Inside the Diaper

Is This Normal? Answers to Questions About What's Inside the Diaper

There is a lot going on under that diaper. What you are seeing is probably normal, but quite different from what you would expect in a child or adult. So, please don't feel embarrassed to ask about your baby's genitals, poop or pee.

Normal Girl Genitals

Preterm Girls

When a baby girl js born at less than 38 weeks gestation, her inner labia are larger than the inner labia in a term baby. This is the effect of mom's pregnancy hormones. She is normal. Her genitals will look more like you think they should look in about three weeks.

Term Girls

When a baby girl is born at term her genitals look larger than you would expect because of the effect of mom's pregnancy hormones. The enlargement will go away in about three weeks.

Postterm Girls

When a baby girl is born after 41 weeks, her labia may be wrinkled and darker than you might expect. The difference is from the changes in mom's pregnancy hormones as her pregnancy goes past her due date. Don't worry, it is normal and you don't have to do anything about it.

Vaginal Mucous

You may see a stringy clear or whitish mucous coming from your newborn girl's vagina. Her tiny baby uterus and vagina are responding to all the pregnancy hormones that circulated through mom's body and baby's body until just before birth.

The mucous will come out in clumps for up to three weeks. You may also see some streaks of blood. The blood is also the response to mom's pregnancy hormones. The mucous and blood are normal.

Wiping Baby Girls' Vulvas

When you need to clean your baby girl's butt, separate the labia gently with the thumb and first finger of one hand. Use the other hand to hold the wipe. Wipe gently from front to back. Repeat the wiping as many times as you need to to clean completely between the inner labia.

Girls and women are prone to bladder infections because the passage from the outside to the bladder is very short. When we get a bladder infection it is bacteria from our poop that causes it. To help prevent bladder infections, you want to always wipe front to back.

Vernix

When you first wipe your baby girl, you will see some white cheesy looking stuff between her inner and outer labia. This is vernix. Babies' skin is covered with vernix when they are born. The vernix soaks into their skin in a few hours.

The nurses leave that vernix alone on purpose. It is protective. The white vernix will slowly dry up and come out on it's own. Just leave it there and don't worry about it. It is normal.

Why there are no photos in this section.

I am really sad and heartbroken about this. There used to be photos here, but after this website was up for a few months, I realized that some folks were only coming to this website to look at photos of babies' genitals. So I took the photos down. Please don't hesitate to ask the nurses or your doctor about your baby's genitals if you are wondering or concerned.

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Normal Boy Genitals

Parents are often surprised that their newborn boy has large genitals. His genitals are affected by mom's pregnancy hormones. The scrotum especially looks bigger than expected. The scrotum will decrease in size over the next several weeks and look more like you think it should.

When a boy is inside longer than term, he is exposed to mom's maternal hormones for a longer period of time. This causes his scrotum to enlarge even more, and even look baggy. He is normal. Don't worry. His scrotum will decrease in size over several weeks.

Sometimes the pee hole (meatus) isn't at the tip of the baby's penis. This is called hypospadias.

Why there are no photos in the above section:

I am really sad and heartbroken about this. There used to be photos here, but after this website was up for a few months, I realized that some folks were only coming to this website to look at photos of babies' genitals. So I took the photos down. Please don't hesitate to ask the nurses or your doctor about your baby's genitals if you are wondering or concerned.

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Poop

Meconium

The First Poop (Meconium)

The first bowel movement (poop, stool) that you see from your new baby will be black and sticky (meconium). Meconium looks and sticks like tar. If you need help figuring out how to clean meconium off of your baby's butt, don't worry. It stumps everybody at first.

Transition Stool

Poop Changes

After a day or two, the poop will turn green or brown. This is called a transitional stool.

Milk Stool

After few days more, the stools will be yellow. A breast fed baby will have stools that look like runny mustard. A bottle fed baby will have stools that look like thick mustard.

Poop Frequency

New babies may poop with every feeding — or they may go several days without pooping. No matter how often a new baby poops the stools should be very soft, even watery. They should be mash-potato-soft or softer.

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Pee (Urination)

Dry

We count everything in the hospital. The nurses will ask you when your new baby has peed and pooped. It is part of hospital routine. Peeing and pooping are also vital body functions. There are rare, but important conditions when a baby can't pee or poop. So, we need to know that your baby can do these two things before we can talk about you taking him home.

Wet

Modern diaper technology is pretty amazing. Diapers are so absorbent that it can be hard to know if your new baby has peed or not. The diapers used in the newborn nursery have a yellow stripe down the outside. When your baby pees the stripe turns green.

Oxalate Crystals

You may see something on your baby's diaper that looks like pink face powder. Sometimes parents think it could be blood. It is not blood. It is oxalate crystals.

The reason you are seeing oxalate crystals is that the diaper wetness barrier keeps them from passing through to the absorbent diaper layer. We all make oxalate crystals that come out in our urine. We don't see them if we don't wear diapers.

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Thanks to Janelle Aby MD, Stanford School Of Medicine, Newborn Nursery, and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital for the use of occasional photographs.