowed the press to briefly film his newborn fourth child shortly after his birth.
* Inverted in the ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'', Bothari tries to pass the newborn Ivan Vorpatril as being a few months old, but the person he's trying to fool quickly figures out that the boy's stated age would be correct if he changed 'weeks' to 'hours'.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Magazines]]
* ''TheOnion'' satirized this with one of its headlines: "Woman on TV gives birth to four month old baby".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Stand-Up Comedy]]
* On one of his comedy albums, Creator/BillCosby describes how unprepared he was for his newborn's appearance:
-->"...As they started to clean it off... I went over to my wife, kissed her gently on the lips, and said, 'Darling, I love you very much. You just gave birth to a lizard.'"
** Ironically, when he got [[TheCosbyShow his own sitcom]] in the Eighties, he played an obstetrician.
** RobinWilliams, in his concert at the Metropolitan Opera House, refers to his newborn son as "a little old man, dipped in 40-weight" (presumably, 40-weight motor oil).
* Swedish comedian Jan Bylund about when his daughter was born:
-->So I called him right away and said "You're a grandfather!", and my dad asked [[StrongFamilyResemblance "Who does she look like?!"]] Twenty minutes after a child has been born, you should not answer that question honestly, I tell you. "Who does she look like?!" Yeah, well... [[Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial E.T.]], except blue.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Played with in ''VideoGame/BeyondTwoSouls''. In the "Homeless" chapter, Jodie helps a woman give birth, and part of the mission involves cutting the newborn's umbilical cord. The baby, however, is otherwise completely clean.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In ''Webcomic/BlueYonder'', while his father is still pushing his mother about in a wheelchair after his birth, [[http://www.blueyondercomic.net/comics/1729438/blue-yonder-chapter-3-page-one/ Jared can sit up unaided.]] May be a moot point since he can also fly.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other]]
* Quite common in paintings depicting Jesus's birth.
** This was taken to extremes in Medieval paintings, where ''all'' babies looked like miniature adults instead of like actual children.
* A SoBadItsGood birther video purporting to be proof that BarackObama was born in Kenya featured, among its many errors, a newborn that appeared to be six months old.
* Guinea pig pups are born fully furred, with open eyes, running around. They are essentially born as three month old newborns.
** Same thing goes for hares, as well a any other animal that stand and walk soon after birth.
* A bizarre case overlapping with real life that also showed RealityIsUnrealistic in 2004 when Bobbie Jo Stinnett was murdered by Lisa L. Montgomery and had [[TraumaticCSection her baby crudely cut from her womb]], with Montgomery claiming the baby was hers and taking her home. When investigators arrived at Montgomery's home and saw the infant they noticed that the day old baby's head was round and not conical, which was an indication that the child had not been delivered vaginally as Montgomery claimed.
* Anatomy texts depicting childbirth show the infant in correct proportion, but generally omit the blood, fragments of amniotic sac, and other messy elements because it would obscure details in the illustration.
[[/folder]]

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