So I know most mamas on here are having girls... at least it seems like it anyway.. but I want some advice from anyone who has boys that are NOT circumcised. We don't know what we are having but decided we won't be circumcising if it is a boy. My family is not super supportive of this and has been giving me all sorts of horror stories and telling me how hard it is to clean a diaper of an uncircumcised boy. Is it really that bad??? Can I get advice to prepare myself for how to properly care for him? I feel we have come to the right decision about it and have done our research and know why we don't want that surgery done, but I'd like a little more advice on how to care for him since everyone that is for circumcision is all about the horror of un-circumcision. Thanks!!!!
Who told you it's hard?! Are they crazy?! It's easier!
You treat an uncircumcised penis just like a finger. You don't retract anything and there's no special procedure at all.
If someone tries to retract a baby's foreskin before it's ready (and this usually doesn't happen until AT LEAST 2-3 years old and sometimes longer than than -- my son's 5 and he's just now messing around with it) THAT's when the nightmares can happen. It can tear, get infected or something like that.
But the overwhelming vast majority of intact penises require no special care or anything. If you notice redness accompanied by swelling, it might need a second look but redness alone is nothing to worry about. They get inflamed once in a while, just like a girl's labia.
Most of my friends have intact sons and we've all talked about how easy it is and don't know what people are talking about.
My nephew, who's intact, had a UTI once when he was 2 and I heard of one other person that I know personally whose son had some issues with the urethra hole (whatever that's called) being covered up completely by the foreskin.
things that are absolutely normal with an intact penis:
ballooning (the pee backs up a bit before coming out of the hole in the foreskin)
smegma (it happens, though it's never happened to us and you're supposed to leave it alone unless it becomes infected)
Our pediatrician told me to encourage my son to retract when he's bathing to make sure it gets clean, but only him and no one else. And only to start doing it if we notice it's getting funky.
DrMomma is a good website for intact penis info.
Sorry to sound so vehement, but I've been on the penis crusade for 5 years now.
I also thought I'd mention that most of my friends' partners are circ'd, as is my husband, and we all chose not to do it. It took a while for me to convince my husband because he used the old "i want him to look like me" and the locker room arguments and I put my foot down.
Not once in 5 years has my son mentioned that his penis looks different than his father's. It's totally a non-issue. I did explain to him not too long ago that not everyone's anatomy looks the same and that it's just fine.
My MIL was adamant that we do it, even though all three (soon to be four) of her grandsons are intact.
So, I do not have a son (outside of the uterus,) so I realize that you did not ask for my response/advice...but here I go anyhow! I wanted to echo pamelaRRR's post in that in most cases, an intact penis is easier to care for than a circ'd penis.
My husband is not circumcised, while his brother 2 years older is- apparently his mom did more research between babies and decided there was no point in doing so. I grill my husband all the time about the usual concerns, cleaning, etc...he assures me that for the most part, there is nothing to it. We will not be circumcising our son due in January. He laughs at the "wanting son to look like him" argument: he is a grown man with pubic hair, it will be a long time before their genitalia will look anything alike, and by then, it is not like they will be sharing a bath!
Also, all of the sons in my large mama community are uncirc'd, and if there is a rare issue, I usually hear about it. My only advice is to use a ped that is supportive and knowledgeable about proper care for the intact penis. I have heard doctors blame other urinary issues on the intact penis, when they in fact could have easily happened if the child was circ'd, as well as heard of doctors retracting the foreskin before it is ready.
Thanks PamelaRRRR and Neaera! I really appreciate both of your advice! We knew we would want to leave our son (if we have one) intact but I'm glad to have some back-up here! I just talked to my SIL tonight who has a little boy who is 6 weeks old and she said the same thing about cleaning it like a finger! Thanks for the encouragement!
Ugh, I'm sorry your family is giving you a hard time. My mom pointed out that DS was intact to my brother who was distinctly unimpressed and told me he will be made fun of for it. I blew him off and the conversation has never come up again. That was my only negative feedback. But I generally frown upon people inquiring about the status of my son's genitals (and I'm indifferent to the choices other people make) so it's not something I talk about often.
Anyway, there's nothing different about care at all. It's such a non-issue that I wouldn't even bother to spend the time defending your decision. I would just tell them they have no clue what they're talking about, end of story, end of unsolicited opinions!
I'm new to the forums, but my 13yr old and 20mo old are both intact(and my little boy due in Jan will be too) and they've had no issues. I was originally on the fence with my oldest, but he was very sick when he was born and would have had to come back to have it done. That cemented my decision to leave him intact. His father is circ'd and that was never an argument for it in our head, we just didn't know of any guys who weren't at the time. Then I came to find out that my father was intact, but then he chose to get circ'd when he joined the army back in the day(he also said that if he knew then what he knew now, he wouldn't have had it done). Yet, another reason that I was glad that I left my oldest intact. Most people say that doesn't make sense since my father chose to have it done, but my point is that it was HIS choice, not his parents.
