After the brit milah is over, there are a number of things that are important to be aware of. There are really only 3 main possible complications.
1. Post brit milah bleeding
2. The bandages falling off – uncommon.
3. A too tight bandage limiting urination – very very uncommon.
Bleeding after a brit milah
Bleeding is the most common possible complication after the brit. There are blood vessels that sometime are slow to clot and if the bandage does not apply enough pressure, the child may bleed. Pressure on the wound will always stop bleeding in a healthy child. The bandage that we use is a pressure dressing. Much like a band-aid on a finger, the bandage compresses the wound and stops bleeding after the brit milah.
How to know if your child has excessive bleeding after the brit milah ?
I place 3 layers of bandages. 2 long ones that are rolled around the penis and a gauze pad with vaseline folded over and stuck to the the tip of the penis. There will be some blood on the bandages rolled around the penis, that was from right after the brit. However, we want to see a mostly white set of bandages, with a little red. THE FIRST TIME THE BABY URINATES, HE WILL DO SO THROUGH THE DRIED BLOOD AND THE BANDAGES WILL LOOK PINKISH. That is normal.
Bleeding is when the entire bandage, gauze pad and diaper, have a DEEP DARK WET RED STAIN. Dry red on the bandages, with most of the bandages being white is not considered bleeding.
What Causes Bleeding?
If the bleeding has stopped at the brit, and I won’t leave until we know it has, then the most common reason for bleeding is that the bandage or the wound is disturbed by the baby moving, which opens it up and allows the bleeding to start again. To prevent this, we will do 3 things.
1. Have somebody hold his legs apart when you change the diaper, so he does not kick himself.
2.Wrap him in 2 diapers and swaddle him tightly.
3. Best to let him sleep in his carriage and not pass him around to be held.
Removing the bandages and post brit care
Do not touch the bandages. Bring the baby to me 24 hours after the brit to remove them. A few hours before the appointment, put the baby in a bath or wet the bandages to help them come off easily. When they come off, the wound often is scary looking but heals quickly within a few days. Don’t be afraid. Do not put any medicines or creams on him, but bathe him frequently, for the few days after removing the bandages. The first bath is 24 hours after they are removed.
Complications are really rare after a brit performed by an experience mohel. Feel free to call with any questions.