Note: This information is also available in our “Wee Willy” phamplet you can download.
Parents can relax, knowing they can care for their natural son using this basic information, and that he will be healthy, safe, and happy. Physicians now agree that you should not retract his foreskin. Because you don’t have to deal with a circumcision wound, caring for an intact (not circumcised) boy is easier.1 You can download a pamphlet version of this information, too.
Bathing and Hygiene
Washng his penis is easy, certainly much easier than caring for a circumcision wound. See our detailed washing instructions.
Before birth, the foreskin and penis grow as a single structure. After birth, the foreskin slowly begins to loosen over a period of years. As the inner layer dissolves during childhood, excess skin cells slough off and appear as small white lumps (smegma) collecting in the space between his foreskin and glans, which are easily washed away. Few foreskins retract in the first year, most take many years, while some never retract—this is all normal.
Foreskin Retraction Danger
Forced foreskin retraction by an uninformed adult is the greatest penile risk boys face. It causes severe pain, bleeding, scarring, and may lead to infection and adhesions. The foreskin should be retracted only by the boy himself, and only when he is ready to do so.
CAUTION: Never forcibly retract (pull back) his foreskin or allow anyone else to do so! It is painful, and can lead to infections and adhesions. Stay with your boy during all medical examinations, and state that his foreskin should not be retracted. Your son should be the first and only person to retract his foreskin.
Clean only what is seen. Change his diapers often. Make sure that the whole diaper area is clean before putting a new diaper on. Do not retract his foreskin.
Soreness and Infection – Stop bathing with soaps and bubble baths if the foreskin becomes red and itching. A common cause of irritation is fungus, easily treated with an anti-fungal cream. Or, use liquid acidophilus culture (available in health food stores) applied 6 times daily for 6 days. If he is diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, use the prescribed antibiotic. Seek medical help any time there is pain, oozing, fever, change in coloration, or bleeding.
Ballooning While Peeing – This is normal, though it can be alarming to parents seeing it for the first time. If the boy is not in pain and his urine is free-flowing, don’t worry.
Foreskin Won’t Go Back Down – Squeeze the glans firmly to reduce swelling. Then, put your first and second fingers on either side of the retracted foreskin (like holding a syringe) and push the glans back into it with the thumb (like depressing the plunger on a syringe). If unsuccessful, seek medical assistance immediately.
This information has been reviewed by our panel of experts and other trusted advisors, however, it is not a substitute for professional medical, legal, or spiritual advice.
- Bollinger D. The Penis-Care Information Gap: Preventing Improper Care of Intact Boys. Thymos, 2008;1(2), 205-219. ↩