After the Bris
The time after the Bris is sometimes a bit scary for parents. What if the baby starts bleeding? What if the bandage falls off? Is my baby in pain? Can I give him medicine?
Frequently, parents can't even tell what is the penis and what is the bandage. This makes most parents uneasy.
Allow me to alleviate your concerns. I will split the information into two parts, part one,
Before the Mohel removes the bandage,
and part two,
After the Mohel removes the bandage.
Before the Mohel removes the bandage
There might be discoloration in the glans. It may look purple, but this is normal. This could be from the Mohel's grip. (Which is usually very strong). You should see a clean glans with a bandage wrapped around, right under the glans. If there is a little layer of film on the glans, this is just dried discharge from the newly revealed glans, and nothing to worry about.
There will almost always be red staining on the diaper. This is because when the baby urinates, it causes the dried blood within the bandage to liquify, and it leaks onto the diaper. This is not bleeding. Bleeding is when you see blood actively dripping from the bandage. This is a pretty rare occurence. However, if this does happen, call the Mohel immediately. This is almost never a life-threatening situation, but it is important to deal with it as soon as possible.
The first time the baby urinates after the Bris may be painful for him, as the urine will soak into the bandage and the urine will burn the baby a little bit.
The Bris is not a comfortable experience for the baby, and if the baby is uncomfortable, you can give him medicine (Novimol, etc.) every 5-6 hours. Generally the baby should not react as though he is in tremendous pain. So if the baby is inconsolable, you should call the Mohel. The bandage may have moved or is too tight, and that may be hurting the baby.
However, it is important to remember that babies cry before the Bris as well, and even baby girls cry, so don't get too concerned about this.
You should check to see that the baby has urinated within 2 hours after the Bris. You can tell from the wetness of the diaper. If he hasn't, call the Mohel and let him know.
Make sure the baby is eating regularly. Wake him up if necessary. If he doesn't eat, there is a risk of dehydration.
Do not bathe the baby until the bandage has been removed.
Do not touch the penis or the bandage.
Other than that, the Mohel will have given you other instructions. Some will tell you to pour oil every diaper change, and some will tell you to smear cream on the bandage. It is important to listen to the instructions that were given to you, not what you heard from someone else, or what your relative heard from a Mohel in America. The reason for this is simple: Every Mohel does things differently, and because of this, if you don't listen to his specific instructions, it could adversely affect the healing process.
For example, some Mohelim might need you to pour on oil, and if you put on cream instead, the bandage might stick to the wound. Or, some Mohelim might want you not to put on anything so that the wound dries out, and if you pour oil, you might cause bleeding again. And there are many more examples.
From a Mohel's perspective, it is very bothersome when the parents don't listen to the instructions. I have had many times where the parents didn't listen to the instructions given to them, and things did not go as smoothly as they should have. This is a very common problem and should be avoided.
After the Mohel removes the bandage
At this point, what you should see is an uncovered glans, with some red layer of skin surrounding beneath it. This is the Or HaPriya. Beneath that, (toward the baby's body), there will be an area which is yellowish. This is the wound area healing; do not try to remove it. It is healthy and important for the baby. Below that you should be able to see where the baby was cut.
Once the bandage is removed, your baby should be more comfortable.
Frequently, the area will look worse on the day after the Bris. Do not worry about this. Also remember, red staining on the diaper is still normal.
The baby should be bathed every day in warm soapy water.
Again, follow the Mohel's specific instructions. He may tell you to pour on oil every diaper change for two weeks, or to put on antibiotic cream.
Many Mohelim will instruct you to push the penis so that the glans is aiming downward toward the feet when closing the diaper. This can help it heal straighter.
Occasionally, the area may swell up a little bit. This can last for some time. It is usually nothing to worry about.