Dr. Linda, my baby boy was circumcised just before we brought him home from the hospital 2 days ago. Now there’s some yellow material on his penis. Should I remove it? Can you tell me more about how to take care of the circumcision?
Circumcision is the medical procedure where the foreskin of your son’s penis is removed. There are many opinions for and against circumcision right now. I’ll talk about the medical aspects of circumcision in a separate blog.
Care of the circumcision as it heals:
What you need to know:
- Right after the circumcision, your doctor will place a gauze around the tip of your son’s penis to protect the raw area
- If the gauze falls off quickly when your son pees don’t worry.You can always put another vaseline soaked gauze back on if needed. Call the nursery and ask them what your doctor usually recommends in this situation.
- If there is oozing from the raw area after the gauze falls off, use a clean gauze to apply gentle pressure to the area for 5-10 minutes till the bleeding stops. If it doesn’t stop after 10 minutes call your doctor as you continue to put pressure on the area.
- If the gauze stays on and gets dry, soak it in clean warm water to loosen it and then take it off.
In the first day after the circumcision contact your doctor:
- If the circumcision is bleeding more than expected:
- There is active bleeding.
- There’s is a spot of blood bigger than a quarter in the diaper area.
- There is blood oozing that doesn’t stop with 5-10 minutes of pressure.
- Your baby hasn’t urinated within 12 hours after the circumcision was performed.
As the circumcision heals:
- A thin yellow layer of healing tissue will form over the raw area left after removal of the foreskin. This is natural and not a sign of infection.(See below for signs of infection).The yellow material will remain for a few days until it is replaced by pink healthy skin within about 7 days.
- Don’t remove this yellow layer. If you do pull it off by accident there may be some oozing from the area. Don’t worry, apply gentle pressure with a gauze until the oozing stops. This won’t cause any long-term scarring or problems for your son!
- Babies tend to be fussy after the circumcision because of the discomfort from the raw area and/or when the urine touches the area. Applying barrier jelly (Petroleum or non-petroleum jelly) to the raw area will help.
Pain relief after the circumcision:
- Talk to your doctor about what they recommend using for pain relief as you take care of the circumcision
- Many doctors recommend Acetaminophen (NOT Ibuprofen). Please consult your doctor about dosing and frequency. The dose of Acetaminophen is different in the newborn period. I recommend trying natural methods first as you care for the circumcision, the fewer chemicals your baby gets exposed to the better.
- Natural methods for pain relief in your newborn are:
- Skin to skin contact with your baby.
- Holding and rocking your baby.
- Giving your baby something to suck on in between feeds. Sucking is very comforting for most babies.
- Singing to your baby or playing calming, relaxing music.
- Aromatherapy .Try placing a few drops of Lavender essential oil on a handkerchief (not on your baby’s skin) and put it near your baby where he can smell it.
- Chamomile tea is another option. It is a safe way to help your baby feel calmer. Steep 1/2 teaspoon of chamomile flowers in 1 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Allow it to cool and give your baby 1/2 teaspoon three to four times a day.
Care of the circumcision:
- Use warm water without soap to clean the area (Chemical wipes will burn).
- Pat the area clean don’t rub it.
- If the healing area has poop on it, dab it off gently with a paper towel and warm water
- Pat the area dry when you’re done.
- Put a layer of barrier jelly on the healing area to prevent it from sticking to the diaper and to protect it from the ammonia in the urine that can burn. Once the area is healed there is no need to continue to use Vaseline.
Warning signs of infection:
If you find any of these signs seek medical care immediately
- The shaft of your son’s penis is swollen and/or red.
- There is a red streak on the shaft of the penis
- Thick yellow pus is coming from the area of the circumcision.
- Your baby has a fever (A temperature of 100.4F, 38C or above).
- Your baby is very fussy and is not eating normally.
Care of the circumcision after it heals:
As your son grows he may develop a large fat pad in his groin area. His penis may sink into this fat pad. Because the diaper area gets wet and dirty frequently, and because the penis gets warm and moist as it sits in the fat pad some irritation can develop in the area. This irritation makes it easier for the remaining foreskin to reattach to the head of your son’s penis.
To prevent adherence of the remaining foreskin:
- Change your son’s diaper frequently to keep the area clean and dry.
- Every time you change your baby’s diaper make sure to pull the remaining foreskin back, clean the area under it and then dry it. This will cut down on any irritation.
- At night put a barrier jelly in the area of the foreskin to prevent the skin from reattaching until your baby begins to lose the fat pad (usually around the time he starts walking).
As always, I would love to hear from you.Please share this blog with anyone who may need it and post your comments below.
To your holistic health,