Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Knowing What To Expect Afterwards

[For much more detail on this subject, click here. The short version follows.]

When your child is circumcised, it is a good idea to get a good feel for how long the healing process takes.

In most cases, I need to see the baby only once after the bris, often enough to remove a bandage, but even when the bandage comes off on its own, just to see that everything is healing nicely. This has changed the time frame of my care for the baby - I used to see the baby, in some cases, two whole days after the bris. Now I see him within a few hours.

I FIND SEEING THE BABY A FEW HOURS AFTER THE BRIS TO BE MUCH BETTER: FOR THE BABY, FOR HIS PARENTS, AND YES, EVEN FOR THE MOHEL

There are mohels who like to see the baby a few days later, or even to see how things are looking a few weeks later. This is admirable.

At the same time, in the event that something is not OK at that two week period, there is really nothing that a mohel could/should do at that point. Any "correction" should be taken care of right away, which would perhaps necessitate an additional follow-up visit.

In simple terms:
* The glans (tip of penis) should be a dark red, and the extent of its outline - like a helmet on a head - should be visible all around
* There will or will not be remains of a membrane below the glans (also a dark red, though a slightly different hue). It is often swollen, though to what degree depends on how much membrane is present.
* The skin where the incision took place should be identifiable below the glans or membrance, and should be as close to even in its circumference around the shaft. Depending on the baby's anatomy, in some cases, the mohel might cut at more of an angle, to compensate for a differently angled glans.

If this is what things look like after the bandage comes off (with the caveat of the possibility of some swelling below the glans), all your baby needs is "time." Some colors may emerge (white, yellow, green) that are just the way the area scabs. But even all this goes away within a couple of days, and certainly very quickly once antibacterial ointments (bacitracin, polysporin, etc) are no longer applied to the area.

For instructions on how to care for baby, see here

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