Should You Circumcise Your Son?

circumcisionIf ever there was a topic sure to divide expectant parents, it is circumcision.

The official position of the American Academy of Pediatrics is that there is no reason to perform a circumcision except as a religious rite.

Even some followers of the Jewish faith have begun to eschew circumcision and have developed other ways to maintain the religious significance of the Bris without the actual removal of the foreskin.

Here is some information that may help you make this decision. First, only about half of male babies born in the United States are currently being circumcised. This means that even if your son’s penis does not look exactly like his father’s, it may look like that of many of his friends.

Second, circumcision is not a procedure: it is surgery. It is painful, often performed without proper anesthesia, risks blood loss and infection, may cause scaring or other complications, and the baby seldom receives any kind of medication to relieve pain afterwards.

Third, your child cannot consent to this procedure. When you have him circumcised, it cannot be undone.

It is perfectly possible to choose not to circumcise your son as an infant, and let him make this decision when he is old enough to understand the choice.

Finally, pediatricians are increasingly knowledgeable about caring for infants and boys who have an intact penis, most notably that the foreskin should never be forcibly retracted. Young boys can be taught to care for their intact penis just as they can be taught to brush their teeth.

If you do decide circumcision is the right choice for you and your family, talk with your obstetrician and  pediatrician, do everything you can to minimize the pain and discomfort your child will suffer, including holding him during the procedure, and breastfeeding immediately afterward.


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