3 mistakes to avoid when caring for your baby boy's foreskin

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When caring for your newborn's genitals, be careful not to do this because it can cause discomfort.

As a new parent, each day is filled with learning about your baby’s development and caring for their every need. Proper hygiene is an important part of daily life as a mom and dad. For parents of newborn boys, it’s important to learn how to care for their baby’s foreskin.

Mayo Clinic defines foreskin as the “fold of skin that covers the head of the penis.”

Over time, your baby’s foreskin and glans, which are formed as a singular tissue, will separate at around two to three years old.

While this separation can happen before birth, this is a rare occurrence. It normally takes several months, or, in some cases, years for some boys, until the age of five. However, there is no need to worry if this happens beyond that age.

A mistake that many new moms make is trying to pull their baby boy’s foreskin back in order to clean it.

But, a baby’s foreskin should not be retracted too early because it can cause injury.

What’s more, forcing the foreskins back could be really painful for your little one, and you might not even realize this because babies often cry anyway during nappy change or bath-time.

Don’t force your baby’s foreskin, warns the American Academy of Pediatrics because it can cause scarring or injury. Forcing it might make it more difficult, or even painful, to retract when your child grows up.

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When cleaning a baby’s foreskin, soap and water is enough

Bathing is sufficient to make sure an uncircumcised newborn’s penis stays clean. Using soap and warm water is enough, advises Mayo Clinic.

Don’t use cotton swabs or any other formulation to clean the penis and foreskin. If your baby has already been circumcised, you can make use of cotton balls dampened with soap and water. You can cleanse their scrotum with a soft towel.

By the age of three, your child can be taught to perform genital hygiene, which involves cleaning under their foreskin gently each day.

If their foreskin doesn’t retract once they hit puberty, be sure to consult your child’s paediatrician.

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Don’t panic if you see a white substance under their foreskin

The white pearl-like substances that gather under the foreskin is called infant smegma. This is made up of natural secretions and dead cells. This shedding is a natural process throughout life.

To keep your baby’s foreskin from sticking to his nappy, you can apply infant-friendly petroleum jelly on the surface of the nappy to minimize friction.

Caring for your baby boy’s genitals

Aside from gently washing their foreskin with warm water and soap, do remember to adopt these important hygiene habits:

  • Clean or wash immediately after they pee or poo. Once they soil their diaper, bacteria can easily form, which puts them at risk of infection.
  • Make sure they change their nappies regularly. Don’t forget to frequently change their soiled nappies throughout the day and night.
  • Avoid baby care products with perfume or alcohol. Make sure not to use harsh products like scented baby wipes for you baby’s hygiene needs.
  • When drying their bottom, use a soft towel. Too much friction can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin.
  •  Make sure your baby’s penis is pointed downward when putting their nappy on. This is simply to avoid rubbing against the material.

We hope you found this article useful, but if you have any concerns, be sure to consult your child’s paediatrician. 

Sources: WebMD, Mayo Clinic, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), MedlinePlus

Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore