One major tip before you start: When cleaning your son, don't leave his penis exposed -- keep it covered with a diaper or you risk getting sprayed. First, lift his legs with one hand and remove any poop with a wet washcloth. (Many new moms use baby wipes on their newborns with no problem. If your child's skin reacts to the chemicals in wipes, you can use a washcloth or cotton balls and plain water when cleaning baby's tush during the first few weeks.) Using one area of the cloth at a time, clean inside all the creases, wiping downward. Clean under the testicles, gently pushing them out of the way. Wipe under the penis and over the testicles, toward the rectum. If he's uncircumcised, do not attempt to pull back the foreskin. Dry the area with a soft cloth. Apply ointment around the genitals and on his bum to prevent diaper rash.
If your baby's circumcised, there's probably a light dressing of gauze and petroleum jelly over the head of his penis, which should take about a week to heal. The tip will look red, and a yellow scab may appear, or you may notice a yellow secretion. For a few days, apply petroleum jelly over the tip of the penis every time you change your baby's diaper. Circumcision sites rarely become infected, but if the redness persists beyond a week, or you see swelling or crusted yellow sores that contain fluid, call your baby's doctor. --Kate Kelly
Copyright 2001 Meredith Corporation. Updated 2009.