If you choose to have your newborn son circumcised, the procedure is fairly simple and quick, taking just a few minutes to complete. It is usually performed before the baby is discharged from the hospital; however, it is considered surgery and is painful, so preemies, jaundiced babies, or other at-risk newborns should not be circumcised until they have recovered and are healthy.
To reduce pain during the circumcision, the doctor will probably place a numbing cream on your baby's penis about an hour before the procedure, and then inject a local anesthetic at the base of the penis just before the circumcision. He or she will then clean the penis and foreskin, attach a clamp to the penis, and remove the foreskin with a scalpel.
After the circumcision, don't be surprised if your baby is fussy and doesn't eat well. To comfort him, hold and nurse him as often as he will take it. His normal eating patterns and behavior should resume in about a day.
The circumcision area will be swollen and sore for the first 48 hours, and will scab over shortly thereafter. The swelling, soreness, and scab should all resolve in about a week. If doctors have dressed the penis in gauze, apply a new bandage each time you change his diaper, coating the gauze with petroleum jelly to keep it from sticking. Some doctors apply a plastic ring instead of a bandage and this will drop off by itself within five to eight days.
Circumcision sites rarely become infected; however, contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:
- The entire penis is red, warm, and swollen, or if the surgical site is producing pus.
- If you notice extensive bruising or swelling around the anesthesia injection sites.
- You see more than a few drops of blood at any time during the healing process.
- Your baby develops a fever (101 degrees F or higher).
- Your baby is vomiting or otherwise appears to be sick, or if he has problems urinating.
Improper care of a circumcision site can lead to infection and penile adhesions, so make sure you understand your doctor's instructions for care.
Keep the area as clean and dry as possible. After your baby has a bowel
movement, gently rinse the circumcision area with warm (not hot) running water.
It is best to wait until the wound has healed (seven to ten days) before touching it or using a wash cloth or baby wipes.
Wash your hands before and after you change the bandage to keep the site clean and prevent infection.
Once the circumcision is healed - usually within two weeks - you can give your baby a tub bath. During each bath thereafter, pull back the remaining foreskin and clean the area.