Your baby’s genital area is very soft and her skin is very delicate. You have to make sure that while cleaning such areas, you do not hurt the baby in any way. Cleaning the genital area is more important than bathing the child, because the baby’s poo and pee can dry on the skin and cause irritation.
As first-time parents, you might be anxious to get your baby’s genital cleaning right. Your anxiety is justified, for if not given proper care, infections and related health problems may develop around the genitalia. In addition, you need to be gentle and tender while handling your baby, ensuring she is not uncomfortable or getting hurt in the process of cleaning. Here are some tips you would do well to remember, which will hold you in good stead when you take care of your baby.
Change the baby’s nappy as soon as it gets dirty. You need to clean the area with a wet soft cloth or wet cotton ball; you may add a mild baby cleanser to make sure it gets cleaned properly. You can also use baby wipes which do not have any fragrance or alcohol, so that they do not irritate the baby’s delicate skin. Leave the baby nappy-free for some time, as this will help her skin breathe better and dry on its own too. Do not tie the nappy or the diaper too tight, because doing so will cause irritation to the baby. In addition, the baby will be unable to communicate the discomfort. Use cloth nappies as much as you can or use a combination of both. Make sure the baby’s skin is perfectly dry before you put on another diaper. Genital care for boys is different from girls just as their genital parts are. Here is a guide to help you with your baby.
Genital Care for Boys
For Circumcised Penis
Cleaning a circumcised penis is very simple. You just need to wash the penis well. Do not use any harsh soap as it may irritate the skin; you may use a mild cleanser. Gently wash the genitalia with your hands and pat dry. You may use baby powder to avoid sweating. You may use some cream or petroleum jelly on the nappy to avoid the penis sticking to his nappy. Use a nappy that allows air flow with ease.
For Non-circumcised Penis
You just need to clean the outside of the foreskin till the baby grows a little. The foreskin doesn’t loosen till the baby is around 2-3 years old. You may find a white substance (called smegma) that gathers under the foreskin, but there is nothing to worry about because it is made of natural secretions and dead skin. Gently wash the area with your hands and pat dry. Use baby powder to avoid sweating.
Genital Care for Girls
You need to wash her labia whenever she has a bath. Use a soft cotton ball to clean the area. Do not use any soap inside the vaginal skin as it may cause irritation and burning. Hold her legs little apart and clean from the inside to outside. This makes sure nothing goes inside her vagina or urinal tract.
You may see a clear, white or even bloody discharge but that is normal for a first few weeks, because your hormones are still running in her body. You may consult a doctor later, if the discharge doesn’t stop. Avoid using a talcum powder as well because it may irritate the vaginal skin, and it is also likely that the baby may inhale the talcum powder. Gently wash with your hands and pat dry. Use nappies that allow easy air flow.
Caring for the baby’s genitalia should be a part of your daily routine, because hardly do we realize but it can be the reason for various infections. With all these practices you can make sure that your baby is clean and happy.