Facts and Feelings About Circumcision

Caring for Your Baby

If your son is not circumcised...

Clean the genital area carefully with soap and water. The foreskin usually does not fully retract until about age 5. Until then, retract the foreskin gently during baths, only as far as it will go without forcing it. Don't use cotton swabs or antiseptics, which can cause irritation. Once the foreskin fully retracts, boys should wash underneath it every day.

Your son should:

  • Gently pull the foreskin back away from the head of the penis.
  • Rinse the head of the penis and inside fold of the foreskin with soap and warm water.
  • Pull the foreskin back over the head of the penis.

If your son is circumcised...

The tip of the penis may seem raw or yellowish, and Dr. Swanson advises against putting soap or water on the area until it heals. Change bandages with each diapering to lower the risk of infection. You can use petroleum jelly to keep the bandage from sticking.

Sometimes doctors use a plastic ring instead of a bandage. This ring, which is put on the tip of the penis, usually drops off within eight days. A little yellow discharge or coating around the head of the penis is normal but should not last more than a week.

Call your pediatrician right away if there is:

  • Persistent bleeding
  • Redness around the tip of the penis that gets progressively worse after three to five days
  • Any sign of infection, which includes redness, swelling, or pus
  • No normal urination within six to eight hours after the circumcision

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