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Circumcision/Uncircumcised Care

How to provide care after a circumcision:

Circumcisions performed by a qualified physician rarely have complications. Problems that occur are usually not serious. The most common complications are bleeding and infection. Proper care after circumcision helps reduce the chances of problems.

Your baby's physician will give you specific instructions on the care of the circumcision. It is important that you keep the area clean. After the procedure:

  • There may be a gauze dressing with petroleum jelly or an antibiotic cream. This may be removed at the first diaper change. Your baby's physician may recommend applying a new dressing.
  • The head of the penis may be very raw and red looking.
  • There may be a small amount of blood at first or yellow-colored drainage later. These are part of normal healing.
  • Your baby may have some discomfort with diaper changes the first few days.
  • Keep the penis clean with soap and water.
  • Circumcisions usually heal within one to two weeks.

Your baby may be fussy after circumcision. Cuddling him close and breastfeeding can help comfort him. Most boys do not require special care of the penis after the circumcision is healed.

How to provide care to the uncircumcised penis:

A newborn boy normally has foreskin tightly fitted over the head of the penis. As long as the baby is able to pass urine through the opening, this is not a problem. It is not necessary to clean inside the foreskin, only the outside, as part of a normal bath.

As the baby grows, the foreskin becomes looser and is able to be retracted (moved back). This may take many weeks or months. Do not retract the foreskin on your baby boy. Your baby's physician will check this as part of your baby's checkups and will show you how to retract the foreskin. This allows cleansing of the area. As a boy grows, he should be taught how to retract the foreskin and clean himself. The foreskin should never be retracted forcibly. Do not allow the foreskin to stay retracted for long periods as this may shut off the blood supply causing pain and possible injury.

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