Whether or not to circumcise your baby boy is a decision that every parent needs to make.
Some parents choose circumcision for religious or cultural reasons. You may also be concerned about health issues associated with your child not cleaning well around the foreskin and believe that circumcision is the most sanitary choice.
Circumcised males are less likely to suffer urinary tract infections in their youth or penile cancer as adults. Circumcision can also reduce the risk of spreading certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during sex.
Parents who choose not to circumcise believe that nature puts the foreskin on the penis for a reason and that taking it away goes against basic physiology. Other parents aren’t sure it’s right to make a decision to alter their baby’s anatomy before the child is able to consent. And while you might not quite be ready to visualize your baby as a sexual being, know that the foreskin is filled with nerves that are sensitive to touch and heighten sexual pleasure.
Given all the possible pros and cons of circumcision, it’s understandable that you’re overwhelmed with making the decision about whether to have your baby undergo the procedure – especially after you’ve just given birth. Luckily, you don’t have to make the decision before you leave the hospital. You can take your newborn home and think more about your options.
At First Pediatric Care Center, Dr. Margaret Lubega can help you decide if circumcision is right for your baby. You can discuss the pros and cons of the procedure with her at your newborn visit.
Here are some things to consider when it comes to circumcision and when it needs to be performed.
When to circumcise
Circumcision is usually done on the first or second day after the birth of a healthy baby. But, it can be done within 10 days of birth. For example, the Jewish ceremony of the brit mallah, or bris, in which a rabbi circumcises a baby boy occurs on the eighth day of life.
Circumcision performed when an infant is older than 2 months of age is riskier and more complicated. Circumcision can be performed on boys and grown men, but it’s more painful and healing takes longer. They usually need to go under general anesthesia and face greater risks of complications.
The process of circumcision
During circumcision, Dr. Lubega numbs the area around the penis with a local anesthetic and then attaches a special clamp to the organ. This clamp removes the foreskin, or hood, that covers the tip of the penis.
She’ll cover the newly circumcised penis with petroleum jelly and wrap it loosely with gauze. Complete healing takes seven to 10 days.
You’ll need to gently clean the penis with water every time you change your baby for the first days after the circumcision. Use gentle soap and water to clear away any stool that gets on the penis, too.
If you need more time to decide whether or not to circumcise your baby, take a few days. At First Pediatric Care Center, we’re ready to answer your questions. We can safely perform the procedure in the office if you want to wait until after you bring your infant home from the hospital. Use the booking tool here to make your child’s appointment at our office in Gastonia, North Carolina.