Questions about toddler and retraction or cleaning of intact penis - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 11-14-2007, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
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My intact son is 2 1/2 years old. He has pulled on/played with his foreskin/penis since he found it when he was 6 months old. I have never pulled back his foreskin before, but thought at some point it would retract itself. The other day I was wiping him (i blot his penis after he pees) and the foreskin seemed to move back easily. I thought maybe it was naturally retracting and so i very very gently pushed it back to see if it would go back.
i now feel horrible because i just got online here to read about it, and read the retraction sticky and i hope i didn't do any damage.
Anyway, I ended up being able to see the tip of the penis, but i didn't expose it.

My questions are- did i hurt my son? Oh God, I hope not.
-When are you supposed to pull it back and clean it?
-Can someone please tell me how to care for a toddler intact penis?
-how will i know if it the foreskin retracts? am i supposed to wait for him to do it himself

Please just educate me! i am sorry for my ignorance. i thought retraction was pulling it back hard ..and that if i was gentle it either would retract or it wouldn't and then i would know it wasn't ready. anyway, this was all sort of an accident ... i know that sounds crazy. but really it was.

The tip of his penis is slightly red alot, so i guess i was just concerned about if i was cleaning it enough.

Please dont think I am horrible, but can someone please educate me. I want to do the best thing for my son.

Thank you in advance.

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#2 of 6 Old 11-14-2007, 08:58 PM
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You probably didn't do any damage. If you did it would look red and irratated. Just don't do it again.

The age at which boys become retractible is very variable. Any time between birth and puberty is perfectly normal. If it happens while he is still a toddler he will get excited and show you. If it doesn't happen till he is older then he may want to keep it private.

Sometime around puberty he should start retracting to clean it. He should use plain water with no soap. It is important to put the foreskin back in place and not leave it retracted, if left retracted it can get stuck which is a trip to the ER. If this ever happens he does not need to be circ'd, worst case scenario is a dorsal slit (you do want to avoid that but it's not as bad as circ.)

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
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#3 of 6 Old 11-14-2007, 09:34 PM
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I know some of the posts about retraction (even gentle) here can be fairly strongly worded, but I do not think it is necessary to have such a fear of moving one's son's foreskin. If you did move it and it moved easily, no big deal; sometimes this will even happen accidently just wiping up with a diaper change; again, no big deal.

The point is, is that YOU don't need to be the one moving it around to clean under it, check on it, or do anything special with it. By the time your son is 4-5 years old, he should be developmentally ready to learn to take on an occasional "Retract/Rinse/Replace" in clean tub water or the shower. Until then, all that needs to be done is continue to wash off the outside, or just soak him in clean bath water, just as you have been so far.

The tip of the foreskin is typically pinkish, because of the vascular blush of the inner mucus membrane surface, also the glans is normally quite reddish in the intact penis. Neither of these is an indicator of infection in themselves, unless there are significant other symptoms like swelling or pain that doesn't go away after a day or so (these symptoms can come and go transitorily as the foreskin undergoes gradual separation from the glans). So don't worry about that.

Don't feel bad about this. Raising intact sons in a circumcising culture like the US is a learning process for all of us. Heck, I had my boys pre-Internet (1980s) and I was "checking" their foreskins all the time (no other information available at the time), with no harm done. But now I know there's just no need for it, could have potentially introduced bacteria, etc. When you hear an emphasis on not retracting here, it's out of a knowledge that the foreskin is going to take care of itself for the most part, that there is no need for it to be invasively handled (by physician or parent), and to take care to avoid putting too much force on the foreskin before its ready to open up easily on its own. But no need for paranoia!

JMO, Gillian
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#4 of 6 Old 11-15-2007, 06:56 AM
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My questions are- did i hurt my son? No from your description you didnt hurt him.
-When are you supposed to pull it back and clean it? Never, the only person that should ever retract to clean is the owner of the penis.
-Can someone please tell me how to care for a toddler intact penis? The same way you have been caring for it since he was born. Wipe it like a finger and the occasional swish in the bath tub is still all that is needed.
-how will i know if it the foreskin retracts?You will know if you see him do it or if he tells you it can.
supposed to wait for him to do it himself? Yes you wait for him to do it his self. As he gets older you can remind him to wash his bumm and his penis and you can tell him that he can pull the skin back if he wishes making sure to always put it back after but that wont be until he is old enough to understand.

If your ds is anything like mine when he is in the bath he plays with it enough by pulling on it to get it clean. At 3yo my ds is still not old enough for me to explain to him about retract, rinse, replace. I have no idea if he is retractable or not.

The inner foreskin is often very bright pinky/red because of the high blood vessel content. Likewise the glans of the intact penis will be a very bright purply/red. Both are normal and no cause for concern unless there is swelling and/or foul smelling discharge.

SAHMlovin' to DD 10/00 & DS 10/04 If your son is intact, keep him safe, visit the Intact Care forum Circ, a personal choice, Your SONS 11/98 6/99 Thyroid cancer survivor. With 5 & 2 Boxers wishing for
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#5 of 6 Old 11-15-2007, 09:15 AM
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You're doing just fine! Just let it be.

CPST ***I can help keep your child safe in the car. Ask me a car seat question!***
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#6 of 6 Old 11-15-2007, 02:22 PM
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have no fear! things are fine. it can start pulling away even that young. and an unforced retraction doesnt spell disaster in my book. just dont make it a habit.

relax mama
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