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Circumcision in Newborn Babies

Updated on January 16, 2009

Baby Circumcision

Circumcision is the removal of foreskin that surrounds the head of the male organ. Whether or not you choose to have this done to your infant son is a very personal decision. The decision is usually based on religious, cultural and traditional factors. Talk to your newborn baby's healthcare provider for more information.

Reason why a circumcision is performed:

  • Health and hygiene issues. Note that there is no scientific evidence that shows circumcision is better.
  • Religious reasons and beliefs.
  • Personal choice
  • If the father of the newborn baby is circumcised.

Baby Circumcision picture
Baby Circumcision picture

Circumcision procedure:

The procedure is usually performed on the day of discharge from the hospital. You will have to sign a consent form before the circumcision is done. The newborn baby will be observed closely afterwards for bleeding by the nursing staff, and then should be checked every hour for the first 12 hours to detect unusual bleeding. Your healthcare provider will teach you care of the circumcision at the time of discharge. Petroleum jelly or whatever ointment your doctor recommends is usually applied to the tip of the male organ with each diaper change for the first few days. The tip may appear red and have yellow crusts in spots. Do not try to wash off this yellow substance. It is part of the healing process. If there is any usual swelling or bleeding call your baby's healthcare provider.

How to provide care after a circumcision:

Your infant baby's physician will give you specific instructions on the care of the circumcision. After the procedure:

  • There may be a gauze dressing with petroleum jelly. This may be removed at the first diaper change. Your baby's physician may recommend applying a new dressing.
  • The head of the organ may be red looking.
  • There may be a small amount of blood at first or yellow-colored drainage later. These are part of normal healing.
  • Your baby may have some discomfort with diaper change the first few days.
  • Change diapers often to help prevent infection.
  • Circumcisions usually heal within one to two weeks.

Your newborn baby may be fussy after circumcision. Cuddling him close and breastfeeding can help comfort him.

Circumcision in babies
Circumcision in babies

When to call your infant's pediatrician?

Be sure to call your child’s pediatrician immediately if any of the following occur:

  • The tip stays red with a yellow liquid coming from around the end for more than a week.
  • There is bleeding, a bad smelling discharge, swelling, or more redness.
  • The baby does not appear to be urinating.
  • The baby has a fever.



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