Newborn facts: Genitals
12:39 (GMT+2), Wed, 20 July 2011
The genitals of both baby boys and girls are usually swollen at birth and can be quite distended. This is from exposure to the mother's hormones during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, and may also be partially due to pressure from the birth process. The swelling subsides within a few weeks, so do not be concerned.
Little boys' foreskins are firmly attached to the penis and should not be retracted for cleaning. The foreskin will only loosen from between 2 and 4 years, at which stage your baby should be shown how to retract and clean underneath the glans (head of the penis) to prevent infection. It used to be believed that forcing the foreskin back in babies was necessary, but this will only cause tearing and pain in uncircumcised boys. If you notice swelling and redness around the glans and urine accumulates in a balloon under the foreskin because it is too tight, surgical intervention might be necessary, but otherwise it is best left alone.
Little girls' labia (the lips around the vagina) need to be gently spread when cleaning during a nappy change, as traces of stool readily accumulate there and could cause infection. Initially, you might notice a vaginal discharge of mucus and blood that spots the nappy. This is no cause for concern but simply a reaction to your hormones from the time in the womb, and will soon pass.
By Sister Lilian
Newborn facts: Nailssister lilian, baby, fontanelle, soft spot, breastfeed, cradle cap, milia, stool