Bathing a Circumcised Newborn

by Kathryn Hatter

    A baby boy's circumcision usually occurs within 10 days -- often within the first 48 hours -- of birth, either in the hospital or at home during a religious ritual. Although circumcision is a routine surgical procedure, you will need to care for the incision site properly to ensure that it heals correctly. Bathing your baby boy requires attention to detail after the circumcision.

    Normal Healing

    Following the circumcision, the tip of the penis will appear red and raw, notes the Sutter Health website. Gradually over the next day or two, the end of the penis will develop a yellow crust, which indicates healthy healing. If your baby’s circumcision involved a clamp, the physician placed petroleum jelly and sterile gauze on the healing tip to prevent it from sticking to the diaper. It’s beneficial to keep the petroleum jelly and gauze in place for one to two days during the initial healing. A circumcision that involved a plastic rim does not require dressing or petroleum jelly.

    Sponge Bath

    If your baby boy was circumcised within days after his birth, he'll be healing from his circumcision at the same time you're waiting for his umbilical cord to fall off. Because it’s necessary to keep the baby’s umbilical cord dry, physicians recommend that all newborns receive sponge baths until the cord falls off. According to the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital website, bathing an infant the second day after circumcision surgery is fine if the umbilical is off. If not, you should give him sponge baths, avoiding very warm water, until the cord falls off, which usually takes about two weeks.

    Washing Recommendations

    Wash the baby’s diaper area at every diaper change to keep it clean. Remove the used dressing gently and clean the circumcision area carefully with warm water to remove all traces of urine and stool. You might use a clean, wet washcloth to wipe away any residual stool from the circumcision site, but use extreme care not to hurt the baby. Allow the area to dry and then reapply the petroleum jelly and dressing to protect it. Continue applying petroleum jelly and a fresh dressing at every diaper change for about two to three days, advises Lake Sumter State College. Do not attempt to pull back the foreskin -- and avoid using soap on the area until the wound heals.

    Problems and Solutions

    Remove the used dressing slowly and carefully -- sometimes it might stick to the circumcision site. If this occurs, pour warm water over the dressing to help loosen it, advises Parkland Patient Education. Avoid using any products other than petroleum jelly around the circumcision, unless your child’s physician recommends it. Ointments, lotions and even baby wipes can contain ingredients that might irritate the circumcision site or cause pain for your baby.

    About the Author

    Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

    Photo Credits

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