How Do I Care for My Baby After His Circumcision?

Baby in bath
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After your son's circumcision, there will be either a visible incision or a plastibell, which is a small plastic ring. Learn how to care for him when you bring him home.

Care After a Plastibell Circumcision

After a plastibell circumcision, a plastic rim is left on the penis while it heals for the first week.

  • The plastibell ring will fall off by itself in five to eight days.
  • For the first day, the penis is covered with a gauze dressing, which you should replace with each diaper change. You can expect your baby to urinate within 12 hours of the circumcision. Clean the site with warm water and a cotton ball once or twice a day.
  • Don't use diaper wipes as they may sting, only use water, and be gentle.
  • The head of the penis (glans) is likely to be red at first and swollen, It will develop a yellow coating (scab). A dark ring around the plastic rim is normal until the plastibell falls off.
  • After the first day, you don't need to use the gauze dressing. You can apply a lubricant to the penis after washing and cleaning the area with warm water. Do this for three to seven days to help keep the penis from sticking to the diaper.
  • Only give sponge baths to your baby for the first week.
  • Be sure not to pull on the plastibell as it can cause soreness and bleeding.
  • Call your doctor if the plastibell hasn't fallen off by eight days to two weeks or if it has slipped down the shaft and seems to be constricting it.

Care After A Gomco or Sheldon Clamp Circumcision

Three or four times a day, you will need to clean the area with warm water.

Soap is not necessary. If you were given a peri-bottle at the hospital this is an excellent way to apply the water. Try to avoid getting the umbilical stump wet while cleaning.

At each diaper change, you will want to apply a small amount of petroleum jelly. Make sure that the petroleum jelly is pure, without perfumes or other additives.

If your doctor sent you home with an antibiotic ointment you will want to use this as directed.

It takes about 10 days for the scab over an incision to fall off. After the scab or plastibell falls off, no further care is needed outside of normal good hygiene

When to Contact Your Doctor

You will also want to call your health care provider if you notice any of the following:

  • Your baby hasn't urinated for 24 hours after the circumcision
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding (other than just a drop or two)
  • Foul smelling discharge
  • Difficulty urinating, or less than six wet diapers in a 24-hour period
  • Fever
  • Black or blue discoloration
  • Consistent redness that appears suddenly and does not disappear after a few days

Sources:

Care of the Circumcised Penis. Sutter Health CPMC. http://www.cpmc.org/services/pregnancy/information/circumcised_care.html

Circumcision—After-Care for the Plastibell Method. Bayside Medical Group. http://baysidemedical.com/downloads/BMG_PCHA_Circumcision_FN-5-21-13.pdf.

Patient education: Circumcision in baby boys (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/circumcision-in-baby-boys-beyond-the-basics?view=print.

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