The Circumcision Decision

Written by

Patrice D’Agostino

10:21 am
05/11/15

Photo via The Uncaged Life

To say circumcision is a hot button issue amongst parents is a tremendous understatement. Like all things parenting, the conversation around whether or not to circumcise, brings out passionate perspectives from each side of the debate. Let’s face it, either choice is a big deal and making the most informed decision regarding this procedure is the best thing a parent can do for their child. We here at Mother have decided to pool five important points to consider about circumcision regardless of your position. We certainly cannot make this decision for you, but we can offer a few helpful tips to aid your research.

Who Makes the Decision: It is often argued that because the husband has the same hardware, he should be the primary parent to decided to circumcise or not. While his opinion on the matter can offer valuable insights, ultimately the decision should be up to both parents. In this respect, both parents should be well versed in all the recent data regarding the procedure so whatever your choice, it is an informed one. Also, a mutually agreed upon decision about a surgical procedure for your baby will leave both parents feeling at ease.

Consider the Science: While we wish we could say with surety, “the science is settled”, it in fact is not because it’s science, which is simply empiricism, not fact. So, there are many studies that will suggest circumcision is a necessary procedure to ensure penile health, while other more contemporary studies suggest such data is now antiquated. Read as much as you can from various standpoints and determine what makes you feel most comfortable choosing for your son.

The Element of Pain: While the point here is to be neutral, one fact is for sure, circumcision is painful. Contrary to traditional beliefs, babies do experience pain. In fact, this study published just a few weeks ago suggests that infants experience pain like adults. So, knowing this what should one do? Of course, that’s entirely up to you, but here are some things to ponder.

There are those who consider the pain of circumcision too brutal to make a child endure and others who find it negligible. That’s all up for debate but if you decide to move forward with the procedure, make sure you have steps in place to help your baby cope with the inevitable pain. First, do not assume all practitioners use a local anesthesia when performing circumcisions. Call around and find out for sure who does and who does not. It seems best to find one who will for the sake of your baby. Secondly, understand that aftercare involves a level of pain, as well and prepare accordingly. In addition to proper care of the wound, lots of nursing and cuddling are in order to emotionally support baby.

All About Hygiene: We’d hope your little one is taught to keep his “peter” clean regardless however there are some differences that should be wagered. In terms of infant care, intact babies do not require more care than circumcised babies. In fact, you should not manipulate your baby’s foreskin. Health professionals suggest that the foreskin should only be retracted by your child when they are old enough and curious enough to do so themselves. Yes, as your intact child grows older and begins bathing themselves there are cleaning techniques that they’ll need to know. However, there is nothing “technical” about it as it’s not procedure, just a little extra lather down below should do the trick.

The Social Factor: Many men will lament about the locker room ridicule intact boys endure. The potential social stigma however, might be changing as choosing not to have the procedure done is becoming increasingly more popular. Also, did you know that the vast majority of the world’s population is intact (around 85%). In the U.S., the rates of circumcision are much higher. Nonetheless, your son, whether circumcised or not, will certainly have similarly situated peers. So fret not about teasing, and focus on the issues that truly may or may not, depending on your position, have a health and/or medical impact on your sweet little one.

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