Amaka’s baby boy was circumcised at the hospital a few days after he was born.
During her stay at the hospital she had watched the nurses bathe him and change his diaper. This, she was still trying to get the hang of.
She was full of questions;
- What was the piece of plastic that was used for the procedure?
- When would it come off ?
- He had been a bit fussy after the circumcision but calmed down after he had been fed. She was worried about having to go home alone with him. Without the nurses who had painstaking shown her how to carefully change him during her stay.
- What if she got it wrong?
- How would I handle things if it started hurting him at night?
- What if poo got on the circumcision point?
- How would she know it was healing well ?
How can Amaka look after her circumcised baby?
What Is Circumcision?
This is a surgery to remove the fore skin (outer skin) covering the tip of the penis.
Why Is It Done?
For some, male circumcision is mainly for religious or cultural reasons. It may also be done to relieve the tip of the penis if the foreskin becomes painful, swollen and inflammed later in life ( a condition called phimosis).
On the other hand, circumcision provides health benefits such as; decreased risk of urinary tract infection during the first year of life, and decreased risk of penile cancer and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) later in life.
When Is Circumcision Done?
Circumcision occurs usually before or after the mother and baby are discharged from the hospital. If the baby is healthy, it is usually done 2 days after birth.
When Should It Be Avoided?
Circumcision should be delayed when the baby;
- Is born very early (preterm babies)
- Has problems with his blood (problems with controlling bleeding)
- Possesses a family record of bleeding problems
- Is born with certain abnormalities of the penis (sometimes the foreskin is used to correct these issues during surgery )
What to expect after circumcision
Your infant to be in some discomfort after the procedure. His penis is sore, swollen and bruised; this would make him fussy! A yellow scab may form over the wound.
Get ready for lots of crying, feeding and sleeping problems.
No need to be anxious though. These usually resolve within a day or two.
Caring For A Circumcised Penis
Proper after-care is important for your baby to properly heal. Here are some tips to help you out;
- Keep the site clean and dry to prevent infection. Clean with water daily when there is soiling.
- Use soapy water if the baby stools.
- Change his diapers regularly.
- Always apply antibiotic ointments as prescribed by your doctor or petroleum jelly to avoid discomfort
- If there is bleeding, use a clean cloth or gauze to apply firm but gentle pressure on the tip of the penis for a few minutes to stop the bleeding.
- Ensure he wears underwear that holds the penis in place.
- Pain medication like baby paracetamol will relieve the pain (please follow your doctor’s prescription)
Usually, the doctor applies a bandage or plastic ring around the site during the procedure.
- Replace bandages (with petroleum jelly) during each diaper changes for the first 2 days.
- Do not bother about the stitches; they would dissolve on their own.
- Ask your doctor when to remove the dressing
- If it is a plastic ring, it will fall off on its own in 5 to 14 days.
Whenever the bandage or ring is comes off, remember to keep applying petroleum jelly.
How Long Does It Take for a Circumcision Site to Heal?
Every baby heals differently. It takes about 7-10days to heal on an average. Although, some boys may take up to a month to heal completely.
Do You Have To Call The Doctor?
Circumcisions are usually problem free. Nevertheless, these are some warning signs that you should not ignore;
- Your baby doesn’t pee within 12 hours after circumcision
- Foul-smelling discharge from the tip of the penis
- The plastic ring remains in place two weeks after the circumcision
- Persistent bleeding or blood on the diaper
- The redness and swelling does not go away after 3 to 5 days
- Your baby has a temperature of 38C or higher.
- Serious pain.
- The head of the penis becoming blue or black in color.
- The plastic ring used slips downward unto the shaft of the penis
These are likely signs of infection. Call your health care professional immediately if you notice any.
Finally, how do I keep an uncirumcised penis clean though? Clean it as you would clean your finger……..just clean only what you can see, no prodding required
Finally, knowing what to expect empowers you as a parent to nurse your child through the changes that circumcision presents.
- Caring For Kids 2015, Circumcision of baby boys: Information for parents, Caring For Kids, Viewed on June 20, 2020, <https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/circumcision>.
- Dan Brennan 2019, Your Baby Boy’s Circumcision: What to Expect, WebMD, Viewed on June 20, 2020, <https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/circumcision-what-expect>.
- Larissa Hirsch 2016, Surgeries and Procedures: Circumcision, Kids Health, Viewed on June 20, 2020, <https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/procedure-circumcision.html>.
- Maria Masters 2018, Newborn Circumcision Care, What To Expect, Viewed on June 20, 2020, <https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/circumcision-care>.
- Mayo Clinic Staff 2020, Circumcision (Male), Mayo Clinic, Viewed on June 20, 2020, <https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/circumcision/about/pac-20393550>.
Tim Newman 2020, Benefits and risks of circumcision, Medical News Today, Viewed on June 20, 2020, <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/302234>.