How should I care for an uncircumcised penis?

Q: My baby is not circumcised. How should I care for his penis?

A: When your son is first born, his foreskin is completely fused to his penis; over time it will slowly begin to retract (separate from the tip). This can happen as soon as a few weeks or it can take months or years. By age 5, most boys have retractable foreskin. Until the foreskin retracts, you should wash your son's penis like any other body part, with warm water and mild soap. Don't try to pull the foreskin back to clean underneath it. This will not only be painful for your son, it's also unnecessary, since germs or dirt won't accumulate where the foreskin is still fused with the penis. As your baby's foreskin retracts, you'll need to wash underneath it a few times a week. To do this, gently slip the foreskin back and rinse the area with warm water. (Once your son gets older he'll have to do this himself every day.) Foreskin is thin and fragile so never pull it back more than it seems to want to go. Shortly after your son's foreskin retracts, you may notice small, white bumps underneath it, which is totally normal. These cells once attached the foreskin to his penis and are now being shed.

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.

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