Last Reviewed: April 2017
Taking Care of Your Newborn
Circumcision is the surgical removal of all or part of the foreskin covering the end of the penis.
Parents and caregivers who have their babies circumcised usually do so for social, cultural or religious reasons.
A local or topical anaesthetic (a cream or needle that numbs the area) is generally used for pain relief during a circumcision. This usually lasts for a few hours after the procedure.
For more information about risks and benefits or to book a circumcision, talk to your healthcare provider or to the hospital staff before you give birth.
You might be asked to avoid feeding your baby three hours before the procedure.
After the circumcision
You should be able to feed your baby soon after the procedure.
Staff might change your baby's dressing every half hour until you leave the hospital.
The doctor might apply a plastiball (a plastic ring) around the circumcised area. A dark brown or black ring around the plastic rim is normal. The ring will disappear when the ring drops off.
Caring for your baby at home
Once you bring your baby home, cuddle and comfort him. Lay him down on his back to prevent pressure on his penis.
If there is gauze around the circumcised area, let it come off by itself. If the gauze is sticking to the penis, soak it off with a facecloth and warm water.
Frequent diaper changes will help prevent irritation and infection, so check and change your baby's diaper regularly. Wash the circumcised area gently with warm water, then spread petroleum jelly over the end of the penis after each diaper change. This stops the diaper from sticking to your baby's penis.
Watch for the area to heal within five to seven days.
When to contact your doctor:
If your baby has been circumcised, contact your doctor if:
- Bleeding continues after you've applied pressure around the penis.
- Your baby has been feeding, but hasn't had a wet diaper for longer than four hours.
- There's an unusual discharge or odour around the circumcised area.
- Your baby develops a fever.