Discharge Instructions for Circumcision (Infant)

Your baby had a procedure called circumcision. This is a procedure to remove the baby’s foreskin. The foreskin is the layer of skin that covers the tip (glans) of the penis. Circumcision is usually done before a baby boy goes home from the hospital. Your baby's healthcare provider explained the procedure and told you what to expect. Follow the guidelines on this sheet to care for your baby after his circumcision.

What to expect

  • You will probably see a crust of blood, or eventually a yellowish coating, where the foreskin was removed. Don’t rub off the crust or coating, or it may bleed.

  • The penis will swell a little. Or it may bleed a little around the incision.

  • The head of the penis will be a little red or slightly black-and-blue.

  • Your baby may cry at first when he urinates. Or he may be fussy for the first few days.

  • Give your child pain relievers as instructed by your baby's healthcare provider. Ask your baby's healthcare provider whether over-the-counter pain relievers are OK to use. Skin-to-skin cuddling and breastfeeding may also help reduce pain.

  • Healing takes about 2 weeks.

Cleaning your baby’s penis

  • Coat the sore area with petroleum jelly every time you change your baby's diaper during the first 2 weeks.

  • Use a soft washcloth and warm water to gently clean your baby’s penis if it has stool on it. Try not to rub the sore area. It may slow healing or cause bleeding. You may use mild soap if the baby’s penis has stool on it. But most of the time no soap is needed.

  • Don’t dry the penis with a towel. Let it air dry after cleaning.

  • To help prevent infection, change your baby’s diapers right away after he urinates or has a bowel movement.

Caring for your baby’s bandage

  • If your baby has a gauze bandage, change or remove the bandage according to your healthcare provider's instructions. You will either remove the bandage the day after the surgery or you will change it each time you change your baby’s diaper.

  • If your baby has a plastic-ring device, let the cap fall off by itself. This takes 3 to 10 days. Call your baby's healthcare provider if the cap falls off within the first 2 days or stays on for more than 10 days.


Make a follow-up appointment with your baby's healthcare provider, or as directed.

When to call your baby's healthcare provider

Call your baby's healthcare provider right away if your child has any of the following:

  • A very red penis

  • A lot of swelling of the penis

  • Fever (see Fever and children, below)

  • Discharge from the penis that is heavy, has a greenish color, or lasts more than a week

  • Bleeding that isn’t stopped by applying gentle pressure

  • Not urinating normally for 6 to 8 hours after the circumcision


Fever and children

Always use a digital thermometer to check your child’s temperature. Never use a mercury thermometer.

For infants and toddlers, be sure to use a rectal thermometer correctly. A rectal thermometer may accidentally poke a hole in (perforate) the rectum. It may also pass on germs from the stool. Always follow the product maker’s directions for proper use. If you don’t feel comfortable taking a rectal temperature, use another method. When you talk to your child’s healthcare provider, tell him or her which method you used to take your child’s temperature.

Here are guidelines for fever temperature. Ear temperatures aren’t accurate before 6 months of age. Don’t take an oral temperature until your child is at least 4 years old.

Infant under 3 months old:

  • Ask your child’s healthcare provider how you should take the temperature.

  • Rectal or forehead (temporal artery) temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit temperature of 99°F (37.2°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child age 3 to 36 months:

  • Rectal, forehead (temporal artery), or ear temperature of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child of any age:

  • Repeated temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Fever that lasts more than 24 hours in a child under 2 years old. Or a fever that lasts for 3 days in a child 2 years or older.