Umbilical and Circumcision Care

Parenting in the Early Years

Umbilical and Circumcision Care

Related Topics

Skin Care and Rashes

When you first arrive home with your baby, you will have to care for the umbilical cord until it falls off in two to four weeks after birth. If you infant son was circumcised, you will also need to care for the circumcision.

Umbilical Cord Care

The umbilical cord may become infected if not kept clean and dry. Soak a cotton Q-tip® with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and apply it to the base of the cord two to three times a day. Babies cry when this is done, not because it is painful, but because the alcohol feels cold. Don't be afraid to lift the cord and clean the base well. Keep the diaper folded below the cord to prevent rubbing and allow the cord to air dry.

Give sponge baths until the cord detaches and the circumcision is healed. Most cords dry and fall off in two to four weeks. There may be slight bleeding as the cord begins to separate; this is normal. Call your doctor if the area around the cord is red, tender or swollen or if the cord is goopy and fowl smelling.

Circumcision Care

Circumcision usually requires six to seven days to heal. A yellow membrane may form around the tip of the penis. This is normal and does not represent infection. Cleanse the diaper area, including the penis with cotton balls and warm water, with each diaper change. Keep the tip of the penis covered with ointment (Vaseline® or A&D® ointment) to prevent sticking to the diaper until the area is fully healed.

Care if Uncircumcised

Cleanse your infant's penis the same way as the rest of his body. No attempt should be made to forcibly retract the foreskin.