How to Decide Whether to Circumcise Your Baby Boy

One of our Expert Mommies, Dr. Cara Natterson, M.D. is featured in this informative video on circumcision. It’s a heated debate and each of these experts provides different opinions on the topic.

We decided to do it but were biased by religious and cultural reasons. Although I don’t regret the decision, I’m glad I don’t have to decide again!

What about you, moms of boys?

More from Dr. Cara Natterson
How to Protect Your Kids from Swine Flu
How to Tell If Something is Safe


Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon. Co-creator of My Mommy Manual and the online parenting course, Yogi Parenting. Click the links for Practical Mommy’s recommendations for travel car seats, affordable and fun diaper bags (skip hop bag), and the best-selling crib brand, Da Vinci Crib.

Comments

  1. One viewpoint that is often missed is that of the son. Sure, he is an infant when he is subjected to the cosmetic surgery of circumcision, but there is no immediate health reason to circumcise. The baby is healthy. And, he will grow up to be a man who may want his sex organ to be complete. I am one of those men. There are many others.

    Thanks to the Internet, more young men are becoming informed about their penis. These young men are questioning why part of their sex organ was cut off when there was no compelling reason to do so.

    Rather than look at the circumcision decision as a choice to be made by the parents, it is a choice that should be made by the person who owns the penis. His body, his choice.

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  2. Thank you for weighing in on circumcision.

    Like Dr. Cohen says, it’s not a cut and dry issue. I can only speak for myself on the matter… unfortunately, it’s very challenging to discern what my baby boy would want for himself later on as a growing child and as an adult. I had to consider what it would be like for him growing up in a community where all the other boys were circumcised and whether it was important for him to belong.

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  3. Suzanne Tucker says:

    I agree that the surgery is an unnecessary one from a health standpoint, but that many do it for the reasons you stated Ria. We did not circumcise our son and do not worry about how he’ll feel around circumcised boys. We’re all different in so many ways and that’s never been seen as a negative in our home… And as the trend not to circumcise is on the rise, my bet is he’ll be in good company;)

    all said, I am soooo happy with our decision and were my son to grow up and want other,I would support him in making this decision but as our reader above stated… I’m glad the decision will be his. I know were I a boy, I would prefer to remain uncut.

    What a great discusssion this Post will stir. I look forward to reading more feedback on this from other readers!

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  4. I have to clarify that it’s not just about feeling “left out” around other boys who are circumcised but that it is a symbol of his community. As it turns out, my boy is incredibly proud off his Jewish identity and I am so happy that the decision we made was the right one for him.

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  5. Interesting discussion. We did not circumcise our boys and feel good about our decision. So far taking care of the uncircumcised penis has been a piece of cake. Hopefully it will continue to be simple. But I respect everyone to make their own parenting choices.

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  6. Sarah Baker says:

    I think one aspect that’s missing from this discussion is that the foreskin has some very specific purposes. When we remove the foreskin, we are forever taking away the natural and normal functions that it was designed to provide. I myself was not aware of these functions until more recently. Just a few of these include: keeping the glans moist and covered to prevent irritation and chafing, prevents desensitization of the glans, and allows for smoother, gentler intercourse. Many Americans are also not aware that the foreskin is the most sensitive part of the penis! It is not just simply “a little piece of skin.”

    Circumcision is essentially plastic surgery. If even the AAP (along with MANY international organizations) have stated that there is absolutely no medical benefit to it, then why are we still doing this invasive medical procedure so routinely? There is no other elective, invasive procedure that we’d consent to for our newborn sons simply for cosmetic reasons.

    Other risks not mentioned in this video is how circumcision can interfere with initiation of breastfeeding and the pain for the baby in recovering from a surgical procedure. Also not mentioned is that 90% of circumcisions performed in the US are still done without any analgesic (pain medication) at all. Again all of this is for an elective procedure that is not only unnecessary, but removes a very functional part of the male body. I believe our country needs to get used the appearance of uncircumcised men, as the vast majority of men worldwide are intact.

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  7. Sarah and OMCW, thank you for sharing your opinions. I’m hoping that some of the information Sarah has shared will be helpful for parents who have to make this decision. Like I said, I’m glad I don’t have to make it again.

    However, I will state that if I did have to do it over given the same parameters as my original choice I would make the same one. I would also say that I don’t “routinely” or as you seem to infer, take lightly, decisions that cause my baby unnecessary and unnatural suffering.

    I can appreciate you advocating for your point of view, Sarah. However, there are reasons beyond medical ones that lead people to make the choices they do. I encourage parents to empower themselves with the information to make choices that are right for their families and their children.

    I don’t know what “the statistics” say about the chances of circumcision interfering with the initiation of breastfeeding or complications from the surgical procedure. My guy must have lucky stars, I guess because he nursed successfully for 13 months and his was among the 10% that was done with pain medication.

    Again, for the purposes of accurately informing others, we had bris in our home eight days after he was born performed by a mohel. Part of my rationale was that if this is something that we were going to choose, I wanted someone who specialized in just this one thing!!!! We were incredibly “lucky,” in that our Rabbi was nothing short of AMAZING. My little guy didn’t even cry. The procedure was swift and clean. He did not have any complications “post-op.” Our pediatrician would never fail to comment on how well done it was… !?! HOWEVER, I will also say that I attended another bris that was much more agonizing….

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  8. There is no way of knowing what a boy or man may or may not want when he is grown. As a man, I cannot say that if I were female, I would want this or that. Only if you are psychic can you predict what someone would want in the future. As a male who had the foreskin removed in my mid thirties, I can say that the foreskin is not magical. Considering the pain and recovery time involved for me, I wish that the surgery had been done when I was born. Having the option as an adult was no consolation after years of problems. Whether you choose circumcision or not, help you son to grow up to be secure with his body and do not apologize either way. There are many decisions that parents have to make for their children as they grow and hope that they make the best choices. If you are sad or angry with the choice your parents made, let go of the negative feelings and remember that your parents make the choice that they thought would be best for you. You may make choices that your children may not like in the future. People do the best they can. No one is perfect and able to see the future.

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  9. I let my husband decide whether or not our child was going to get circumcised without doing any research on it. It ended up being one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I am a new mommy, so I’m sure that I will probably make mistakes that are even worse, but not if I can help it. Read my personal experience/story about my son’s circumcision at http://antisheephood.wordpress.com.

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  10. Your blog is really fantastic. I share your video link with my friend who is going to give a birth to a child.

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