Thursday, March 27th, 2008
So, About My Son’s Wee Willy
Whether to circumcise my son after his birth last week was a non-decision. There was no question in our mind about the issue.
I suspect most parents are the same way, regardless of where you fall. We approached the decision with our minds pretty well fixed.
I won’t rehash the pro and con here, except to say the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend all infant boys be circumcised.
Instead, I want to share my own surprise at a big question I hadn’t asked until after the birth: I am circumcised. It’s what I know. How do I care for my baby’s uncircumcised penis?
After all, I’ve often heard that a cut penis is "cleaner" and uncircumcised ones are prone to infection.
The answer was revealing when I requested an informational flyer from a nurse about caring for an intact foreskin.
The flyer, written by a local pediatric practice, devoted both sides of the paper to the pros and cons of the issue and post-circumcision care, but only a paragraph for parents choosing to remain au naturel.
A baby care booklet from our own pediatrician was the same way:
"Care for the Foreskin: At birth, boys have skin that covers the tip of the penis called the foreskin. It usually cannot be fully retracted (pulled back) for several years and it should not be forced back. Once the foreskin can be easily retracted (this can take 2-12 years), it should be pulled back and cleansed with baths."
An anti-circumcision website puts it more simply: "The intact penis needs no special care." Great googly moogly! Okay, that’s a little too simple, but the point is driven home. God / nature did its job well.
Sure, it’s possible for repeated infections to occur if a foreskin is not cared for well and some might then call for circumcision in adolescence, but by and large, this appendage seems pretty well designed to take what life has in store for it.
In my experience so far, baby boys seem easier to care for than baby girls, except for the whole grapefruit squirt thing during diaper changes.
In any case, I won’t end this article with a question. I’m pretty sure everyone has some pretty strong feelings on the issue.