Better Me

Post-Circumcision Care for Your Newborn or Baby

Circumcision is a common surgical procedure performed on baby boys for various reasons, such as cultural, religious or personal preferences. It is usually done in the first few days after the baby’s birth. Although circumcision can be performed later in life, the procedure may require general anesthesia and involve an increased risk of complications and longer healing time. 

Circumcision is a relatively simple procedure, but it is natural to have concerns about caring for your child afterward. Ensuring proper care and healing of the circumcision site is essential for the well-being of your little one. 

Here is a comprehensive guide on post-circumcision care, including essential steps to follow and when to seek medical attention. By following these tips, you can confidently navigate the post-circumcision journey and help your baby boy heal comfortably.

The healing process

After your little one’s circumcision, the penis typically becomes swollen and red. 

“Redness, thickened skin and puffiness are common appearances for a healing circumcision,” said Ariella Friedman, MD, a pediatric urologist with Banner Children’s. “Even a yellow, gummy appearance is common and normal.” 

You may also notice some oozing, bruising and a small amount of bleeding from the incision for the first day or two.

Typically, these symptoms will improve after two to three weeks, but it can take up to one to two months for all the swelling to disappear.

Circumcision care

1. Choose comfortable-fitting diapers and clothing

Opt for comfortable-fitting diapers and clothes that provide ample space for airflow and reduce friction. Tight diapers and clothing can cause discomfort and increase the risk of irritation around the penis. 

2. Keep the area clean

Gently clean the area with warm water and mild, gentle baby soap. It’s best to avoid full-body bathing and pools until the second day after the procedure. Sponge bathing is okay.

Avoid wipes or any products containing alcohol or fragrances, as these can irritate the sensitive area.

After cleaning, pat dry with a soft towel. Avoid rubbing to prevent irritation or discomfort.

3. Apply ointment

After the circumcision, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment (like Bacitracin) to the head of the penis three times a day for two days. 

After three days, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly, Aquaphor, Vaseline or A+D ointment. “This helps keep the areas moist and prevents the glans (the head of the penis) from sticking to the diaper,” Dr. Friedman said.

If gauze is applied to the surgical area after the procedure, it can dry out and stick to the penile skin. This can pull at any scabs when removed. If gauze is needed, keep it moist with the ointments to help prevent sticking.

You can use a cotton swab or your fingertips to apply the ointment, ensuring your hands are thoroughly washed beforehand.

4. Push back skin

After a few days or so, push back on the shaft skin until the head of the penis is fully exposed.  This allows the area to be gently cleaned and ensures the skin is not in continuous contact with the corona (the ridge of the penis head).

“This will help prevent adhesions and penile skin bridging (stuck skin) from forming during healing,” Dr. Friedman said. 

5. Monitor and manage discomfort

Fussiness (cranky or mad) can be expected for the first couple of days after the procedure.

“Feeding your baby immediately after the circumcision can be soothing and calming,” Dr. Friedman said. “You can also alleviate fussiness with infant Tylenol (acetaminophen) every four to six hours as needed, following the dosage instructions on the bottle.”

If your child seems overly fussy or shows signs of significant pain, contact their health care provider for further guidance.

6. Schedule a follow-up appointment

Your child will need to be seen by their health care provider two to four weeks after the procedure. The provider will assess the healing progress and address your questions or concerns.

When to contact your child’s health care provider

While most cases of circumcision healing go smoothly, it's important to know when to contact your baby’s health care provider. 

These situations include:

  • Signs of infection, such as an increase in redness, swelling, pus, foul odor or fever.
  • Excessive bleeding or bleeding that persists beyond the first day
    • “Blood that fills most or all of the diaper is a greater concern,” Dr. Friedman said. “If this happens, apply pressure with a gauze or washcloth to stop bleeding.”
    • For uncontrolled bleeding, take your child to the nearest urgent care or emergency department for further evaluation.
  • Persistent or worsening pain or discomfort.
  • Any other concerns or questions about your child's healing process.

Remember, every child is unique, and their healing process may vary. Trust your instincts as a parent, and don't hesitate to contact your baby’s health care provider if you have any concerns or questions.

[Also read, “Does My Child Need Medical Care or Can You Treat Them at Home?”]


Caring for your child after circumcision requires attention to cleanliness, gentle care and close observation for any signs of infection or complications. 

You can ensure a smooth healing process by following the steps outlined above and staying in touch with your child’s health care provider. Remember, your child’s health care provider is your best resource for personalized advice and guidance throughout this journey.

To schedule an appointment with a Banner pediatrician near you, visit

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