Reuveyn Fraser M.D.
20 years experience performing Brit Milah in the greater Boston area & Massachusetts
Brit Milah Hatafat Dam Brit
Naming Ceremony Ritual Jewish
CARING FOR THE CIRCUMCISION
Caring for the circumcision is very easy. All that needs to be done is to cover the penis with Vaseline during each regular diaper change for two days. You will need: 1) A large jar of Vaseline & 2) A box of 4 X 4 gauze pads. After the circumcision is completed, a dressing consisting of Bacitracin ointment, Vaseline and several gauze pads will be applied. This serves to protect the penis from irritation, minimize bleeding and keep the area clean, thus preventing infection.
The first diaper change can be done shortly after the Bris. There will be pink staining of the diaper and the penis will look very different. The head of the penis (glans) will be red and swollen with a few clots and a tiny amount of bleeding. The foreskin will be very swollen, sometimes to the point of appearing lop-sided or abnormally enlarged. There may be two small "points" of skin at both sides below the glans as a result of the clamp. You may also notice small red spots around the circumcision. These are abrasions which will crust over and heal quickly.
Sometimes there are small sticky white specks on the glans which are a form of dandruff and are no cause for alarm. ALL THIS IS NORMAL!
By the next morning the penis will look normal except for some redness and swelling which will subside over the next two days. For the first two days change the diaper as usual and wipe off most of the Vaseline. Place a two inch "glob" of vaseline on a 4X4 gauze pad. Place this on the penis and close the diaper. The Vaseline serves to prevent stool from getting in the circumcision sight. After two days no Vaseline is necessary and you can return to the normal routine of changing the diaper. By this time the swelling has decreased considerably, the penis is much easier to keep clean and it does not need protection with Vaseline. When checking the penis during the diaper changes, make sure that the glans is fully exposed and not covered by any skin.
Please call me if you think there may be a problem: during the first two days this is simple to correct, taking only a few quick seconds. If left uncorrected it is possible that adhesions (scarring) can occur and that the baby may need an additional minor surgical procedure. The circumcision goes extremely quickly, lasting 5 to 30 seconds at the most.
On the third or fourth day following the circumcision you may notice a clear yellow film. This is called balanitis. It is a mild infection that occurs very commonly and is not cause for alarm.
When circumcisions are done in the hospital this happens very frequently. The treatment simply involves lightly rubbing either Bacitracin, Neosporin or "triple antibiotic" ointment (available at any pharmacy) at the end of each diaper change for two days.
Expect that the baby will be fussy and difficult to quiet for about five minutes after the circumcision. The baby is usually ready to feed then. After feeding he may fuss a little, fall asleep for three hours and then be fine, fussing a little when the diaper is changed. I recommend giving Tylenol INFANT DROPS (not Elixir) 1/2 a dropper every 3-4 hours as needed and especially at bedtime.
I will be calling several hours after the Bris, that evening and the following morning to check on things and answer any questions.
FYI: A Mohel, also pronounced Moyl or Moyel, comes from the Hebrew root M-L "to circumcise" and is the same root as the word Milah referring to the covenant of Milah. Milah means circumcision. The various pronunciations of the word Mohel/Moyl/Moyel come from the various East European/Ashkenazi dialects and modern Hebrew. Also the correct term for the ceremony is Brit Milah. The terms Brit and Bris also reflect different dialects and have come to be accepted into English over the term Brit Milah.