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Changing a Diaper After Circumcision

by Maggie McCormick, studioD

A circumcised penis requires care in the days following the procedure. It's normal to see redness, swelling, bleeding and a yellow discharge, but you want to minimize your child's pain as much as possible. Gentle care of the area will ensure proper healing and a more comfortable experience for your baby.


As the penis heals, do not use diaper wipes to clean the baby. Instead, use warm water on a soft baby washcloth. If necessary -- such as when cleaning a bowel movement -- use infant-safe soap, then rinse off with a wet washcloth. To make this easier, prepare a small bowl or bottle of warm water before changing his diaper. Take special care when his bowel movements are on his penis. During these times, you may want to dunk his bottom in a bathtub or pour warm water directly over the penis to help with the cleaning.

Removing the Diaper

Be gentle when removing the diaper, as it's possible for the wound to stick to the diaper or bandage. If you rip it off quickly, it will hurt him. If the penis is sticking to the diaper, you might be able to release it more easily by pouring a small amount of warm water there or using a wet warm washcloth.

Dressing the Wound

Some doctors suggest placing a gauze bandage on the penis every time you change the diaper. Obviously, it won't stay there long, as it gets wet. If this is what your doctor recommends, slip the new diaper under his bottom, place the gauze over his penis, then pull the front of the diaper up and attach it. You do not need to tape the gauze in place, as this can hurt a newborn baby's sensitive skin.

Preventing Friction

The friction from the wound rubbing against the diaper could cause your baby serious discomfort. To minimize the pain, put a dab of petroleum jelly on the penis at each diaper change. This should also prevent the diaper or gauze from sticking. Apply liberally.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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