Once a baby is circumcised, there are certain measures that should be taken to ensure that the circumcision wound – which needs around 10 days to heal – doesn’t become infected. Below are guidelines to help you care for your baby’s circumcised penis and speed up your little one’s recovery. You will also learn what symptoms to watch out for to recognize when medical attention is needed.
Caring for the Circumcision Wound
During the first week after your baby’s circumcision, you’ll need to follow certain steps to prevent the infection of your baby’s wound and speed up the healing of the circumcised area, and these steps include:
• Alleviating Discomfort: Your child might become fussy after the anesthetic wears off on the first day, as the tip of a circumcised penis will be sore. Apply a small icepack to the tip of your baby’s penis to decrease bleeding, reduce swelling, and ease the baby’s discomfort. This should be done during the first 24-36 hours, and based on your pediatrician’s recommendation. To avoid distressing your baby, hold him gently and avoid placing pressure on the penis. Always loosely fasten your baby’s diaper until the wound is healed. Nursing the baby often, holding him, and sleeping with him can comfort your baby if he is in pain. Your pediatrician might prescribe pain medication for the infant, but it is never 100% effective.
• Avoiding Wound Contamination: Throughout the first four days after your baby’s circumcision, make sure to wash your hands properly with soap before and after you change your baby’s diapers to reduce the risk of transferring bacteria to your baby while cleaning him and changing his wound’s dressing. Be sure to clean the circumcised penis with water during the first 3-4 days, and you should change the wound dressing every time you change your baby’s diaper.
• Washing: When changing your baby’s diaper, it’s best to clean the circumcised penis by gently rinsing it under warm running water during the first week until it is healed, then you can resort to using a wash cloth or gentle Fine Baby® wipes to clean your baby’s penis. After the circumcision wound is fully healed (which should take around 7-10 days), you can use water and gentle soap to wash your baby’s penis.
• Wound Dressing: When changing your baby’s diapers and after you’ve cleaned the penis, apply a generous amount of petroleum jelly onto a fresh gauze pad to stop it from sticking to the wound and then place the gauze over the tip of your baby’s penis like a tent before putting on your baby’s clean Fine Baby® diaper. Discuss with your pediatrician whether you should use a particular medical ointment instead of the petroleum jelly. You won’t need to use gauze if your baby has a plastic ring around the circumcised area, and the plastic ring should fall off on its own within a week once the wound is healed.
When to Call the Doctor
Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t eagerly feed right after the circumcision operation, as some infants need a couple of days to recover their appetite. It’s also alright if your baby sleeps more than usual right after his circumcision, as this will be his body’s way of recovering. If, however, you feel that your baby’s sleeping pattern is abnormal, discuss the matter with your doctor. You also needn’t worry if you see a yellowish crust around the tip of your baby’s penis, as this is a normal part of the healing process and the crust will fall off on its own once it dries up. Slight bleeding during the first two days is also normal.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, however, call your doctor immediately:
• The wound does not stop bleeding
• Your baby doesn’t begin to urinate normally within 12 hours of the operation
• There is a persistent redness around the tip of the penis
• The tip of the penis yields a foul-smelling discharge
• There are fluid-filled crusted sores on the tip of the penis
• The plastic ring does not fall off after 8 days of the circumcision, or if it slips back onto the shaft and causes swelling
• There are signs of infection, such as the development of a fever or the swelling or oozing of the wound
• The urinary opening isn’t positioned at the tip of the glans, or the urine is coming out of another opening in the penis
• If there seems to be bruising or swelling around the sites where the anesthetic needle was injected