What care of the foreskin and penis is needed in infants, children and teenagers?
The foreskin and penis of an infant or child need no special care. A child's foreskin should never be retracted (pulled back) by force.
During the first few years of life, the foreskin is stuck to the head of the penis by a membrane (called the synechia). This membrane or connective tissue dissolves naturally – a process that should never be hurried.
The foreskin can be retracted when its inside surface separates from the head of the penis and the foreskin’s opening widens. This process happens naturally in childhood or during puberty, and has usually happened by the age of 18. Even if the head of the penis and the foreskin separate naturally in infancy, the foreskin may still not be able to be pulled back because the opening in an infant's foreskin may only be large enough for the passage of wee (urine).
When a young boy pulls at his foreskin, he usually pulls it outward. This is normal and natural and no cause for concern; he won't hurt himself.
Once the foreskin is ready to be retracted, your son will most probably discover this for himself. He should be the first person to retract his foreskin.
Telling your son about retracting his foreskin beforehand will keep him from becoming alarmed the first time it happens.
There is no need to clean inside the foreskin in young boys. Just wash the penis the same as any other part of your son’s body and be careful to wash off any soap. When a boy is old enough to bathe himself, he can wash his own penis.
How do I teach my son to wash his penis?
Once your son can retract (pull back) his foreskin, you can talk to him about retracting his foreskin and washing. A simple explanation of "how to" may be helpful:
- gently slip your foreskin back
- rinse the head of your penis and the inside fold of your foreskin with warm water
- slip your foreskin back in place over the head of the penis
Tell him to make sure he rinses off any soap before pulling the foreskin back over the head of the penis.
More information, including phimosis, ballooning, balanitis, circumcision, etc. here: http://www.kidshealth.org.nz/foreskin-care