There is so much information out there about your newborn; sleeping, eating, bonding, peeing, pooping, and much more.
What seems to be lacking, however, is information about what else is contained in your child’s diaper. Parents should be aware of several things about their newborn’s genitals, both boys and girls.
Circumcision Care for Newborn Boys
The decision to circumcise your newborn boy may be based on your religion or culture, societal norms, or health concerns. The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees that there are health benefits to circumcision, but hesitates about recommending it as a routine, standard procedure.
Research suggests boys who are circumcised have a lower risk of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases.
If you make the decision to have your son circumcised, it should be done as soon as possible. Some of the foreskin that covers the penis will be removed, exposing the glans and urethra opening. The procedure is very quick and a local anesthetic will be applied to minimize pain.
After the procedure, you may notice the penis is raw-looking or yellowish. At each diaper change, apply a liberal amount of petroleum jelly to the penis to prevent sticking to the diaper as it heals. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after each diaper change.
Your son’s penis should heal quickly. If it has not healed within 10 days of the procedure, if you see any new bleeding or increased redness at any time, or if you still see a yellowish discharge after 7 days, call our offices.
Your son’s foreskin will eventually naturally retract from the tip of his penis, but there is no exact timetable for this. It could occur before your child turns two, or it might not happen until puberty. Do not force this retraction as it can cause tears in the foreskin, bleeding, and severe pain.
As the foreskin and penis separate, you may see white, pearly lumps under the foreskin. This is dead skin cells shedding and completely normal.
Until the foreskin retracts, keep the outside of the penis clean. As the foreskin retracts, it is important to clean under it regularly. Teach your son how to gently pull back the foreskin, wash the area underneath with mild soap and warm water, and then pull the foreskin back over the penis. This hygiene is especially important to perform daily – just like brushing his teeth – once he begins puberty and every day thereafter.
Your Newborn Daughter’s Care
Seeing blood in your newborn girl’s diaper can be upsetting until you know that this discharge, along with any thick, milky substance is perfectly normal.
About 2 to 3 days after birth, a tiny menstrual period may appear, due to your daughter’s withdrawal from the hormones she was exposed to while in utero. Her labia major and clitoris (the areas outside of her vagina) may also be swollen and enlarged from the hormone exposure.
Avoid using soap, lotions, ointments, or powders on your daughter’s genitals. Use warm water only and wipe any bowel movements away from her vagina. Gently wash the creases in her labia and understand that she has a natural cleaning system for the inside of her vagina.
If the bleeding persists for more than a day or two, or if there is any foul odor from the discharge, call your pediatrician for an appointment.