by Barry and Richard
Okay, now that you’ve calmed down a bit after reading that word, let’s talk.
Little dudes are born with what is called foreskin, a layer of skin that covers the head, or glans, of the penis. Unlike in older boys, the foreskin on newborns can’t be pushed back at all. If the little dude gets circumcised, then the foreskin is cut away, leaving the head visible.
If you decide not to get your son circumcised, then over the next few years, the foreskin will gradually separate from the head of the penis and can be pushed back.
So, if the same results will be achieved through time, then why put the baby through getting skin cut off his penis?
Well, if you’re Jewish or Islamic, it’s because it’s a symbol of your covenant with God or Allah. In fact, circumcision is thought to be the oldest medical procedure still performed today.
In the United States, it’s become traditional for most little dudes to get circumcised in the first few days after they are born. This trend really got started in the late 1800s and it’s been going strong ever since.
There have been a number of justifications for the routine circumcision of boys. Among them that it would make the head of the penis less sensitive (it doesn’t) which would, therefore, make masturbation less tempting. Those early justifications also included that circumcision would cure epilepsy, syphilis, asthma, lunacy and TB. Medical science has since discounted all of these claims.
According to a 1989 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the only provable medical benefit to circumcision was that uncircumcised dudes had a 10 times greater risk of contracting a urinary tract infection, which, in severe cases, can lead to hospitalization. However, most urinary tract infections can be treated and cured with antibiotics.
Circumcision, though, has marched merrily along and continues to be done in most hospitals. A lot of the time, little dudes get circumcised because the big dudes were also circumcised. It’s sort of like a tradition.
However, according to some statistics we read in a book (so you wouldn’t have to), the percentage of circumcisions done each year in the United States has been going down since the 1980s. By the time the mid-1990s had rolled around, the circumcision rate had dropped from 80 percent in 1986, to only 50 percent.
If you and your partner have decided to have the little dude circumcised, it will probably be done at the hospital when he’s maybe two to three days old. When it gets done, the doctor will probably put on some petroleum jelly and a temporary bandage. The bandage will come off the next time the little dude pees.
The most important thing you will do is to keep the penis as clean as possible until it is completely healed. Then, of course, you just keep it really, really clean. Make sure when you are cleaning the little dude’s circumcised penis that you are as gentle as possible and use a mild soap and water to clean it.
After the circumcision, the penis will look very red and there might be a yellowish secretion coming from the tip. Both of these, oddly enough, show that the penis is healing naturally. But if the redness and secretion don’t start to go away by the end of a week after the procedure, then there might be an infection. If that happens, you should take the little dude to the doctor you already selected.
If you decide not to circumcise, then there’s still some stuff you need to know on how to care for the little dude’s penis. All you need to do during the first few months is wash it with mild soap and water. Because the foreskin is connected to the head of the penis it won’t roll back, so don’t try. Another thing not to try is cleaning the opening in the foreskin with a q-tip. As long as you’re cleaning it, the uncircumcised penis should be just fine.
After several months or years, the foreskin will separate from the head of the penis and can then be retracted. Once that is possible, you’ll need to retract the foreskin occasionally during baths to clean the penis underneath.
We’ll talk more about keeping the penis clean in the section on bathing. We bet you can’t wait for that.
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