I'm not planning to have my newborn circumcised. How should I care for his uncircumcised penis?
Answer From Erik P. Castle, M.D.
In an uncircumcised penis, a fold of skin (foreskin) covers the head of the penis. If your baby isn't circumcised, simply wash his penis with nonirritating soap and water during each bath. There's no need to use cotton swabs or special cleansers.
At birth, the foreskin of most male babies doesn't yet pull back (retract) fully. Treat the foreskin gently, being careful not to force it back. Forcing it could cause pain, tearing and bleeding.
Consult the doctor if your baby seems to have discomfort while urinating — especially if the foreskin fills with urine or balloons out during urination — or the foreskin becomes red, itchy or swollen.
As your child gets older, the foreskin of his uncircumcised penis will begin to separate from the tip of the penis. This allows the foreskin to be retracted. As soon as the foreskin can be retracted, it's important to clean beneath it regularly. Teach him to:
- Gently pull back the foreskin
- Clean beneath the foreskin with mild soap and water
- Rinse and dry beneath the foreskin thoroughly
- Pull the foreskin back over the head of the penis
Encourage your child to follow the same procedure through adulthood as part of his daily bathing routine.
Feb. 07, 2020
- Wilcox D. Care of the uncircumcised penis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Dec. 15, 2017.
- Circumcision: Information for parents. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://patiented.solutions.aap.org/handouts.aspx. Accessed Jan. 30, 2018.