Baby Care 101: To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise?
Posted on April 21 2017
Among all the baby care tips available, circumcision is one of the most controversial topics being debated on.
For new parents, the mirth and excitement felt when they first held their baby after waiting for nine months could prevail over any worry that they might have had. The fact that a new life is entrusted in their hands is something inexplicable and for that, new parents may find themselves in a whirlwind of emotions.
But then, it’s also the kind of moment when one needs to think clearly and shrewdly. New parents will have to face decisions, and consider the effects that they and their baby will carry over for the rest of their lives.
If you’ve been taking notes about newborn baby care tips and other parenting advice, or if you’ve been talking to your own parents, friends, and people who’ve been on the same page you are now, you’re on the right track. However, at the end of the day, the final decision has to be between parents.
You may not know this, but in some countries and for some cultures, whether or not to circumcise a newborn baby boy is a weighty decision that involves religious, cultural, health, and other beliefs.
But first, what is circumcision? Simply put, circumcision is referred to as the act or process of removing a simple fold of skin (also known as the “foreskin”) that covers the head of the penis during its flaccid state.
Based on current studies, the prevalence of circumcision is low in parts of Europe, Southern Africa, and most of Asia and Oceania. Most families disregard such process and would rather have their newborn males uncut. On the other hand, those coming from highly religious countries view this as a mandatory aspect, a way of life per se.
Nowadays, it is quite common for families to opt for non-religious circumcision, mainly for hygienic purposes. A new mum and dad may find themselves tirelessly looking for advice for parents as they want to ensure all the best for their baby. Indeed, as parents, it is only natural that you consider the well-being of your little one. As such, circumcision is something you cannot take lightly. No, it won’t be an overnight decision. Loving parents of a newborn ought to discuss it at length among the other child health tips and suggestions even before the baby is born.
More so, it is highly suggested to refer to available information on the web or from reliable pamphlets. You can likewise seek advice from other parents and your family health care provider to gain a deeper understanding of the pros and cons involved in the process.
Nonetheless, we also gathered some useful information about the things parents should know about circumcision, as well as ways to take care of your baby in hopes to help them reach an educated decision.
1.- There is no medical reason for circumcision of baby boys. If you solely base your decision because of medical reasons, then you might be surprised to find out that there is no medical association in first world countries or anywhere in the world that recommends “routine circumcision.” In fact, people in Asia, Latin America, and Europe where most of the male populace are intact or uncircumcised suffer no negative impact or health consequences.
2.- Attitudes have changed over time. The circumcision rate in western countries has decreased in the recent years. For example, in the United States, the rate went down from 81% in 1981 to just about 55% today. This tells us that almost half of the baby boys go home uncircumcised and that more and more parents find circumcision unnecessary and merely optional.
3.- The foreskin serves as a protective barrier. The foreskin that’s attached to the head of the glans of baby boys is a natural, functional part of the human body. The foreskin serves as protection from feces, urine and other irritation and contaminants to enter the urinary tract.
4.- Caring and cleaning the foreskin is easy. There is no special care needed aside from gentle washing for natural, uncircumcised penis. In babies, you should never forcibly retract the foreskin.
5.- Circumcision is permanent. Circumcision alters a boy’s genitals permanently. This means that there is a possibility that your son might not appreciate it by the time he’s grown up. Also, since circumcision removes the protective tissue from the penis so your baby might be exposed to medical risks as well as experience the pain from the cut.
6.- Circumcision does not prevent urinary tract infections or other diseases. For many years, circumcision was believed to prevent various diseases especially UTI; but records show that UTIs frequently occur in girls rather than boys.
7.- It is painful and carries surgical risks. Like any other surgical procedures, circumcision requires anesthesia and carries several risks such as infection, bleeding, or surgical errors.
8.- A study in 2002 conducted by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) found out that male circumcision was linked to a reduced risk of penile HPV or Human Papillomavirus Infection.
Aside from that, the study also showed a lower risk of cervical cancer among the current female partners of circumcised men who previously had multiple sexual partners. As we know it, HPV is linked to an increased risk of acquiring cervical cancer. Still, despite the results of the studies, there is no medical evidence that is deemed weighty enough to change AAP’s policy regarding circumcision that such procedure is only recommended if it is essential to the baby’s health.
Overall, the evidence, as well as the results of recent studies arguing whether to snip or not to snip, fail to produce compelling, straightforward, and defined answers in either direction. The benefits, although possibly real, are relatively small. The same goes for the risks and consequences.
Again, bottom line is, the decision to circumcise or not now falls onto the good judgment of the parents. Circumcision is something irreversible so it may well be a matter of personal choice and preference. Talk it out with your spouse and your physician. Do your assignment and be well-informed about this medical procedure your baby boy may or may not undergo.
We’d love to know your thoughts about this medical procedure. Do you have any baby care tips or ideas relevant to circumcision? Feel free to drop us a line or two in the comments section below!