Getting Your Baby Circumcised? What You Need To Know
If you are pregnant and having a baby boy soon you might be wondering about getting your baby circumcised. When I was pregnant with my son the thought never even crossed my mind until my last couple of months! Once I started thinking about it, something I previously thought would be a no brainer for me was becoming a bit more complicated. I wasn’t sure if I actually wanted to get my baby circumcised.
I had so many questions like how is the procedure done? Will it be too painful? And to be honest I didn’t even know why babies got circumcised. These were some questions I had for my doctor during my next visit but of course, I forgot half of the questions I wanted to ask. Damn pregnancy brain! Anyway, I scoured the internet for as much credible information I could find on baby circumcision. I’m gonna lay it all out here for you so you don’t have to!
Before we get started I just want to make it clear that I am not a health care professional. I’m just a mom who’s been through this so I’ve done tons of research on baby circumcision! With that being said let’s chat…
What Is Baby Circumcision?
Male circumcision is the surgical removal of the skin that covers the tip of the penis. This piece of skin is known as the foreskin removing this layer of skin exposes the tip of the penis. Baby circumcision is a relatively common surgical procedure in the US that is completely optional.
Why Are Babies Circumcised?
Sometimes there are medical reasons for getting your baby circumcised,
If the foreskin is too tight to be pulled back (retracted) over the tip (glans).
To treat a disease such as pathological phimosis (lichen sclerosus).
Recurrent balanitis or recurrent urinary tract infections.
In other cases, people get their babies circumcised for religious reasons.
The most common choice for circumcision in the US is for various health benefits (more about this below) and the appearance of the penis.
Pros Of Getting Your Baby Circumcised
Lower risk of men getting HIV and sexually transmissible infections (STIs) than men who are not circumcised
Easier genital hygiene – Circumcision makes it easier to keep the penis clean
Lower risk of a baby getting a urinary tract infection (UTI) in his first year of life
No risk of him getting infections under the foreskin
Lower risk of getting cancer of the penis
Some prefer the look of a circumcised penis vs uncircumcised
Cons Of Getting Your Baby Circumcised
Of course, there’s always the risk of complications no matter how common the operation or how good the doctor is.
Too much foreskin removed – The foreskin is attached to the glans (tip of the penis) on the inner surface, so it is possible to draw skin from the shaft up into a circumcision device and remove too much.
Not enough foreskin removed – A normal circumcision removes the skin to the point where the tip is completely exposed. If too little skin is removed it could result in another surgery to correct the problem.
Bleeding – Bleeding is one of the most common complications of baby circumcision, it’s usually very mild and can be stopped with direct pressure and a gauze pad. But on rare occasions, excessive bleeding requires another procedure.
Infection – Infection is another infrequent complication of getting your baby circumcised. If done under the proper sterile conditions the risk of infection is very low.
Improper Healing – Like any other wound the possibility for abnormal healing is present with circumcision. This is an unusual occurrence but a possibility.
Though complications with newborn circumcisions are rare, they are still a possibility so it’s worth knowing about. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, but the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal circumcision.
Related: Why You Should Say NO As A New Mom
After his circumcision, your baby may be fussy and irritable. It’ll take 7 to 10 days for him to heal completely. You have to keep it clean and change the gauze after each diaper change. They usually provide you with enough gauze and petroleum jelly to last a couple of days after you leave the hospital. I bought extra gauze and scent-free vaseline from my local Walgreens. The last thing I wanted was to run out of vaseline and have his penis get stuck to the gauze or his diaper. Stick with sponge baths until your baby’s penis is healed and his umbilical cord drops off.
Choosing whether or not to get your baby boy circumcised is a big decision. This can be a very controversial subject but I personally believe as long as you make an informed decision there’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to getting your baby circumcised.