I've actually found it easier to take care of an intact little boy because you just wipe it like a finger. I used to baby sit and work as a nanny, and when those circs are healing it is so hard to keep clean and healing. :( The only problem I've had is actually making sure that no one else tried to retract them when changing their diapers or doing checkups. I had to physically block and tell one Doctor to keep her hands off my youngest because she just pulled down his diaper and then tried to show me to retract him. Needless to say, we do not see her anymore.
Most people wouldn't even know, but if they ask I will tell them. One of my nephews was actually left intact because of discussions about it. So you never know when you might change someones' mind. :) Good luck!
I firmly believe that in another 20 years society will not be having these conversations :-)
I will say that 2 of our cousins had boys within a year of our son and both have had to have their circs revisited (one for adhesions and one wasn't cut correctly). The chaces of complications just supported my decision that it was an unnecessary procedure that wasn't my decision to make!
LOL PamelaRRRR - penis crusade!!!
My 2 boys are intact. never an issue for us or them. I would/will make the same decision each and every time.
I second all that PamelaRRRR said (and everyone else for that matter :) ).
Not always easy to stand firm (especially to family) but I figure I am showing them that there are other ways to do things :)
I feel like I should mention that my "penis crusade" is more of a quiet, non-pushy evangelism.
I'm happy to answer questions about it for anyone who's curious, and I usually mention to friends who find themselves pregnant with boys that my son is not circ'd and it's not a huge issue and that I'm happy to share resources or the reasoning behind our decision.
I mention it once, and say that I respect whatever decision the decide to come to, but I'm happy to provide a counterpoint to mainstream practices if they'd like to talk about it or get some more info.
I'm too confrontation-phobic to get into debates about it on facebook or anything. I'll bring it up if a crazy study comes out, or stories about statistics or circ rates lowering, etc., but I don't think I'd be considered an outspoken intactivist.
I've gotten pretty passionate about "right of child" as well even since my previous midwives had the no-circ talk with my hubby and I 4 years ago. My son is intact and we've never had an issue. I think there was only ever one diaper incident where I had to really really clean his penis. Both of my kids were "lightly diapered" due to EC fairly early so we didn't have much irritation (one case of diaper rash a piece).
Luckily that's one conversation that never came up with family - or if it did it was so very quickly dismissed by them when they knew what my feelings were that I barely remember it now :).
Thanks again everyone! At least my husband and I are on the same page and his family is too. Most of my husband's family doesn't circumcise either! So I do have some support. I have had more struggles with my family through this pregnancy than I'd like, but they seem to be coming around to OUR (my husband and I's) choices (home birth and so on.) I think it is just because these are firsts in my family that they freak about it. I may not even be having a boy so they could be getting worked up over nothing. I don't really care what they think about this.. I just more worry about them watching him (if it is a him lol) and trying to do more than they should to care for it. Ha maybe I am worrying over nothing!
This is actually a really good point that I have never considered. I never even talked about it with DS's babysitter and he spends all day with her twice a week! He has never looked irritated so I don't think she or anyone else has done any retracting. But I just assume that people won't do anything and there is a real chance that they might. Shoot.
All boys here, all intact as well. I totally commend you for your decision. Please tune out the ignorant comments of relatives. It's really none of their business anyway. The foreskin is there for a reason and, believe me, I've changed thousands of diapers with intact boys and there is nothing problematic in doing so. For the first years, the foreskin can be left alone. Babies/boys will, on their own, yank and pull and do whatever. Just let them. It's natural and, apart from encouraging and stressing to my boys to use soap and make sure to clean themselves, there is nothing else that needs to be done :) My oldest is old enough to have noticed that other boys are circumcised. We talked about the procedure and my son feels sorry for them and wonders why a parent would do that. Kids can make the decision if they want to do so to get circumcised. It'll be THEIR decision, not something that was, against their rights/wishes, be cruelly imposed upon them. Tune out the family and inform them that it's not on the table for discussion. Period.
And just so you know, there is no age when retraction "must" happen. Only about 50% of ten year olds (who have not been forcably retracted) are fully retractable. 2% of intact men (who have not been forcably retracted) will not be fully retractable and it is perfectly fine - it is just a variation on normal. There are some doctors who still wrongly will tell people that boys must be fully reracted by age 5. It is NOT true. Don't let anyone retract your son.
My son is not circumcised and we've never had any issues. A nurse practitioner did an exam on him when he was 4 months old and tried to retract his foreskin and I yelled, "STOP!" as she told me it was fine, I didn't know what I was talking about . As for family support, it's your baby, and aside from the baby's dad, it really shouldn't be anyone else's concern, right?
Comparing circ'd and uncirc'd sons, the uncirc'd one was way easier to clean. The penis is sealed up tight except for the pee-hole when men are babies and the foreskin will naturally separate, probably after they are already potty-trained. So poop getting under the foreskin is a non-issue. It's designed that way for a reason, imo.