Taking care of the newly circumcised penis
Some things you need to know about the care of your baby's circumcised penis.

Please note:

According to the Children's Act (in effect from 1 April 2010), circumcision of male children under 16 years is prohibited, unless it is done for medical or religious reasons. Anyone who contravenes the prohibition is guilty of an offence and can be fined or imprisoned for 10 years or be given both a fine and a term of imprisonment. (s305(1)(a) and (6)).

For more information, read: A guide to the Children’s Act for health professionals (Fourth edition), 1 June 2010, by Prinslean Mahery, Paula Proudlock and Lucy Jamieson. Published by the Children's Institute, University of Cape Town.

If you do need to circumcise your baby boy, you'll want to know how to look after the wound. We explain...

Some things you need to know:

Care in the weeks following the procedure is generally minimal; just be careful to keep the circumcision site as clean and dry as possible to avoid irritation or infection. After each bowel movement, the area should be cleansed gently with warm, running water. Wet nappies should be changed promptly to avoid irritation.

Avoid using washcloths or commercial baby wipes until the area has healed, typically 10 days after the procedure has been done.

Some doctors recommend the use of vaseline applied lightly to the penis to prevent the nappy from adhering to the circumcision site. Ask your doctor first. He might also recommend that you use a drying powder (this is good for the cord stump, too).

Babies who have recently undergone a circumcision may experience pain, irritability or discomfort in the days following. Most can be comforted by cuddling, feeding, extra sleep and, if necessary, over-the-counter pain medications as recommended by a paediatrician. If your baby seems to exhibit signs of severe pain, tell you doctor as soon as possible.

Warning signs:

Call your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • Continued bleeding after the circumcision has been done
  • 12 hours or more of absence of urinating
  • An increase in swelling, redness or fever
  • Oozing from the circumcision site
  • Extensive bruising around the circumcision site.

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