Deciding to circumcise our son was a very hard decision--well, it was for me, anyway. It hadn't occurred to my husband not to circumcise until I brought the issue up to him. So, we then looked at both sides of the circumcision argument for awhile and found that there are really valid arguments both for and against circumcision. I didn't want my precious little baby to have to get the procedure done and if I could have avoided it I would have, but ultimately it came down to an issue of health for us. We didn't care about the aesthetics and as Christians there was no religious reason to do so either, so it came down to making the choice that we felt was healthiest for our son. For us, that meant circumcision.
When he was two weeks old we took him to a doctor my midwife highly recommended and the procedure was done quickly. The doctor talked to us beforehand about all the possible risks, the mechanics of the procedure, and after care. He also asked permission to use Lidocaine in order to dull the pain during the circumcision and I wholeheartedly gave it. Then, I showed him my un-petroleum jelly and asked that he use it instead of Vaseline and after I explained about how petroleum jelly is bad for cloth diapers, he obliged me in using it. Then, he applauded us for using cloth and explained that where he is from--Kenya--everyone uses flat cloth diapers because they can't afford disposables. He proceeded to demonstrate how they're folded and the ends tucked in without the need for pins or fasteners. I found that this conversation helped the doctor to gain my trust and also, it helped me relax before releasing my precious newborn over to him.
Once we'd finished discussing everything we needed to talk about, he dismissed us from the room and we waited for about 10 minutes in the waiting room for him to finish. They brought my normally calm baby boy to me a little cranky and weepy and told me that everything had gone well. I nursed him to sleep before we left in order to calm him. He slept so well that we decided to all go out to eat at a local Mexican restaurant before heading home. Baby Bear slept through the entire dinner but then needed his diaper changed about the time dessert was served. I changed him in the restroom and was quite taken aback by the new appearance of his private parts. I was also quite upset with the vehemence with which he screamed when I reapplied the un-petroleum jelly on the new wound and placed him in a new diaper. It was all I could do not to cry with him. I absolutely knew what we were doing when we circumcised him and I even remember what it looked like when my little brother had it done, but as his mother, it was a blow to my heart. We quickly went home and I proceeded to cry more than he did about the whole thing.
Both caring for his new wound and keeping him comfortable was a high priority. First, I delegated the diaper changing to my husband for the next 24 hours, as I couldn't look at his little man parts without cringing and crying. Besides, my husband is an expert on penises, having one himself, so it only seemed fair. Second, we made a game plan for diaper changes while his wound was still healing.
Circ Care and Cloth Diaper Use
Our circumcision/cloth diaper routine is as follows:
We're only using the roomier cloth diapers from his stash. In Baby Bear's case this means switching out the newborn AIO diapers we have been using for one size diapers. Because he's such a big baby--nearly 10 pounds at 2 weeks old--bumGenius and Fuzzibunz OS diapers give us a little more room for his baby parts to relax and heal.
We're choosing stay dry diapers because they're softer against raw skin. I like the microsuede inner fabric of the bumGenius in particular because there is less fluffiness that might catch against the fresh wound.
We've opted to use un-petroleum jelly because it is safer for cloth diapers. While there isn't a 100% guarantee that it won't cause buildup, I did some online research and it seems to be the salve of choice for those parents who have chosen both to circumcise and to use cloth diapers.
(FYI-I use alba brand un-petroleum jelly and its ingredients are: castor seed oil, coconut oil, beeswax, hydrogenated castor oil, tocopheryl acetate, and Vitamin E.)
If you're using petroleum jelly, you need to use a liner to put a barrier between it and your cloth diapers. You should probably use a liner with the un-petroleum jelly too, just to be safe.
Remember to care for the circumcision as directed by your doctor. Ours instructed us to clean with soapy water at every diaper change and to watch for excessive bleeding or infection. Also, we need to re-apply the un-petroleum jelly at every change.
We called our pediatrician about pain management because Baby Bear was extremely uncomfortable for the first night, especially. You aren't to use pain medication with a child under 2 unless directed to do so by a doctor. Ours asked for Baby Bear's weight and then gave us the appropriate dosage of Tylenol for him. He spit most of it out, but the little bit that actually went down his throat seemed to help him immensely.
It was only yesterday that Baby Bear got circumcised and already my husband says that the area is improving. Also, he seems to be getting more and more comfortable as the day wears on. I still cried a little about it this morning and I'm realizing now that I have my own son to circumcise or not to circumcise, that this issue is extremely personal and should be handled with care--especially when it comes to other parents and judging their parenting choices. Whether or not you choose to circumcise is up to you and choosing either side makes you a great parent because you are making that decision because you want the absolute best for your son. Though I found the process extremely difficult as his Mommy, I'm not sorry for doing it because the choice was founded in thorough research and in love. In the cloth diapering community where people tend to choose more natural and attachment parenting styles, you'll hear a lot more people standing against circumcision. I respect their stance and gave it a considerable amount of thought before deciding against it. As a cloth-diapering mom who decided circumcision was the best decision, I'm here to help support the rest of you who do the same. Hopefully, once you've made that decision, you'll feel that there are other parents in the natural parenting corner who support you for it and will help you get through it.
