Circumcision care

Circumcision care

You will need to provide special care to your baby boy's penis until it is well-healed.

  • Completely cover the tip of the penis with petroleum jelly after each diaper change. Continue this for a full day (24 hours) after you no longer see bloody drainage in the diaper.
  • Look at the tip of the penis each time you change his diaper. If there is any new bleeding, new or increased swelling, foul-smelling drainage, or reddened skin on the shaft of the penis, call your baby's health care provider. (A yellowish-white film will appear on the tip of the penis until the healing is complete. This is normal.)
  • Do not use baby wipes until the tip of the penis has healed.
  • Give your baby a sponge bath until the penis has healed. This can take from seven to 20 days.

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.

Ask your health care provider for recommendations and advice about any other treatment or procedure.

When to call your baby's health care provider

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.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition. For inclusivity, this guide uses "them" and "their."
Reviewed By: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic
First Published: 02/01/2010
Last Reviewed: 01/01/2016