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Calming an Infant After Circumcision

By Rachel Pancare ; Updated June 13, 2017

Circumcision is a procedure to remove the skin covering the end of the penis, called the foreskin. While an infant circumcision typically only takes 5 minutes, hearing your child cry during or after the procedure is often upsetting. Wanting to calm an infant who's fussy after a circumcision is natural.

Hold Your Infant

Immediately after the circumcision is over, hold your infant close. If he's agitated and fussy, try to calm him by rocking him in your arms, speaking softly and making comforting sounds. Typically, numbing agents, such as a topical cream or an injectable anesthetic, are used to lessen the pain. In addition to anesthesia, an acetaminophen suppository is sometimes inserted into the infant's rectum. This helps reduce discomfort during the procedure and for several hours afterward. So if your child is crying following the procedure, it's probably more from fear than pain. Your warmth and familiar smell and voice should help soothe him. Stroke his head and rub or pat his back.

Sucrose Pacifier

You can offer your infant a sucrose pacifier before, during and after the procedure. According to the KidsHealth website, a pacifier dipped in sugar water can help reduce stress and discomfort. Infants have a natural sucking reflex -- and often suck to self-soothe. While the act of sucking on a pacifier can help calm your infant during and after his circumcision, the sweetness can further help him relax.

Take Your Infant Out of the Room

If your son was circumcised during a religious ceremony, you might consider taking him to another room after the procedure. Find a quiet place away from family members and friends so he doesn't get overwhelmed or overstimulated. If the circumcision was performed in your home, for instance, you might choose to sit on the couch in a back room or go upstairs to the nursery where you might have a rocking chair or glider. Stay together in this calm space until he has a chance to recover.


Nursing is a means of comfort for most newborns -- and being close to mom helps ease anxiety. According to the Sutter Health website, breastfeeding can help calm infants even if they're not hungry. You can try breastfeeding your infant as soon as possible after the procedure. Allow your infant to nurse for as long as he wants. He might even fall asleep.

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