NOTE: To be honest, I was reluctant to write this blog post as I’m entering highly-controversial topic territory. The Moms Talk bloggers accept and speak to all sides of the argument, but I ask that any comments associated with this post remain respectful and do not judge or attack moms and dads who make their own decision to circumcise their own children. Please don’t hijack this post with anti-circumcision rhetoric; this is advice for post-circumcision care.
After having two beautiful girls, I was overwhelmed with joy to discover that I was pregnant with a baby boy. From the first moment I heard his heartbeat, I was in love. I immediately busied myself with trying to find the best maternity ward and the most natural OBGYN in the UAE. I envisioned a serene and peaceful birth. I neatly folded his tiny baby boy onesies and booties and couldn’t wait to meet him. One thing I avoided preparing for or thinking about was his circumcision. I honestly did not really have much wiggle room when it comes to the circumcision decision. I did it solely for faith-based and medical reasons – please don’t judge.
If you are a mom like me and decide to circumcise, you must go through three steps that requires extensive research before moving forward: (1) where to find a well qualified Pediatric Surgeon that you are comfortable with, (2) which type of procedure are you most comfortable with, and (3) when you would like to do the procedure (within the first week, or after 40 days, etc). I highly recommend starting this research during your third trimester if possible.
I’ll admit, I spent my whole pregnancy avoiding this, but right after I had #MySharif, I rolled up my sleeves and started researching. After extensive Google time, and tons of phone calls… I decided to go with (1) the most recommended consultant Pediatric Surgeon, Dr. Ahmed Hilfi, (2) the Plastibell Ring (which seems like the most humane option), and (3) to circumcise within the first 10 days.
- Do your research early on and make sure you are comfortable with your choices.
- Schedule the appointment for earlier in the day as the nerve block injection wears off after a couple of hours and the first 8-12 hours are the toughest. It is much easier to soothe the baby during the day than through the night. Trust me, I made the mistake of scheduling the circumcision for 7:30pm!
- Give your baby boy a warm bath before the procedure. It calms him down and you might decide not to bathe him for up to a week after the procedure.
- Dress your baby in easy access clothing. Nothing tight or anything that requires multiple steps to remove or put back on.
- Make sure you have your health insurance and Emirates ID as they might ask for the mother’s details.
- Arrive early. Don’t rush to the office. Feed the baby. Take a deep breath.
What to expect on the day:
- The doctor will talk to you briefly about the procedure then examine your baby.
- They will roll in a baby cot to carry your baby to the room next door.
- You will wait in the doctor’s office next door for 5-10 minutes.
- The doctor will brief you on pain relief measures and prescribe medication and anti-bacterial ointment.
- You will take your baby home on the same day and should expect some swelling and tiny bit of bleeding.
- Expect that 1-2 hours after the procedure your baby will feel some pain and might be fussy and hard to put down for a nap. This will last for the next 8-12 hours.
Post-Circumcision soothing & pain relief tips:
To be honest, it was hard for me to see my baby Sharif in distress at 2:00am! I kept reminding myself that millions of baby boys throughout history have gone through this procedure successfully and at the end of the day we will be fine! I honestly questioned my judgement a couple of times. But was determined to make it work and make the best out of the situation. Here are some pain relief and soothing tips that I used following Sharif’s circumcision. I wish someone shared with me some of these tips prior to the procedure.
Ouchie 911: Lidocaine spray & Adol
The doctor prescribed a Lidocaine spray – the fastest and one of the most effective topical numbing agents, and recommend to spray it as needed. Seriously? IT IS NEEDED! So expect to spray it generously every hour for the first 8 hours. I set a timer since it was the middle of the night and I was exhausted and would lose track of time. Make sure you know how to use the spray and test that the pump actually works BEFORE you leave the pharmacy. I heard a horror story of a mom who was given a broken pump and while the baby was crying inconsolably, she had to go back to the pharmacy to get a new one. I also gave Sharif a half dose of acetaminophen (Adol/Tylenol) two hours after the procedure. This combo helped him a lot!
Keeping it fresh! Cotton pads & Seventh Generation wipes
Without fail, I cried every single time I had to change his diapers – I was so gentle and took my time. I had a little glass cup filled with warm water to soak cotton pads (20 AED/pack, mothercare) and squeezed warm water onto his penis instead of wiping. These pads were so helpful to avoid any irritation by wiping or even dabbing the swollen area. I left the soiled diaper under him to catch the flow of warm water. I then rinsed the Seventh Generation wipes in warm water to wipe his bottom (22 AED, Youmah.com). I love these wipes because they are alcohol-, fragrance-, and dye-free. This way I ensured making sure Sharif was not irritated by the cold, chemicals, or wiping.
Lubricate and don’t irritate: Fucidin, Tucks, & Teepee Peepee
I put diapering ointment on his bottom as usual, but for the actual circumcision site I used a combo of treatments that helped my baby a lot! I spread the doctor-prescribed Fucidin ointment (to inhibit infections) on a Tucks Witch Hazel pad (which has a soothing effect) and placed it on top of his penis. I then covered the whole site gently with a Pee Pee Teepee cone (see photo above). Finally I would loosely double-diaper. Voila, an awesome combo, aye? The ointment and cone keeps the wound site from sticking to the diaper. The double diapering helps create a comfy cushion and less pressure on the penis while it heals.
Last but not least: Lots of cuddles
This is a given. Please don’t plan on tackling a long to-do list that week. Just be present and give your baby a lot of cuddles and love. I just sat for a whole week giving Sharif a lot of cuddles and love. I sang, rocked, cuddled and breastfeed 24/7. It really helped him a lot. The ring fell off perfectly on schedule on day six. We celebrated and put the 6 days behind us.
If you have any additional tips to share with moms who decide to circumcise, please place it in the comment section below!
For male circumcision or tongue tie procedures in Abu Dhabi:
Dr. Ahmed Hilfi, Consultant Pediatric Surgeon
+971 2 674 4438 or +971 50 446 3557
Unit # 303, 3rd Floor, Block B, Al Hamra Plaza, Zayed 2nd Street (Electra Road)
Madinat Zayed, Abu Dhabi, Opposite Eldorado Cinema
Sudanese-American working mom of three. Free Spirit. Idea Curator. Her brain moves faster than her body can go. A laid back chic who walks around with that stereotypical hippie vibe. She is never afraid to give you her unsolicited opinion about gentle parenting. Esraa has been actively over-sharing her motherhood and parenting stories on social media since 2008.
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