The Circumcision Wound
Since recommendations vary from doctor to doctor, from mohel to mohel, and from baby to baby, take counsel with your mohel or a pediatrician even prior to the brit how to best care for the circumcision wound. There are certain basic generally accepted recommendations:
Diapering - diaper your baby for a number of days in a double diaper in order to keep his legs separated. During the first 24 hours, change his diaper every three hours and wipe downwards, keeping dirt away from the area of circumcision. When rubbing his belly button with alcohol, be careful not to let alcohol touch the sensitive area.
Bathing - some mohels recommend avoiding bathing for the first 24 hours while others suggest washing the area under warm running water from the first diaper change. After 24 hours, washing the baby with running water, bathing him and using baby soap are in most cases unproblematic. Avoid rubbing the sensitive area, but otherwise do not fear touching your baby's body.
Bandaging - some mohels bandage the area of the brit, and personally remove the bandage a day later. Other mohels use cotton that turns black and falls off by itself during the first diapering or during the first week.
Oil and antiseptic - some mohels recommend using baby oil for several days, in order to prevent the diaper from sticking to the wound (if it does stick, run water on the area to separate it). Others recommend using antiseptic and soothing creams. Most advise washing the area of the circumcision after twenty- four hours and for the rest of the week, with liquid soap, under running water or in a baby bath.
Pain - Many babies do not need pain medication after the circumcision. If your baby cries a lot, however, you may give him one or two doses (at least four hours apart) of pain medication according to the doctor's and manufacturer's recommendation. If your baby is still clearly agitated, advise with the mohel or doctor. Do not give pain medication for several days, without a doctor's prescription.
Common Occurrences that Should Not Elicit Concern
Secretion - As the area of circumcision heals, a yellow white secretion accumulates. It is not a discharge and it does not come off with washing but disappears by itself within two weeks.
Bleeding - small blood stains on the diaper during the first week after the brit should not elicit concern.
Appearance - the penis may be swollen under the head and the color of the head may turn purplish-blue. These conditions will disappear by themselves within a few months and within the year respectively.
Occurrences That May Require Medical Attention
In the first half an hour after the brit, the mohel is obligated (according to regulations of the Chief Rabbinate) to monitor the baby, to verify that bleeding has stopped and that the bandages are not too tight.
After the brit, you, the parents, must watch that your baby is behaving (more or less) normally. If the baby has a bandage, check that he is able to urinate. If he has not urinated within 3-4 hours after the brit, call your mohel.
If there is profuse continuous bleeding in the area of the brit, if the baby has a fever above 38 degrees Celsius, if he is pale, lethargic, or unusually unquiet -take the baby to the emergency room immediately.
All these occurrences are rare following a circumcision performed by a certified experienced mohel, but when they do take place they require immediate attention (which is also generally straightforward).