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Tips to Soothe a Baby After Circumcision

The birth of your baby boy calls for a decision regarding whether you want him to be circumcised. The American Academy of Pediatrics leaves the choice to the parents. The pain he will experience can factor into your decision. Although it is hard to see your little one in distress, you can help him through the recovery process with soothing measures after the circumcision, knowing that thousands of baby boys throughout history have lived through this rite of passage and "this too shall pass."

Provide Pain Relievers

Foremost in your mind is how to alleviate the pain of circumcision for your little one who can't understand what is happening to him or why. The University of Michigan Health System asserts that infants do indeed experience "true pain" with circumcision, any claims to the contrary notwithstanding. Your doctor may recommend a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen to soothe your baby after circumcision.

RELATED: To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise?

Apply Ointments

Your health care provider can advise you about topical creams or ointments that help soothe the surgical pain. Using this cream or petroleum jelly with each diaper change keeps the penis from sticking to the diaper and reduces further irritation of the sensitive area. Keep the penis clean and regularly change any bandages to avoid infection of the surgical area that would cause pain.

Take Time for Extra Snuggles

Pain puts everyone out of sorts, babies included. So it should come as no surprise that your baby boy may be fussy and off his feeding schedule in the hours following circumcision. Extra snuggles and cuddles for the next few days can help reassure him of his safety and security in spite of his pain. The University of Michigan Health System recommends holding your son with skin-to-skin contact for pain relief and emotional reassurance. Breastfeeding provides contact and reassurance -- and exercises the sucking reflex, which is calming for babies. So it is all-in-one soothing technique for recovering from circumcision.

RELATED: Husband to Wife: "Don't Circumcise My Son"

Keep That Baby Moving

Keeping your son in motion as much as possible following a circumcision can distract him from the pain. Walking, talking, rocking, and singing and dancing together can take his mind off his pain, as can using a bottle or pacifier to stimulate the sucking reflex when you aren't breastfeeding. Some providers recommend a sugar-and-water solution for the pacifier or bottle for further pain relief. If you have an infant swing, that would be another option. Although the AAP states that these non-pharmacologic techniques are not enough to prevent all pain, they can be used in conjunction with other soothing measures to provide a greater degree of comfort after a circumcision.

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