Care of the Uncircumcised Penis

The uncircumcised newborn penis requires no more than routine bathing. By 5 years of age, the foreskin will separate from the head of the penis in most boys. At this time the foreskin should be pulled back to clean the head of the penis during each bath. There is no need to forcefully pull back an adherent foreskin. When it is mature, the foreskin can be pulled back easily without discomfort.


Although circumcision is still a common practice, it is not medically necessary for your child to be circumcised. Circumcision makes the foreskin easier to keep clean, and prevents a problem called phimosis (an excessively small opening in the foreskin) which may require a small percentage of men to be circumcised later. If you chose for your infant to be circumcised, you should remember that this procedure has a small risk of bleeding or infection. After the circumcision, you may clean the site by allowing clear warm water to flow over the area.

If a Plastibell type circumcision is performed, there will be a clear plastic ring just inside the foreskin. This ring will fall off on its own within 5-10 days. Please notify your pediatrician if the head of the penis becomes swollen in front of the ring, the shaft of the penis becomes red and swollen, if there is bleeding, or if the ring has not fallen off within 10 days.

If no ring is present you can reduce the discomfort and prevent the cut edges of skin from sticking to the diaper by applying vaseline or an antibiotic ointment (Neosporin, Polysporin, Bacitracin, etc.) at each diaper change until there is no drainage from the site. You may give 40 mg. of Acetaminophen orally every 4 hours for pain.

Little Girls

Some redness and swelling of the labia (external female genitals) is normal at birth, as is a cream colored mucous vaginal discharge. Some, but not all, little girls will have a bloody vaginal discharge within the first week of life. This is normal. It is caused by withdrawal from the influence of the mother’s female hormones. The bloody discharge will stop within a few days, and will not return until your daughter goes through puberty.

Take special care to wipe stool away from the opening of the vagina. If debris accumulates between the labia, clean this area very gently with baby oil on a cotton ball as often as is needed using a front to back wiping motion.

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