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Why Is Baby Grabbing Private Parts?

by Worried

My 12-month-old keeps grabbing/scratching at her vagina all the time; before just at a diaper change but now she is trying to do it any chance she can get to it.

At diaper change it is so hard to keep her hands away from it that I have to sometimes get my 8 yr old to hold her hands. She has been doing this for about 3 months.

Is this normal?

Baby Help Line:

Baby’s Habit To Touch Private Parts

Your question made me smile as my youngest son is 19 months and he STILL grabs at his ‘bits and bobs’ at every available opportunity! My theory is simply this – at this age, that area is normally concealed under the diaper. When you remove the diaper, the area feels cool… and free! Your baby is then drawn to explore a part of her body that she doesn’t usually have access to, in the same way that she once played with her feet when she first discovered them.

If your little one is showing any sign of distress or discomfort (in other words, you feel that she might be grabbing at this area because something is irritating her), then check with your doctor to make sure there is no underlying medical cause.

Otherwise, I’d put it down to typical baby behavior and wait for it to pass so you can change her diapers in peace! It is a common behavior and completely normal. You can read about another baby touching the genital area here.

I hope this helps 🙂



Aug 27, 2013

dont use diapers all times
by: Anonymous

Using diapers all the time will make the baby uncomfirtable and prone to itching… just imagine how you feel during ur periods while in pads all the time!!! and if the baby has to undergo it daily!!!!

put diapers only when you go out. start using under wears while at home and train ur kid to say about pissing or pooping.. my son is 2.5 years now. from his birth i use diapers only while taking him out and at home i wrap him in thick cloth and change it every time he pisses.. and after 6 months i started keeping him in toilet asking to piss once in 30 minutes so that he gets used to it and eventually when he started walking he started using his potty on his own whenevr he wants to piss or poop.. and completely stopped diapers even on a long journey when he was 1.5 yrs cuz he will surely tell me whenever he feels to piss os poop…

so best is to avoid diapers whenever you can…….

Mar 10, 2014

my 11 month old grabs private area as well
by: jamika

I was relieved to see that it was not just my daughter having this behavior and for about the same amount of months as this lady’s child, my concern however is that her labia I suppose you call it is swollen at times, but I’m a little concerned bc it seems as though when she comes from being with a particular person who vibes don’t rub me the right way, I’m not sure if I’m just being overly protective or if something is really going on. I always check to see how her private area looks before she leaves and once she returns and I noticed it was swollen, could this be from her having on a wet diaper too long? PLEASE HELP. thanks

Mar 11, 2014

Protecting your baby
by: Paula (Baby Help Line)

Hello Jamika,
Even if you are not saying it straight out, I get the feeling that you believe that this “particular person” may be abusing your baby. Am I correct? If I am, you may be in a tough situation depending on who this person is. If it is someone you can simply stop leaving your baby with, then do that immediately. Or at least make sure the person isn’t alone with your daughter. Your baby’s safety is far more important than the feelings of the adult in this case.

If you are separated and the particular person is the dad, who has the right to see his daughter, then it is a more difficult situation. I think there are a few things you should do immediately:
-Discuss with this person the fact that she is swollen and ask the person to change diapers more often. (Wet diapers can certainly be the reason.)
-Contact a support group in your area or country. In the US and Canada, there is a helpline available free of charge and anonymously 24/7, where you can get help. Their website is Childhelp.org and the toll free number to call is 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). They can also help guiding you regarding next steps to take.
-Take your daughter to the doctor to check for fungus or other reasons for the swollen labia. You should know, however, that if you discuss abuse with the doctor, he/she has a duty of care to report it, so you need to be pretty sure of the abuse in such case, otherwise the whole situation can really spin out of control.

If you do seriously believe that your baby has been abused, you need to take action, regardless of who is the abusing person. Depending on who it is, it will be a tough time for you, so keep hold of all happy times with your daughter. Also remember that abused children can get traumatized as much by the reactions of family as they do from any abuse, so surround your daughter with love and keep her routines as normal as possible.

A last note (but an important one). The swollen labia may very well have absolutely nothing to do with abuse. It could be the diapers or possibly her scratching away. Look for other signs of abuse as well, such as pain, injuries or rashes. And remember to document everything.

I truly hope everything turns out to be worries for no reasons. Take care,

Mar 15, 2014

re: paula

by: Jamika

Thank you so very much, honestly you hit the nail right on the This feeling has been following me for a very long time and I have done all that I know to do including praying. I will call that support group and I too hope it is just something that was mis-read so to speak. I quess it bothered me bc this person would do and say things that seemed odd to me. Again I thank you for the information you’ve given me.

Mar 15, 2014

You’re welcome!

by: Paula

You’re welcome, Jamika, I am glad to be of help in your difficult situation.

Let’s hope and pray that it is all a chimera!


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