Prepping For Surgery
Ideally, you should make your decision before your child is born. If you opt for the procedure, you'll have time to find a practitioner you trust, consider whether you want to be in the room when it takes place, and ask important questions about anesthesia.
If you elect to have the circumcision performed in the hospital, the 10- to 15-minute procedure is usually done right before the baby is discharged, either by the physician on call, or an OB, pediatrician, or family doctor of your choice.
If you are Jewish and have your child circumcised at a bris (a ceremony that generally takes place on a baby's eighth day of life), seek out a mohel who is also a medical doctor. Ask friends and family, your pediatrician, or your rabbi for recommendations.
The doctor or mohel will give you instructions on how to clean and care for the wound. There may be a protective plastic ring on the penis; don't pull it -- the ring will fall off on its own after about ten days. If there is gauze on the wound, gently remove it with a warm, wet washcloth after 24 hours, and then continue to clean the penis with warm water twice a day and after every poopy diaper, applying Vaseline or an antibiotic ointment for two weeks to keep the wound from sticking to his diaper and to aid healing.
The tip of the penis may appear very red immediately after the procedure, and some yellow discharge or crust is normal, but phone your doctor if there is swelling, more than a few drops of blood, a black or blue bruise, or if your baby runs a fever. Also, keep an eye on your child's diaper. If he doesn't urinate within eight hours or so, call your M.D.
Originally published in the April 2012 issue of American Baby magazine.
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