Caring for Your Baby's Circumcision

Aug 08, 2023
Caring for Your Baby's Circumcision
An infant creates a whole new set of responsibilities, including care following your baby boy’s circumcision. Our team details what to expect during healing and tips for keeping the site clean, dry, and infection-free.

Circumcision is a minor surgical procedure involving the removal of the foreskin from the penis of a newborn baby boy.

The surgery is often performed in the hospital nursery within 2-3 days of birth. However, circumcision may be postponed for several days if your baby is born prematurely or for cultural or religious reasons.

Pediatrician Dr. Phani Bodavula and our team at Garland Pediatric Practice in Garland, Texas, provide outstanding pediatric services and supportive resources for children and their parents from birth through adolescence.

We’re happy to offer insight and tips for caring for your baby’s circumcision.

Circumcision basics

Circumcision generally takes about 10 minutes, during which the foreskin is surgically removed, exposing the tip of the penis. Topical anesthetic prevents discomfort during the procedure.

Healing usually occurs over 7-10 days. Initially, the tip of the penis may appear red and swollen or bruised. You may also notice a small amount of yellowish discoloration or fluid at the tip. That’s called granulation tissue, a normal part of the healing process.

However, increasing redness, swelling, or drainage could indicate a building infection and require urgent medical attention.

Tips for caring for the circumcision site

1. Keep the area clean

Keeping the circumcision site clean is crucial to preventing infection and encouraging healing. Dr. Bodavula recommends cleaning the area gently with warm water after each diaper change for several days. 

Avoid using soap initially to prevent irritation. After healing, you can wash and dry generally during baths.

2. Change diapers regularly

Frequent diaper changes prevent urine and feces from coming into contact with the circumcision site, potentially causing increasing irritation and infection. Make sure to clean and dry the area thoroughly each time you change the diaper.

3. Use petroleum jelly to protect the site

Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) to the tip of the penis can reduce irritation caused by a diaper rubbing against the circumcision site. Apply the jelly after every diaper change and bath until the penis has completely healed.

4. Monitor carefully for signs of infection

Infections are uncommon, but watching for signs indicating a problem is essential. Remember that infections can quickly become life-threatening in newborns.

If you notice persistent bleeding, redness that spreads beyond the head of the penis, foul-smelling discharge, or fever, or if your baby is unusually fussy or doesn't urinate normally, seek medical care as soon as possible.

5. Manage discomfort

Circumcision can cause mild discomfort in the first few days following the procedure. Dr. Bodavula might recommend a mild, over-the-counter pain reliever to help.

However, remember that most discomfort can be soothed with simple measures like swaddling your baby or distracting him with gentle movements or sounds.

6. Reach out

We encourage our parents to reach out whenever they’re concerned about their children’s health. Don’t hesitate to call our office if you have questions about circumcision or other aspects of newborn care.

Caring for your baby after circumcision may feel a bit daunting initially. However, most babies tolerate the procedure quite well and heal quickly before moving on to rolling over, crawling, walking, and running.

For outstanding pediatric care, schedule a visit at Garland Pediatric Practice today. Call the office or request an appointment online.