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Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond

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Problems with circumcision are rare. However, call your baby's health care provider right away if there is:

  • bleeding that doesn't stop
  • new bleeding
  • new or increased swelling
  • a foul-smelling drainage
  • redness on the shaft of the penis
  • redness at the tip of the penis that seems to be getting worse.

In addition, if your baby is circumcised after he leaves the hospital, call your baby's health care provider if he doesn't urinate normally within 12 hours after the circumcision.

Circumcision care

You will need to provide special care until the penis is healed.

For about seven days, you need to:

  • Completely cover the tip of the penis with petroleum jelly after each diaper change. Or, use an antibiotic ointment if your baby's health care provider ordered it.
  • Give your son a sponge bath until the penis has healed. This can take from seven to 20 days.
  • Look at the tip of the penis each time you change your baby's diaper. A yellowish-white film will appear on the tip of the penis until the healing is complete. This is normal. If there are any signs listed in the box to the right, call your baby's health care provider.
  • Do not use baby wipes on the penis until the circumcision has healed

Some health care providers use a circumcision device called a plastibell. This is a plastic ring that is placed under the foreskin and secured. It will fall off in five to eight days.

This kind of circumcision needs the same kind of care except do not put petroleum jelly or ointment on the tip of the penis.


Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, sixth edition, preg-ahc-90026, ISBN 1-931876-25-8

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 01/23/2013

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts