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Circumcision For Baby Boys: What This Midwife Wants You to Know

Circumcision for baby boys
Lois Wattis

Jan 14, 2021

Photograph By GM Photographics

Some parents may consider having their baby boy circumcised, believing this is more hygienic and reduces the risk of genital cancers. Circumcision of baby boys is no longer endorsed by most health professionals due to the risks of bleeding and infection, and the unnecessary pain experienced by the baby.

The most common reason I hear from parents wishing to have their baby boy circumcised is so his penis will look the same as his circumcised father’s penis. However from a child’s perspective, all adult male genitalia looks different to their own. The presence of pubic hair is a very obvious difference, which children readily accept is ‘just how grown-ups look’.

Female circumcision is regarded as genital mutilation and circumcision of baby boys is no different. Baby boys experience excruciating pain during circumcision and for weeks afterwards, and can show behavioural changes such as frequent crying, avoidance of physical contact, reduced feeding and sleep disturbance following the procedure. Local anaesthetic creams do not provide adequate anaesthesia for the operation and a general anaesthetic poses significant risk for infants under the age of 6 months.

*The views are of the author and not The Carousel. The Carousel respects the rights of individuals and religious beliefs.

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Circumcision Baby Boys Lois Wattis

About Lois

Lois Wattis has been a Midwife for 15 years, a Registered Nurse for 18 years and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant for 10 years.  Lois also practiced as an accredited Independently Practising Midwife (IPM) in Western Australia for five years. Lois currently works at Nambour General Hospital as a specialist Clinical Midwife Lactation Consultant as well as providing private Lactation Consultancy services via ‘Babymooon Home Visits’ on the Sunshine Coast Qld www.birthjourney.com.

Over the past decade Lois has provided education for midwives via Australian and international professional journals, and as a speaker at midwifery and parenting conferences around Australia. Lois’ contribution to midwifery education was acknowledged at the International Confederation of Midwives in 2005 when she was awarded a Fellow of the Australian College of Midwives.

Lois’ experience is broad, and her focus is now on supporting parents negotiating the steep learning curve as they care for their new baby. Lois’ book which includes 5 videos “New Baby 101 – A Midwife’s Guide for New Parents” is available from her website www.newbaby101.com.au and her New Baby 101 App is available for smartphones via Google Play and iTunes Appstore.

Buy the eBook and download the App

New Baby 101 – A Midwife’s Guide For New Parents by Lois Wattis. The free App is created in FAQ format, giving comprehensive answers related to the nine topics covered in my eBook. The App includes two free ‘How-to’ videos, and the content can be upgraded to answer more than 50 FAQs for $6.99. You can download the free App on your smartphone via Google Play or iTunes. The eBook includes three additional ‘How-to’ videos.

Visit www.newbaby101.com.au for details.

Has Lois helped answer some of your newborn questions? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

By Lois Wattis

Lois Wattis has been a Midwife for 15 years, a Registered Nurse for 18 years and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant for 10 years. Lois has provided a private postnatal service, ‘Babymooon Home Visits’, in Queensland since 2005. Lois also practiced as an accredited Independently Practising Midwife (IPM) in Western Australia for five years providing primary midwifery care and attending home births with the Community Midwifery Program, employed by the Health Department of Western Australia. This Government funded service offers care by a midwife from early pregnancy and throughout, attending the home birth and providing postnatal care for 6 weeks. This program is the model that the newly developed Eligible Midwife accreditation system has been based on and adopted nationally, allowing midwives to care for well women throughout the childbirth continuum, and provision of Medicare bulk billing for services and prescribing rights. Lois has been published internationally in midwifery journals and Midwifery Best Practice edited by Sara Wickham, providing professional education to other midwives. Lois’ contribution to midwifery education was acknowledged at the International Confederation of Midwives in 2004 when she was awarded a Fellow of the Australian College of Midwives. Lois’ experience is broad, and her focus is now on supporting parents negotiating the steep learning curve as they care for their new baby. Visit www.newbaby101.com.au for more details.

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17 thoughts on “Circumcision For Baby Boys: What This Midwife Wants You to Know

  1. Most of us thankfully would never consider circumcising our daughters. We can only hope that one day we\’ll feel the same way about male circumcision as well.

  2. Such a biased report. It makes it appear that it is only cosmetic reasons that direct people to have circumcision for their boys. She also claims it is the same as female circumcision. These two statements alone really disqualify midwife Lois from offering any medical advice. She needs to be reported to the relevant medical body for passing on such ignorance. Natasha Wilson has been educated by Lois and is now equally ignorant. People pleas research this topic more fully.

  3. I listened to advise such as the above and didnt get my sons circumcised. My now 4 year old autistic child has to go through having a circumcision because his foreskin is too tight and causing many problems for him. It is painful and traumatic enough for any older child, but due to his ASD I don\\\’t know how he will cope with the change in appearance, trauma etc. I thought this would be a rare issue but when speaking to my close group of friends 5 out of the 12 of us have had issues due to their sons not being circumcised so I think it is quite a common problem. I wish I had of done it when he was a baby but it seemed so cruel and unessesary. But being 4 and going through this will be a lot worse.

