penis, care of

We will break this down into two obvious categories, uncircumcised and circumcised.

Uncircumcised males get pretty much left alone:

  • Gentle washing only
  • do not ever force back of the foreskin
The foreskin will be fully retractile sometime between the early school years and sexual maturity. Just show your boy how to wash his penis by gently retracting the foreskin as far as it will go without forcing. See to it that he learns to do this to your satisfaction, however; just ignoring it and assuming he is washing it can lead to infections.

Circumcision care breaks down into two periods: just home from the nursery, and later.

When you bring your circumcised boy home from the hospital, the penis will either be wrapped in gauze (Gomco or Mogen type circumcision) or it will have a plastic ring attached (Plastibell®)

There are a couple of options you may be shown if your son had a surgical circumcision.

  • Keep the head of the penis liberally coated ("glopped") with petroleum jelly at each diaper change. Ignore the yellow oozing fluid on the head of the penis; it is normal. The freshly circumcised penis looks red and raw; this is normal.
  • If your hospital gives you petroleum jelly impregnated gauze (my preference) to wrap the circumcision, use that. If you run out of gauze before about a week, you can buy more at the drugstore.

Later, after the circumcision is well healed, all you need to do to care for the circumcised boy's penis is to gently retract the foreskin at bath time so that you expose the entire glans (head) of the penis. There is a ridge at the back of the glans (the corona) and behind that is a groove (sulcus). Just make sure you slosh a little soap and water on it. If you do not remember in the early months to occasionally pull the foreskin back properly, it will stick to the glans and your doctor will pull it open for you at one of the checkups. This is usually not painful, but it would be better if you just did the normal hygeine at bath time.

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