Our pediatrician retracted my son’s foreskin. He told us that we would need to retract it daily after baths to help separate the foreskin from the glans.
I’m pissed off.
Our pediatrician is pretty crunchy friendly. While he has some pretty obvious character traits that not everyone will love, he has been a good match for us overall. He talks to us about research, the pros of breastfeeding, supports our decision to delay vaccination, helps us find alternatives to traditional parenting choices that we don’t choose to do, and loves babies. He is opposed to routine infant circumcision, which is why I honestly expected better advice from him concerning Cormac’s penis.
After the retraction and instructions to continue daily retracting of my son’s foreskin, I immediately started researching the issue. Most of what I found was emotion-based prose from intactivist websites, and while I can absolutely appreciate where they are coming from, I would prefer to address the issue with our pediatrician with peer-reviewed research in hand.
A friend sent me this link to an article that discusses the average age of separation of the foreskin in boys. 80% of boys will have a fully retractable foreskin by 5 years old, but forcible retraction can cause unnecessary pain, adhesions, and other issues that are completely avoidable.
Obviously, I expected more from our doctor. I have considered seeing a different pediatrician, and I am looking for a good family practitioner to transition to, but in the meantime, we will continue to see our current provider. Except that I am going to start skipping well baby checks and only going to the pediatrician for immunizations. Once we have a good family prac, I will have the kids’ immunizations done there.
I know some people think of not seeing a pediatrician as parenting sacrilege, but I completely disagree. I’m a responsible, loving, observant mother who would prefer to not take my healthy children to a germ-infested waiting room during cold and flu season so that they can be weighed and measured and declared “well.” They are developing well, have great immune systems, and show no signs of the early birth (excluding Cormac’s low weight).
When we do go back to the pediatrician I plan on being prepared with peer reviewed literature and anecdotal evidence from other parents. I am not the only parent whose son’s foreskin has been retracted by this pediatrician and I know he has lost patients over it in the past. Hopefully we can have a reasonable discussion about this and he can write on our file (in big black letters) DO NOT RETRACT!