  4. I’m really sorry that your 4 year old son has to go through this. If you had a crystal ball, yes you could have made the decision to have him circumcised as a baby, but by saying that it would be better that all baby boys should be circumcised just in case they have problems later on is like saying we should all have our big toenails removed just in case one day we may get ingrown toenails. Or we should all have our appendix removed. I’m sorry that your group of friends have had difficulty, but your experience is not reflective of most groups, and it is not a common problem. Aside from my professional experience, in my personal life my own three boys have never had any problems, neither have their 7 cousins. The only boy in our extended play group who had any problems was due to hypospadias.

  5. This is hardly a report. It’s an advert for an app and ebook. I’m guessing (hoping) that the ebook would have more information regarding the topic. No one should make any decisions based on these click bait ‘articles’ which are only 3 paragraphs long. It’s only a quick summary on a very complex issue. They spent far more time on her resume than actually talking about the issue. As you say, you need to research the topic properly. Often these kinds of articles are written by people who do not have a medical background, or have their own personal agendas. Talk to professionals who can explain the exact risks and the reasons for and against.

    Also, I’m guessing you don’t know the first thing about Natasha Wilson, so keep your comments on topic. She has every right to voice her own opinion.

    As for the relevant medical body, you are talking about the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. From what little information is stated in this ‘advert’ , they would agree with her.

  6. I’ve been a Midwife/pediatric registered nurse for 22 years. I’ve held a 7 day old bay as he had a circumcision. I have also looked after my husband-to-be after he had to have a circumcision due to phimosis. As much as I love my husband, he is a chicken when it comes to pain, and he says that he would rather be circumcised again than have the flu. Granted, that’s his personal opinion. Unless it’s medically required, circumcision is something that should be left up to the man to decide when he is an adult. Recent studies show that many of the reasons for elective circumcision regarding cancer and transmission of STD’s are incorrect. In the end you need to do your own research and be responsible for your own decision.

    When I was researching what to do for my own boys after my husband having to be circumcised as an adult, I was astounded at the amount of men who were angry over being circumcised as a baby. As a side note, my husband preferes being circumcised, and if our boys would like to be circumcised as an elective when they are older, they have that option.

  7. I agree. We can only hope for the moment that when people do decide to have their boys circumcised, they have researched it really well and are doing it for a really good reason and have the surgery done by a proper pediatric surgeon to reduce the risk.

  8. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always wondered why circumcision was considered necessary. As a registered nurse myself it seemed that unless there was a medical reason for it for goodness sake leave it alone.

  9. Thanks Brenda for your comments. It’s such an interesting area and one that everyone has a strong view on that’s for sure.

  10. I’m sorry this is thought bubble rubbish. Comparing to female circumcision is grossly irresponsible. Anybody who cares to look into the pros and cons of male circumcision will find quite strong evidence in favour of the procedure. Most of the arguments against are based on bleeding and infection (it is quite a minor procedure and the risk almost nil) or emotional (the new Mum not wanting anybody touching her child).
    This is a male question that seems to be totally dominated by the opinions of women.
    Ladies do your son a favour, arrange for circumcision. Save him a life of having an ugly, annoying, smelly foreskin and a risk of a number of serious possibly deadly diseases.

  11. Sorry Lois, you are wrong about circumcision. Every boy should be circumcised for their health benefit. It is more cleaner, nothing can be worst then having traces of urine, sweat and all other stuff under the skin of uncircumcised men. When man is circumcised everything is clean, there is no room for all fluid which body released. Men can have tens of showers during the day and still have unclear part under. Circumcision, also prevents many disease starting from an inflammation and all sexual transmitted disease( HIV….. not only men but also their partners…

  12. Reading all of these posts, it seems that it’s all about what the mother or father (or others) want. What about the boy, what about the man he will become and that he will have to live with a permanent amputation and alteration to his body that he may not want and that he could resent. I was circumcised as a baby and I bitterly resent it. There was no regard to how I would feel about it and I have to live with a mutilated penis because someone thought it was a good idea to cut a very personal part of MY body off. I feel violated. Only the man himself should decide if he wants part of his penis cut off, it should be no-one else’s decision.

    For those of you who think a circumcised penis is cleaner – you are wrong. Intact men are capable and do keep their penises clean. It’s a matter of hygiene, a circumcised man who is unhygienic will also have a not so fresh penis, there is no reason to blame foreskin. As for STDs, circumcised men are just as at risk if they don’t practice safe sex, once again, it has nothing to do with foreskin. Also, many of the “health” reasons mothers have for circumcising their sons, such as a tight foreskin, stem from not knowing about normal foreskin physiology. It’s normal for a young boy to have a tight foreskin, as it’s usually fused to the glans and has a sphincter at the tip, keeping the opening tight to keep out contaminants. It should never be forcefully pulled back, that only damages the foreskin and can cause infection and scar tissue causing phimosis later on.

    I find it extremely sexist and insulting for a woman to advocate circumcision for boys when these women are protected by law from genital cutting and they themselves can enjoy full sexual pleasure, something that is denied to circumcised males.

  13. Whats never mentioned in this debate is that the male foreskin is a functional sex organ in its won right which gives pleasure to both the owner and partner during sex. It is therefore unethical to remove this from the owner without consent, or when a medical issue exists that all less invasive methods have been tried first.

  14. Thanks for your comments. You raise some very important and often overlooked issues, as this debate often circles around health and religion – namely, the right of the child to choose. Thanks.

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