Congratulations on the birth of your baby girl!  Part of taking care of her will involve cleaning her genitals.

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One of the things you will notice about your baby’s genitalia at birth is some swelling, which is perfectly normal. The outer lips of the vagina may look puffy, while the skin may either be smooth or a bit wrinkled. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Vaginal discharge

Vaginal discharge is also common. The discharge may be clear, whitish or even blood tinged and this is due to the effect of maternal hormones. This will clear up on their own after a few weeks so don’t try to get rid of it. However, if it doesn’t clear up after a few weeks and it’s accompanied by foul smell, contact your pediatrician.

Since you baby’s genital area is very delicate, clean with care. In the first couple of weeks, wash this area using clean water and a cotton wool or soft cloth. You can also use fragrance free baby wipes.

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Front to back rule

The most important rule in cleaning your baby girl’s genitalia is the front to back rule. Always wipe her diaper area from front to back, away from her vagina and urethra to avoid infection.

When it comes to drying the diaper area, gently pat her dry instead of scrubbing.

In case you notice poo has gotten inside your girl’s vagina, you should:

  • With clean hands, gently separate your baby’s vaginal lips
  • Gently clean the area from front to back, down the middle using a clean, damp cloth, fragrance-free baby wipe or moist cotton wool.

Remember, your baby’s vagina is self-cleaning so unless you are dealing with poo in the labia, it will secrete out most of what doesn’t belong in there.