How To Properly Care For A Baby's Uncicumcised Penis
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We have decided not to circumcise our son when he is born. Is there anything special we need to do to care for/clean an uncircumcised penis? - Marc, Boston
The Physician Answers:
In general, an uncircumcised penis needs no extra care when he is a newborn. A freshly circumcised penis needs extra attention since circumcision, despite being routine in some cultures, is still considered minor surgery and along with that goes the risk of infection and the need for careful post-surgical care.
In your case, you will get off easily. The tip of the penis (glans) will be tightly covered by protective foreskin -- which is simply a flap of skin surrounding the glans penis. It is not separate from the penis at birth, and actually takes up to several years before the foreskin can -- or should -- be retracted. During this time, the foreskin is slowly separating from the penis. Forcing retraction prematurely can cause several major problems -- possibly even requiring surgery to once again place the foreskin over the head of penis. In this case, please let nature take its course, and allow your child's doctor to inform you when it's okay to retract the foreskin.
It will be necessary to retract the foreskin for proper cleaning of the end of the penis underneath. A waxy, whitish substance called smegma will appear on the end of the penis, which will need to be gently wiped away.
As an infant and toddler this will be a job for a parent, but as he grows more independent he will need to be taught how to properly wash his entire penis himself.
Good luck with the birth of your son and all the joys that are to follow.
Dr Jane Forester