Newborn Circumcision Care


If you’ve chosen to have your baby boy circumcised, you’ll need to know how to care for his penis as it heals.

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin. After your infant is circumcised, he’ll either have an incision around the skin at the head of his penis, or a small device called a plastibell. It’ll take about 10 days for the incision to heal, and perhaps a little longer for the plastibell – a plastic ring – to fall off. Your baby’s penis might look sore or yellowish for the time it takes to heal: this is normal.

Clean the incision three or four times a day with warm water, to make sure urine or feces don’t cause infection. Your doctor may have given you something called a peri-bottle at the hospital when you gave birth (or your female partner will have it if she’s the one who gave birth to your baby). This bottle is used to squirt a gentle stream of warm water onto the vagina or perineum after birth, to clean sore or stitched areas without the use of possibly abrasive toilet paper. This peri-bottle is also useful for cleaning your baby’s recently circumcised penis. You don’t need to use soap. Since your baby has probably been circumcised in the first few days or weeks of life, he may also still have an umbilical stump. When you’re washing his penis, make sure to keep the umbilical stump from getting wet – it needs to dry out and fall off, so the bellybutton can form.

You’ll also want to put petroleum jelly on the circumcision incision, as it can dry and stick to baby’s diaper; when you change diapers, this could cause uncomfortable pulling on a scab, or removal of a scab that could cause bleeding. Don’t use petroleum jelly that contains perfumes or any other additives: it’s important to use pure petroleum jelly. Some doctors wrap the penis in gauze after circumcision, and provide fresh gauze for you to change each time you change a diaper: be sure to apply petroleum jelly on the penis before putting on fresh gauze, so that the gauze won’t stick to the incision.

Your doctor may tell you to put antibiotic ointment on the incision; follow the instructions that come with the ointment.

If baby’s penis is red and becomes more so within 3 to 5 days, see your doctor; this could be a sign of infection. If baby doesn’t pee normally within six to eight hours after circumcision, this is another cause for a medical checkup, as is persistent bleeding from the incision.



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