Infant Foreskin Care

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Care for his foreskin with basic hygiene practices.

KidsHealth reports that 55 to 65 percent of newborn boys in the United States are circumcised each year for religious, hygiene or social reasons. With more than half of parents of infant boys choosing circumcision, parents who have chosen to leave their son intact may be unsure of how they are to care for his foreskin.

  1. Purpose

    • The purpose of foreskin care differs from that of an older boy or adult male. When caring for the foreskin of infant, the goal is for you to maintain basic hygiene in the baby boy's genital area. While the care of the foreskin of an older boy or adult male requires him to thoroughly clean the area to insure it does not become infected. Additional care of the foreskin may be necessary if you find redness or a rash.

    Process

    • Providing foreskin care for an infant requires you to gently cleanse the outer skin of the foreskin with a mild soap and water. If caring for your infant son's foreskin after you have detected redness or rash, The Paediatric Society of New Zealand suggests that you may want to allow him to soak in the bathtub, but avoid skin irritants such as bubble bath when doing so. They also suggest you eliminate harsh laundry detergents, allow him to sit without a diaper for a while and change his diapers more frequently until the area has returned to normal.

    Considerations

    • If your infant son's foreskin has been prematurely retracted, the care required may be more detailed. In the event of early retraction or any other issues that may arrive with his foreskin, contacting your health care provider for information on how to care for the foreskin is the best course of action. Additionally, if you find white pearly pieces of debris near the tip of your son's penis, this does not mean he has developed an infection that requires additional care. The debris is from the skin shedding on the inner foreskin as a part of the natural retraction process that occurs over time.

    Misconceptions

    • It is a common misconception that when caring for the foreskin of an infant you must use additional cleaning tools such as cotton swabs and astringents. These items could actually cause irritation to foreskin or accidental tears in the foreskin and are not necessary when cleaning the genital area of an infant.

    Expert Insight

    • Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and The Paediatric Society of New Zealand advise parents that the best course of action in regards to caring for the foreskin of their infant's penis is to simply leave it alone. They emphasize that you should never under any circumstances push back or forcibly retract the foreskin when bathing your son.

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  • Photo Credit baby #21 image by Adam Borkowski from Fotolia.com

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