Partners & Parents

Genital Hygiene for Your Newborn & Toddler

19 November, 2018 | DD Staff
  • Genital Hygiene for Your Newborn & Toddler

You’ve learnt how to change a diaper, the signs of a diaper rash and the dos and don’ts of bath time.

It is equally important to learn how to keep your baby’s genitals clean and avoid infections through good hygiene. Remember that your baby boy’s penis and baby girl’s vagina are very sensitive, and you need to be careful during baths and diaper changes.

Daddy’s Digest has put together a few need to know pointers for all new fathers.

1. You don’t need to use soap to clean your baby’s genitals. Warm water (not hot) and a cotton pad are fine for the first two weeks. If you use baby wipes, they must be fragrance-free and alcohol-free.

2. When you start using a soap, it should have a built-in moisturizer and must be used sparingly. Always make sure the soap is completely washed off.

3. Test the liquid cleanser and/or wipes on a small area of their skin first to make sure they aren’t allergic. Avoid using talcum powder anywhere on your baby including their genitals.

4. If your baby has a poo soiled diaper prior before bath time, make sure you clean their genitals and bottom before putting them in the tub/bath water.

5. Always wash your hands before and after cleaning their genitals.

For a baby girl:

  • Your baby girl might have a discharge that resembles an egg white. This doesn’t need to be cleaned away as it is normal. Consult with a doctor if you are concerned or unsure about any kind of vaginal discharge.
  • To avoid bacteria from transferring from their bottom and causing an infection, always wipe from front to back (away from the vagina, towards the bottom).
  • To clean your baby’s vagina, hold her legs apart and gently separate her vaginal lips. Wipe between the labia with a wet cotton ball (from front to back). Once you are done, lightly pat the area dry with a soft cloth.

For a baby boy:

  • To clean your son’s genitals, gently wash his penis and scrotum with warm water and a cotton ball or with a baby wipe. 
  • If he is uncircumcised, only clean the outside of the foreskin. Never force the foreskin back and only clean the inside when it can pull back on its own (usually age 2-3, but sometimes after puberty).
  • You may notice a milky white substance (smegma) under the foreskin. It is normal and forms from dead skin cells and natural secretions.

Our guide outlines the facts based on research from several online and offline resources. If you are in doubt or worried about your child’s health and/or safety for any reason, consult with a qualified medical care professional or doctor immediately.

Related articles:

Benefits of Reading to Your Child

Talking to Your Baby - The Why & How

Baby's First Year Feeding Guide

The Importance of Make-Believe Play

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