Properly Caring for Your Baby After a Circumcision

Hispanic woman holding hands of baby boy.
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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.

Plastibell Circumcision

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

  • 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.
  • 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 from eight days to two weeks or if it has slipped down the shaft and seems to be constricting it.
  • Don't use diaper wipes as they may sting. Only use water, and be gentle.
  • 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.
  • Only give sponge baths to your baby for the first week.
  • 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.
  • The plastibell ring will fall off by itself in five to eight days.

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

  • Bleeding (other than just a drop or two)
  • Consistent redness that appears suddenly and does not disappear after a few days
  • Dark or black discoloration
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Fever
  • Foul smelling discharge
  • Skin adhering to the glans which causes penile adhesion and could require surgery
  • Swelling
  • Your baby hasn't urinated for 24 hours after the circumcision
1 Source
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  1. KidsHealth. Surgeries and Procedures: Circumcision.

By Stephanie Brown
Stephanie Brown is a parenting writer with experience in the Head Start program and in NAEYC accredited child care centers.