Your newborn girl's genitals have been exposed to many hormones in the uterus. Among other things, these hormones may have:
- Made the outside of the vagina ("labia majora" and the "clitoris") a little swollen and prominent
- Caused a thick, milky discharge in the vagina
Most dramatically, at 2 or 3 days of age, your daughter may have a little bit of bleeding from her vagina. This is perfectly normal; it is caused by the withdrawal of the hormones she was exposed to in the womb. It will be her first and last menstrual period for another decade or so.
Caring for Your Baby Girl's Genitals
Clean your daughter's genitals as you would any other part of her body. Spread the labia and gently wash out the creases; there is no need to go any deeper. Nature takes care of naturally cleaning the inside of the vagina. Use warm water only -- there's no need for soaps. Wipe from front to back to avoid contamination of the vaginal area from stool. Remember, this sensitive tissue is the same as that inside the mouth.
When to Worry About Your Newborn's Genitals
Contact your pediatric provider if you smell a foul odor from the discharge, which could indicate infection. And profuse bleeding or bleeding that doesn't fade after a few days may also need medical attention.