Post-Care Rituals by Rabbi Cantor Menachem Toren

Be prepared for a fussy baby. The initial healing time is the first two days. There are risks, along with benefits, to this, and any surgical procedure. Risks of the circumcision ceremony may include bleeding and infection.

There may be some swelling of the area, on one or both sides, and you may notice a thickness on the underside of the penis, where the skin was bunched together during the operation, which will decrease in size over time.

You should apply a sterile gauze pad treated with a good amount of ointment for approximately five days. If the gauze pad sticks, leave it alone until it comes off by itself. Place a new gauze pad with ointment on top of the old one, and after a few diaper changes, both should come off.

Blood will stain the gauze pad and the diaper. The size and intensity of the stain should decrease after each diaper change. If the bleeding continues, apply direct pressure with a sterile gauze pad for 15-20 minutes, which should stop the bleeding. In rare cases, if bleeding does not stop, call the pediatrician immediately. Your baby should have a wet diaper within a few hours of the circumcision. You may resume the baby's regular routine and treat him normally. Sponge bathe him until the penis is healed. After about a week when the penis is healed, you may immerse the baby in the bath, if the umbilical cord is also healed.

After a week, no further gauze is needed. You may continue to apply ointment as needed to help the healing. Each child is different, as is the technique used in circumcision, so every healing process is unique. The head of the penis should remain completely revealed.

Redness will last for a number of weeks, with possibly a whitish or yellowish waxy coating (granulation) appearing. This is normal and is not to be confused with an infection. The tip of the penis may turn a bluish/purple color or a water blister may develop along the circumcision line; that is normal too.

Some babies tend to gain weight quickly and the fat of the thighs and abdominal fat pad may cover the circumcision, causing the penis to seem to disappear. You should retract the penis and use sufficient ointment to avoid adhesions.

Remember, you can always call me, or of course, your baby's pediatrician to discuss any condition or concern. Please do not wait!

In the even of any emergency, call your pediatrician immediately. Call me to inform me of any situation that is not an emergency or with any questions you may have. I will be visiting within 24 hours to check the healing process and am glad to speak with you as often as needed.