Newborn circumcision is a cultural practice with religious significance that is also considered a medical procedure. It is believed to have various benefits, such as improved hygiene, reduced risk of urinary tract infections, decreased risk of sexually transmitted infections, and lower rates of penile cancer. Additionally, circumcision is considered cultural and religious significance for certain communities.
Rest assured, your baby’s penis isn’t as fragile as it looks, and circumcision isn’t nearly as traumatic as you might think.
What is male Newborn circumcision?
Male circumcision is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the foreskin, which is the fold of skin that covers the head of the penis. This practice has been performed for various reasons and holds cultural, religious, and medical significance in different parts of the world.
Culturally, male newborn circumcision has been practiced for centuries and is often seen as a rite of passage or a symbol of identity within certain communities. Religiously, it is an important ritual in some faiths, such as Judaism and Islam.
From a medical perspective, male newborn circumcision has been linked to several potential health benefits. Research suggests it may reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), penile cancer, and certain genital conditions. However, it’s important to note that these benefits are not absolute and must be weighed against individual circumstances and personal preferences.
Rates of circumcision in the United States have dipped in recent years. About 58 percent of newborn male babies were circumcised in 2010 in the U.S., down from about 65 percent in 1979, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Preparing for circumcision
Pre-Surgery Consultation: What to expect during the initial consultation.
Day-of-Procedure Preparation: How to prepare your baby and what you must bring.
Emotional Preparation: Supporting your newborn emotionally and what to expect during the procedure.
Ultimately, the decision to circumcise your child is up to you — and if you want another opinion, you can always talk to your OB/GYN or pediatrician about the pros and cons.
If you do decide to circumcise your child, the procedure will probably be performed in the hospital nursery by a doctor within two or three days after birth.
How circumcision is done
When performed by a doctor, circumcision often only takes a few minutes. In the hospital, a doctor will attach a special instrument (usually a clamp) to the penis and remove the foreskin with a scalpel.
Babies are typically awake during the circumcision but won’t feel very much because they’re given a local anesthetic — such as a numbing cream or an anesthetic injection. Your child may also be given a pacifier dipped in sugar water (sucrose) to help soothe him.
Afterward, the doctor will apply a topical antibiotic or petroleum jelly over the area and wrap the penis with gauze to prevent it from sticking to the diaper.
Ask the doctor if you have any questions about the procedure, including what types of pain control medication your baby will receive. You can also ask to be in the room while the circumcision is done.
Before the Circumcision:
Choose a Qualified Professional: Ensure that a qualified and experienced medical professional performs the circumcision. This reduces the risk of complications during and after the procedure.
Follow Pre-Care Instructions: Your doctor will provide specific instructions before the circumcision. This may involve cleaning the area or refraining from certain activities or foods.
Immediate Post-Circumcision Care:
Keep the Area Clean: Gently clean the area around the circumcision site with warm water and mild soap. Avoid using harsh soaps or chemicals that might irritate the sensitive skin.
Use Petroleum Jelly: Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or an antibiotic ointment to the circumcision site after each diaper change. This helps prevent the diaper from sticking to the healing area and reduces friction.
Choose Loose Diapers: opt for loose-fitting diapers to minimize friction and irritation. Avoid tight diapers that might rub against the circumcision site.
Monitor for Bleeding: It’s normal to see a small amount of blood on the diaper in the first 24 hours. However, if bleeding persists or seems excessive, contact your doctor immediately.
Avoid Baths: During the first few days, avoid bathing your baby. Instead, give them sponge baths to prevent the area from getting soaked.
General Care and Healing:
Keep the Area Dry: Moisture can slow the healing process and increase the risk of infection. Gently pat the area dry after cleaning or after a diaper change.
Avoid Tight Clothing: Dress your baby in loose, comfortable clothing to prevent friction and irritation around the circumcision site.
Be Gentle: Handle your baby carefully and avoid unnecessary touching of the circumcision area.
Watch for Infection: Look for signs of infection, including increased redness, swelling, pus, or a foul odor. If you suspect an infection, contact your doctor promptly.
Healing Time: The healing process typically takes around one to two weeks. During this time, the circumcision site will gradually scab over and heal.
Follow Up: Your doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure the healing process progresses. If you have any concerns before the scheduled appointment, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.
Signs of Infection or Complications
Recognizing Abnormal Symptoms: Detailed guidance on identifying potential issues.
When to Seek Medical Attention: Understanding when professional medical care is required.
Long-term Considerations: Insights into the potential long-term effects and care.
When to call your doctor
If your baby has any of the following symptoms, let your pediatrician know right away, as they could be a sign of an infection or another problem:
- Persistent bleeding or more than a quarter-sized spot of blood on his diaper
- Redness that gets worse three to five days after circumcision
- Yellow discharge lasting more than a week
- Foul-smelling drainage
- Crusty, fluid-filled sores
- Not urinating or dribbling urine within eight hours after the circumcision
Caring for a newborn after circumcision can be a delicate process, but with the proper knowledge and guidance, you can ensure a comfortable and healthy healing experience. This comprehensive guide aims to cover all aspects of the procedure and care, offering support and understanding to parents navigating this significant milestone. Always remember that individual needs vary, so communicate with your pediatrician for personalized advice.