If you’re expecting a baby boy, you already know the difficulty that comes with deciding whether circumcision is right for your baby. This is one of those parenting decisions that is taboo to discuss because people have VERY strong opinions.
Some people default to “dad’s opinion” because after all, he is the expert in that! Some people decide based on moral or religious beliefs. Others decide based on feelings surrounding cleanliness and health. Some just can’t make a decision because the information swirling around is overwhelming and ultimately, they choose to follow their gut.
We don’t think there is a right or wrong decision when it comes to circumcision and support your decision! What we would like to share is information on the care of your newborn’s penis.
Circumsized Penis Care
- Your doctor will give detailed instructions for the initial care of your son’s penis. These instructions typically involve keeping the area clean, covered in a barrier ointment and/or gauze to keep the penis from sticking to the diaper, and watching for signs of redness, infection, or pain. You might also ask about pain relief options when necessary.
- Cleaning a freshly circumcised penis is relatively simple. During diaper changes, gently wipe away any bowel movements from the penis with gentle soap, water, and a soft washcloth. Allow the area to air dry when possible.
- Avoid soaking the penis in water/baths until it is healed and/or the umbilical cord falls off. This typically occurs within the first 7-10 days following the procedure.
- Yellowish oozing and slight bleeding can be signs of normal healing but watch for persistent and/or heavy bleeding, persistent redness occurring more than five days following the procedure, yellow discharge that has a foul odor, fever, swelling, sores, or difficulty urinating. Any of these signs would warrant an immediate call to your pediatrician.
- Have patience and allow the penis to heal. Checking during diaper changes is important but otherwise, let the area heal.
- Once healed, continue gentle hygiene measures such as wiping the penis clean during diaper changes and cleaning with soap and water during baths. Ensure your area removing any bowel movements from any folds and crevices.
Intact Penis Care
- “If intact, do not retract. Only clean what is seen.” This basic quote sums up the basics of intact penis care. The foreskin is fused to the head of the penis, sometimes through puberty.
- Soap can be irritating to the sensitive tissue located in/on the penis. Wash the penis as you would any other body part, from the base to the tip, gently.
- Once the penis becomes retractable, you can teach your child to gently pull back the foreskin and wash and rinse as usual. This is something that you can discuss as your child grows during bath time.
- You might consider research on a pediatrician that respects the care of an intact penis by never forcing retraction during an examination.
- Be sure to educate your child care provider regarding the proper care of an intact penis should he or she perform diaper changes.
- Should soreness, infection, or itchiness occur, evaluate the products that are in contact with your child’s penis–diapers, soaps, bubble baths, etc. and eliminate the offensive product.
- When ballooning occurs, the urine will “balloon” under the foreskin and then quickly deflate as the urine leaves the tip of the foreskin. This is typically no cause for concern but if you notice the urine unable to exit or your child in pain, consult a doctor.
Written by: Melissa Nauss, Owner & Lead Doula of Stars and Stripes Doulas of New Orleans