Pulling DOWN on 3 mo. old foreskin?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 08-21-2010, 04:31 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, here it goes...my first post. I took my 3 month old DS to the pediatrician today. He is a board cert. pediatrician as well as a holistic practitioner, so I came in to the appointment prepared to trust his advice (seemed well-rounded and knowledgable about alternative medicine). I have seen him previously for my 3 yr. old DD, and was impressed with him.
Anyway, I asked him about care for the uncircumcized penis (already knowing I should just leave it alone and not retract). Well, he told me to periodically pull down on it, and then slightly/gently push up to make sure it didn't get stuck in a too far down position. This goes against what I thought was correct. Can this cause damage too, just like pulling back/retracting can cause damage?
What worries me the most is that when I took my DS in for his first visit last month, I also took my three year old DD with me. At the point where it was time for the exam, my DD needed to use the potty, like right now, so against my better judgment I took her and let the doctor start the exam with out me (there was an attendant in the room too, but still). The ped. was putting DS's diaper back on when we came back. Now I am worried sick that he did that to my son when I wasn't there to protect him. It definitely made me uncomfortable to leave him, and I should have listened to that. I have only very recently become aware that doctors are often ignorant and forceably retract foreskins...I certainly would not have left him had I known what I know now. With that said, he wasn't crying or fussing in any way upon my return (I was gone maybe three minutes). Seemed perfectly comfortable.

What do you think? Do I need to be worried? Is pulling DOWN (even gently)also bad, like forceably retracting UP? Thanks so much for any advice!!
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#2 of 7 Old 08-21-2010, 04:46 AM
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I can't really visualize what he means by that, and what the benefit would be. It sounds entirely unnecessary. And "to make sure it doesn't get stuck in a far down position"?

I wouldn't think pulling down would be dangerous but I don't see why anyone feels the need to pull babies' penises around at all.
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#3 of 7 Old 08-21-2010, 09:06 AM
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I wouldn't worry about it fi you son seems happy and not bothered. While it is true that doctors have no need to look, and should not retract, it does not mean that if they retract they will defintiely cause trouble.

You were not there, so you do not know if he even touched your son's penis. My son's were going to a docotr that was foreskin friendly before I knew much about the retraction issue. Our doctor pulled the foreskin down gently each visit. While I no know that was not appropriate, there was never any discomfort or consequence from it. And the boy himself will be doing that to himself.

The problem, and why it is important not to let doctors do this, is that the child can feel what is happening and stop before it causes a problem. But a doctor, clueless about the proper care of foreskins, and misinformed about how to care for them, can do great damage in a split second. And this damage can have long term consequences.

So it is best to be vigilent, and risk averse. But from what you said, you were vigilant, just you had too many things to deal with at once, but nothing was done that will cause problems.

Best wishes
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#4 of 7 Old 08-21-2010, 12:41 PM
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Anyways I would more likely imagine he proably did do that since he is suggesting Wrong Care for the intact penis so I suggest you educate him with pamphlets and say No Diapers off.
Imagine if you got that advice and you didn't know it was the Wrong advice you proably would do what the doctor said not realizing he was ignorant on the subject .

So I wonder how many parents out there are doing his Wrong Advice because a One time retraction won't usually harm by a doctor but still can sometimes harm alot which doesn't seem to be in your son's situation. Also a parent to continously to do that Wrong Advice the ped suggested would do harm so give your doctor a NO Circ pamphlet on premature forcible retraction.
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#5 of 7 Old 08-21-2010, 03:08 PM
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I wouldn't allow my son's dr. to do that. I think if you pull down hard enough, it could possibly rip the foreskin away from the glans. I just wouldn't chance it. Did he give a reason for doing that? My son's dr. did try to look at the tip at the first couple appointments and I asked her to stop and she hasn't tried since (he's 6 months).

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#6 of 7 Old 08-21-2010, 03:47 PM
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The Dr is definitely giving you bad advice. You should just leave the foreskin alone.

Of course there is no way to know for sure what the Dr did while you were out, but since your DS wasn't fussing whatever it was couldn't be too bad. If it starts to look red and irritated later, then you'll know why.

The problem with "gently" pulling back to see if it is retractable yet is that the person doing the pulling can't tell what it feels like, so there is a chance that they will cause damage with out noticing it. Judging solely on the baby's reaction to the pulling can be misleading. Babies frequently react strongly to completely painless things (DS wailed and clung to me when being put on the scale and weighed) but don't react much to obviously painful things (when DS had a finger prick to check iron levels, he just looked at his finger curiously and then played with the bandaid) at the Dr's office. Never mind what a fussy term "gently" is.

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#7 of 7 Old 08-22-2010, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the replies. I am going to call the doctor's office tomorrow and talk to him. I assumed he likely did pull on DS's foreskin since he was advocating it, but I will ask point blank and then attempt to educate him on proper care (i.e. no pulling, etc.) This whole experience has confirmed for me that I will need to be very very vigilant about protecting DS from doctors and others who are ignorant about foreskin care. From now on, I will not even let someone take off his diaper without first saying no retraction, and please don't even touch his penis.
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