Giving Your Baby a Bath After Circumcision

You may be a little nervous about caring for your newborn’s penis especially after circumcision. Regardless of whether it was done by a mohel as part of a religious ceremony or in the hospital, the healing process is more or less the same. The guidelines and advice on the post-procedure care will almost always vary when you throw specialists of all kinds into the mix. For this reason, whoever performs the procedure is the ideal person to guide you through your baby's follow-up process. The penis isn't nearly as fragile as it may seem and circumcision isn't exactly as traumatic as you can imagine. It is just a simple procedure meant to remove the foreskin, usually done within two or three days of birth. Activities for newborns are never restricted as they do not really have much to do at this stage of their life. 

However, for toddlers, normal quiet activities such as going outside, walking and climbing stairs should always be supervised. They should also be kept as far away as possible from rough play and straddle toys put out of sight for the first week since they can cause oozing from the incision, slowing down the healing process. Proper care can greatly reduce the risk of any complications, which is why you need to consider your baby's healing a very critical part of his life after the circumcision. The care process is fairly simple. It can take on average seven to ten days for your baby to completely heal from the procedure but for some, this period could be shorter. After all, each baby is designed in a different yet unique way. The response to the treatment will vary form one infant to the other. Outlined below are some useful tips for circumcision care after your baby's surgery.

Can You Give Your Baby a Bath After Circumcision

Giving Your Baby a Bath After Circumcision


Keep it Clean

This is the most sensitive rule for newborn circumcision care. With every diaper change, wipe away any bits of poop or urine that may be clinging to the area. Do this gently to keep your little one reassured and to avoid making the pain intense. Use gentle soap with minimal or no fragrance at all and warm water. Do not use a baby wipe as it could contain some harsh ingredients that could intensify the pain. Thoroughness and gentleness are the winning pairs so avoid any sort of overenthusiastic scrubbing and rubbing. As a means of guarding against irritation, allow the area to dry on its own. Sick with sponge baths until the baby's penis is completely healed and the umbilical cord falls off. You might want to avoid getting it wet in a bath before then although it will get when he pees that isn't something you need to worry about provided you give him regular diaper changes as is necessary.

Keep the Area Protected

After the surgery, a bandage with petroleum jelly or lubricant gauze might be placed on the little one’s penis but it usually falls off when he pees. There is no precise conviction on whether you should continue putting some kind of dressing over the healing penis or not. Pediatricians may not be clear on exactly what you need to do but it is advisable to go by your doctor’s preferences. If you are asked to, then the best thing to do is to apply a little petroleum jelly on the tip of your baby's wellie before putting a bandage on it or wrapping a little gauze so that the dressing does not stick to the baby's skin. 

In case your doctor’s inclination is not to use any sort of dressings, then the wise thing you’d be advised to do is dab on a little antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly during every diaper change for the first few days to keep the diaper from rubbing against your baby's circumcised penis. Don't use too much jelly as it has a high affinity for bacteria and other microorganisms. You can change the dressing every time you change the diaper until the baby is fully healed although even if you leave it in the open, it will heal just fine. Over the following days, your baby will heal from the surgery in stages and every child heals differently. It could even take a month for the penis to appear fully healed.

Try Keeping It Double-Diapered

Putting on two diapers will help cushion your baby's penis by keeping his thighs from pressing against it. This is optional but it significantly helps with the pain. Layering a Ziploc bag with ice between the two diapers also helps with the pain to a great extent. This is a very useful measure that will not only cut down on the amount of pain your baby could go through while trying to heal but also in speeding up the process. If you leave space for any sort of interference with the wound, it might take a little longer for you baby's penis to heal. An alternative would be keeping the diaper loose on your baby to limit the pressure applied to the wound and lessen the pain they are likely to experience.

Keep an Eye to Be Sure it is Healing Properly

#1 Check for Changes in Color

It shouldn’t be a cause for alarm if the tip your little boy's circumcised penis is reddish or purple in a way. This usually happens immediately after circumcision and the area may also be soft and glossy. This is a normal occurrence because the skin covering the glans of an uncircumcised penis is a mucous membrane. When exposed, the mucous membrane thickens and becomes darker. A yellowish fluid oozing from the area is also perfectly normal. This means that the body is sending some healing fluids towards the penile area to speed up the recovery process. The baby's glans is likely to give off yellowish or white patches in the first few days after surgery. This type of scab is also okay and the green or yellow-looking appearance of the skin is a sign of normal healing.

