Difference between partially and fully retractable? Advice on cleaning needed. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 05-23-2011, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
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My eight month old is at least partially retractable, because I can see some of the tip of his penis when he's playing with it in the bath.  My question is, should you clean a partially retractable penis the same as if he was fully non-retractable?  My understanding is that when they are fully retractable, you should clean at least periodically (AAP says an occasional retraction with cleaning will do), so obviously I'm concerned that if he is fully retractable now, I should be cleaning.  Having gone through the whole forced retraction thing by our ex-Ped at four months (posted elsewhere on the forum), it has made me somewhat paranoid that I will cause damage if I try and retract it myself.  I guess what I'm looking for is advice on the best way to care and clean when it's partially but not necessarily fully retractable.  I would much prefer to wait until he is able to retract and clean it himself, but given that he is so young, that's not an option.


All advice and experience greatly appreciated.



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#2 of 3 Old 05-23-2011, 10:30 PM
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I wouldn't mess with it at all.  First off- the more you retract it the more you open it up for dirt, bacteria, etc. to get in there.  The skin now acts as protection against that sort of thing.  Also, it will take care of itself :)

When he is older and able to tend to it on his own, he can gently retract and rinse the area in the shower.  But until then, no care is really necessary.  I think the best article I read compared it to the clitoris.  It stated- No one tells girls to retract the skin around the clitoris and clean it out!  Same goes fir the foreskin/head of the penis.  There's a whole system going on in there to keep the Ph balance correct and the body keeps itself clean, just as the inside of the vagina regulates Ph balance and has a self-cleaning process.


You're best bet is to leave it be and let it do it's thing.  If *anything* you could gently pull the skin back just as far as it will easily go and allow clean water to rinse the area.  But you do not want to get soap in there, as it will mess with the Ph balance and clean the protective "coating" from the glans. 


This is all just what I found in researching it, because I had the same questions about my son when his skin started to become partially retractable!!  I believe the article I referred to is actually one that I found on this website.

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#3 of 3 Old 05-24-2011, 04:21 AM
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Unless he is old enough to retract and put it back himself it shouldnt be done.

Swishing in the bath fro even a fully retractable little one is all that is needed for cleaning. I have never messed with my ds's past swishing in the bath and letting him play with it in there himself. Like your ds he was more than capable of pulling and tugging on it in the bath enough to get it clean.

I have never retracted my dd's clitoral hood or got up in there with a squirt bottle it is self cleaning. I cant imagine messing with either genders genitals that much. As ds has gotten older I have told him to move the skin back and rinse in the bath to get him in the habit of doing so for later on but I didnt even start that till he was around 4yo when he was capable of understanding what I was talking about.

The major risk with even retracting a little is mico tears that allow in bacteria and also the risk of paraphimosis goes way up if anyone other than the owner of the penis starts messing about with it. The thing is that even if it feels like it is going back easy and you are not forcing it you just dont know because it isnt attached to your body.

By leaving it alone you will not cause any problems or damage but by messing with it you might cause damage and problems to me that = leave it alone.

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