Circumcision Care for Infants: Care, Normal Findings, & Complications

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Circumcision Care for Infants

Immediately after the circumcision, your baby will most likely be fussy. Comfort him by holding him or feeding him. If he is not interested in feeding, that is okay.

Diaper Changes

Change the diaper often, as soon as you notice it is wet or soiled.

Gently remove urine or stool with a wet cloth (with no perfumes or other harsh ingredients). Carefully wipe the circumcised area without rubbing or scrubbing.

With each diaper change, apply petroleum jelly (Vaseline). Depending on the health care provider, they may suggest applying it on gauze which is to be placed over the penis, directly on the penis, or on the diaper in the area of the penis.

Vaseline will help keep the area clean and prevent the diaper from sticking to the wound site. Infants with a plastibell may not need vaseline applied.

If you do apply Vaseline, do not apply large amounts. This can provide a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

For a couple of days or so after the circumcision, put the diaper on loosely but securely. This will help keep pressure from the wound site.


At least once a day, and with really soiled diapers, wash your baby’s bottom with warm water. You do not need to use soap. If you do, use a gentle soap without harsh ingredients. A peri-bottle works good when applying the water (make sure it is clean). Afterwards, pat dry. Try not to get the umbilical cord wet.

If your baby was circumcised after his umbilical cord has fallen off, you can bathe him as usual. Some health care providers recommend adding a little salt to the bath water to help promote healing.

Normal Findings

It is normal for the penis to be swollen and bruised after the procedure. It is also normal to note small amounts of blood on the diaper with the first few changes.

After a few days, a yellow scab will appear and this is normal. It will go away in about 7-10 days.

If stitches were used, they will dissolve on their own in 7-10 days.

If a plastibell was used, it is normal for the area around the ring to appear dark brown or black. This will disappear when the ring falls off. When it does fall off, there may be a small amount of blood (pink or red in color).

The plastibell will fall off by itself in 7-8 days. Do not pull on it, even if it is loose.

When to call your health care provider:

If there is persistent bleeding after the circumcision. If there is, wrap your thumb and index finger around the penis, below the wound site, and squeeze it for five minutes. If it does not stop bleeding, call your health care provider immediately or go to the nearest health care center.

If your baby does not urinate within 8 hours after surgery.

If there are signs of infection, including a fever (100.4° F or higher), redness and swelling after 3 days (or if it worsens the first 3 days), and a foul smelling discharge.

For infants with a plastibell, notify your health care provider if it does not fall off after 8 days.

The healing process should be completed in 7-10 days. After that, normally no circumcision care for infants is required.


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