Mums with Daughters, How is Your Girl Washed? Learn from my Experience

Mums with Daughters, How is Your Girl Washed? Learn from my Experience


For many working moms, many delegate some responsibilities to their housegirls. A Mummy Tales reader inboxed me with an experience she recently went through with this regard, and requested if I could share it with other readers. So here goes:

“The other day while at chama with the gals, we got talking and I learnt something that has totally opened my eyes to something I wasn’t aware of.

For a while, my 4 year-old daughter had been complaining of pain when urinating. I had taken her to hospital many times, and each time she was tested for a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), the results always came out negative. So at chama, when one of my pals mentioned the practice of douching, a practice common among some communities in one of the neighboring countries (where I am currently based), I put two and two together and got a ‘light bulb moment’.

(Douching is washing or cleaning the vagina with water or other mixtures of fluids. Women who douche say they do this to keep themselves fresh, get rid of vaginal odour, rinse away menstrual blood, prevent pregnancy after having sex, and also to avoid STI’s. Douching is not recommended by health experts).

I relocated to this neighboring country 3 years ago with my family, and I have had quite a turnover of housegirls. Most of these housegirls come from a culture where douching is common.

So when I got home after chama, I called my daughter aside and asked her to tell me how the current housegirl washes her. She told me: “she uses her fingers to wash me inside here” (pointing at her vagina). You can only imagine how mad I was and the grief I felt upon hearing that. I was crushed. I could not believe that all this had been happening to my daughter yet I had no idea. How could I not have known? I felt so guilty.

When I asked my daughter why she didn’t tell me earlier on what was happening, she innocently told me that she didn’t know it was wrong.

I feel so responsible. I don’t blame the house girls because I later on discovered that they were brought up washing their vagina’s that way, so for them that’s the only way they know how to clean themselves. It’s part of their culture so they had no malice when ‘cleaning’ my daughter.

Had I known before, I would have instructed them on how to bath my daughter immediately I hired them. Now I know better and will always ensure that I take time to show every new house girl how I want my daughter to be bathed. I will also question them on the douching aspect before I employ them.

The reason I’m sharing my experience is so that other moms with daughters can learn from me, especially those with house helps who are of different communities from their own. Our cultures as Kenyans, as East Africans differ, and it’s best never to assume that what you do/don’t do is what someone else does/doesn’t do. I have learnt the hard way.”

That is this mum’s story. Very hard-hitting I must say. I hope it helps another parent out there. -Maryanne. 





  1. OMG this just scared a mother to a new born (15weeks) babygirl and ive been struggling to teach my househelp how to clean her genitalia due to nappy baby got a fungal infection a while back and my paed advised that i should teach my help how to clean her and anyone else who takes care of her,because sometimes if the nanny wipes her poop upwards instead of downwards the poop can cause her to have an infection.being a mother to an older male child,i had to learn the hard way.sadly.

  2. Goodness, thank you for sharing this. I’m not a mother yet but for sure I have learnt a great lesson. PS. Maryanne I enjoy reading your posts, very informative.

  3. An eye opener.Some one told me once when it comes to housegirls and babies dont assume. Like one has to teach them that which seems obvious.Had a hilarious experience last year.I was living in of the African countries and got a househelp from one of the neighbouring countries.I asked her whether she knew how to bath babies and she responded yes.So i asked her to give my son who was 20 months then, a bath. OMG ! She undressed him an off to the bathroom she went .No soap! No hot water in the baby basin! Your guess is as good as mine a cold bath under the tap!

  4. How about not letting your housegirl wash your children at all. My friend and her sister are both very busy bankers but the one thing they both do is to wash their children from birth and when the child starts talking he/she is made aware that the househelp is not supposed to wash them.

  5. Mums its always good when u wash your baby it really helps one to know if your baby is okay in the private parts but if we leave our house helps to wash our babies then how will you ever know if your child is handled in the right way.It is also a time when you bond with your child so mums lets take time and be the ones who wash our kids I know we are very busy but seriously we can get some time for our kids.

  6. Oh dear pole for that experience, and it’s sure good to teach our babies’ handlers on how we want them washed. Imagine even me I’ve learnt alot from this mom’s experience. Never to assume anything.

  7. Thanks Gatuiri for the warm comment. Through this blog I’ve learnt alot from other moms too. It’s all about educating each other as we can’t know it all. Keep reading as you think about becoming a mom someday :)

  8. Ohh at least Lucy Anne I see you orient your housegirls well. We’re all learning here…. key word being never to assume. Thanks. ION, how’s your newbie doing?

  9. Milka I agree with you. I have a 27 month old daughter and I’m the only one who has bathed her since she was born apart from a few times when I have allowed my husband to do it.

    Not only is it bonding time for mom and baby, you also get to examine your baby for bruises and the like.

    It takes less than 30 minutes!!!