#2 Bleeding

Even a tiny bit of blood you may find in your baby's diaper is still fine. Within minutes or hours after surgery, the edges of the glans usually close up and the bleeding stops. This may even last an entire day so the bleeding is not exactly something to worry about. Blood staining is normal after circumcision. This is why your doctor will advise you to check the baby's diaper regularly for active bleeding. Normally, you will see relatively small spots of blood about an inch wide. If the bleeding is quite excessive, you can ease it by creating a ring around the top of the penis using your thumb and the index finger then squeezing it for five minutes before seeking medical advice.

#3 Swelling

Another great sign of healing that could startle you is a little swelling behind or beneath the head of the penis. It usually appears like a blister and will definitely disappear after a week or at most two. You can ease the swelling of the area behind the glans by pointing the penis up in his diaper. This will also relieve your baby of the pain they could be experiencing while peeing and would also speed up the recovery process at a greater scope.

#4 Change in Size

The baby's penis may appear relatively smaller in size after the surgery. This is mostly because the skin surrounding the area of the penis is relaxed when before circumcision it usually held the penis in place and kept it more erect.

However, there are a few symptoms, quite intense ones that could mean an infection or a serious problem. In case you notice any of the following symptoms, be sure to inform your pediatrician right away or rush your baby to the closest emergency department:

  • Persistent bleeding. This is defined by small pools of blood or spots larger than two inches in size in the baby's diaper.
  • A persistent redness, usually lasting more than five days after the circumcision and/or spreading towards the abdomen and the legs.
  • The yellowish discharge lasting longer than a week.
  • Fever or constant rise in temperature.
  • Swelling in the area.
  • Trouble while urinating, especially if he cries inconsolably when trying to pee and the diapers are a little less wet than normal.
  • The presence of crusty fluid filled sores.
  • Poor feeding or vomiting after feeding (shouldn’t be confused with spitting).

As soon as your baby has recovered fully and you're home with him, continue keeping his penis clean to avoid a recurrence of infections that may have existed earlier. Wipe away any stool that gets on it. In a few circumstances, a little foreskin is left behind after your baby's circumcision. If this is the case for your little one, all you need to do is pull the skin back gently and underneath it during his baths. Likewise, ensure you gently wipe the groove under the head of your baby's penis at diaper change intervals and in the tub. This will not only keep your baby clean, you might also be teaching him personal hygiene at an earlier stage in their life.

Post-Circumcision Care Tips for Newborns

After circumcision, your little boy should have a warm bath daily for the whole week. However, you could skip the full body bath for the first day, to give him a sponge bath but you can resume it on the second day onwards. For newborns, you might have to wait a little longer-at least two weeks after the umbilical cord falls off and as far as possible, try avoiding very warm water baths. Incision care is usually vouched by the lubricant gauze provided by the doctor. It can be left to fall off itself, normally after 24 hours or removed if instructed. If it does not fall off itself, you can let it soak in the bath then unravel the dressing completely as keeping it longer would cause microorganisms that may be harboring themselves within it multiply and lead to an infection. 

Through his baths, you will have a better follow up on the progress of his healing and will have a better chance of cleaning up the area around the penis. The discoloration of his skin should not worry you and so shouldn’t the drops of blood and pieces of skin at its tip. For the first two weeks of healing, gently push back the edges of the penile skin from the glans to prevent the skin from sticking to the glans as the healing progresses. It is also necessary to apply a tropical barrier ointment such as bacitracin or Vaseline on the end of the penis after every diaper change until complete recovery. This will prevent the dry edged of baby's skin from sticking to the diaper which could, in turn, make it painful during his diaper changes.

It is advisable to give pain relief if necessary as infants may be fussy and in pain for some hours after the circumcision procedure. This only lasts for a couple of days with signs such as crying and difficulty in sleeping and feeding being the most pronounce indicators that they are in pain. Acetaminophen, usually administered in the form of children’s Tylenol or Tylenol containing codeine elixir is the most recommended medication for the first 24 hours after circumcision that will help manage your little boy's pain. 

You will need to consult with your doctor or pediatrician to confirm the exact dosage your baby needs for the healing process before leaving the hospital. You may need to visit the clinic for a checkup for the baby as a follow-up procedure to be sure he’s healing properly. Alternatively, you could simply call your family doctor or pediatrician within a week of circumcision for clarity on how to go about it or call the urology center for the hospital your baby had the procedure at. Withal, ensure you take your son back to the hospital four weeks after circumcision for a post-operative visit to assert that he is good enough for normal infant care.

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