This post from Padded Tush Stats also shows in great detail how to cloth diaper a newly circumcised baby.
jessica Date 8/27/2013
Im glad you cried with him. ..as you absolutely should. Circumcision is a heartless, unnecessary procedure. I wont even try to make my point as anyone who truly researches both sides and still chooses to circ truly does NOT have their child's best interest at heart. So...so sad.
Ashley @ Forgetful Momma Date 8/27/2013
Thank you so much for this!! We are expecting our first boy, and we want to have him circumcised, and I want to CD from birth this time. This was very helpful!
Krystle McNure Date 8/27/2013
Wow really Jessica! SMH
Krystle McNure Date 8/27/2013
Brandy I think its very sad that you are being negative towards someone elses choice. She is simply trying to express that it wasnt easy for them and that she is offering her support to those who make the same choice! She even stated that she respects other choices not too, so dont you think you could do the same and respect her choice to!
Alex Date 8/27/2013
Brandy, What is the point of telling a mother who clearly cared enough to research both sides and made a difficult decision for her son that you disagree with her decision? We all make different choices for OUR children for different reasons and it's so disheartening to see mothers put down other mothers because they wouldn't have made the same choice. What is a comment like that going to do besides upset? She's not going to change her mind and take it back. It's not your penis either. My husband and I made the decision to circumcise our son because I don't know any man that wishes they weren't circumcised it's a much more difficult surgery as an adult, we didn't want our son to have to make that choice when he was older.
Jill S Date 8/27/2013
someone mentioned somewhere that you could use cotton make up pads on top of petroleum jelly to protect the diapers..
I wonder how long ago this was written and if there was an update since then on how well it healed after day 1?
Brandy Date 8/27/2013
This post makes me incredibly sad. There is absolutely NO REASON to circumcise a child, boy or girl. You say you looked at the pros and cons, but honey, there are NO pros.
I'd love to hear what you think there are, because there aren't any.
It is a very misguided notion, founded in myth and fantasy that there's even the slightest option that circumcision is a good CHOICE.
In fact, it shouldn't even have been your choice.
It's NOT your penis.
Clark Sville Date 8/28/2013
Well this is a little sexist don't you think? Why didn't you include proper care for a FEMALE that has been circumcised? Doesn't she have equal rights?
We circumcised our daughter for the exact same reasons that people do it to their sons. It's easier to clean and it looks better! She will thank me later that she didn't have to have it done as an adult.
Cheri Date 8/29/2013
As a Christian mother we let God lead us and did not circumcise our son. I respect others choices however this fit well for us in our lives. He knows what is best for every person. I don't agree that for health reasons boys should be b/c there really are no benefits of being circumcised, it's really just an aesthetic (appearance) choice. Either way, that shouldn't sway you.
Jennifer H Date 8/30/2013
Would love more details on the Kenyan doctors demo of how to use a flat diaper without any fasteners.
Melissa Date 8/31/2013
Thanks for the helpful article on how to care for it in cloth. It also helped to know what brand makes a non-petroleum jelly. I felt the tone of this article was very respectful. It frustrates me that some people are so rude and hateful in the way they discuss this personal subject. For those who refuse to believe there are pros to circumcision, it is easy to find research that has shown circumcised males are at much less risk for STD's. It's also easier to keep a circumcised penis clean. Sexual function is not harmed. I've known grown men who are not circumcised and say they wish they had been circumcised as babies. There really are valid reasons on either side of this choice and a respectful tone is always appreciated.
C.P. Date 9/1/2013
If you teach your child to not have sex before marriage, they would never be prone to STDs because of multiple partners. And as far as function and preference, unless a boy is looking at other boys private area, they wouldn't know the difference between their private parts and someone elses. So a grown man who is not accepting of what he has is not accepting his natural God created body. There is no proof that an uncircumcised penis is more difficult to clean, it just depends on the cleanliness of the person, just like any other body part. I agree with respecting each side of the topic but you also can't make up theories and say they are trustworthy and can stand alone against rationalization. If they can be proven wrong then it is not fact or truth.
Mary Date 9/8/2013
So glad we left our son intact - and it's an added bonus that we wouldn't have to worry about him healing from a serious wound on his most sensitive area. I wonder why people who believe in circumcision for their sons don't circumcise their daughters as well. My husband and I believe in bodily autonomy, so if our son wants to be circumcised later in life he can do that.
Lauren Date 9/10/2013
So distressing to see this on a blog about naturally diapering your child. There is NOTHING natural about the forcible removal of healthy, functional flesh containing about twenty thousand nerve endings. It's appallingly painful, risky, traumatic plastic surgery. I'm NOT going to buy any of my cloth here. There are no pros to routine infant circumcision, and I hope if your son is upset by this mutilation one day (as many are!) that you can apologize. God created your child and he was perfect at birth.
Hannah VW Date 9/10/2013
I'm sorry you were lied to and misled into thinking there are health benefits to removing a healthy, protective body part.
If it really had health benefits, wouldn't other "modern" countries in Europe and Asia be doing it? America is the only place holding onto the delusion that it has health benefits.
And to Melissa who says that sexual function is not harmed...it is indeed changed: the moving protective parts are amputated along with the majority of the pleasure nerves. Why not let the owner of the penis decide what they would like their genitals to function like?
I hope that one day soon articles like this will be as horrendous to us and an article about how to care for an infant girl with her prepuce organ (foreskin) recently cut off without anesthesia (Lidocaine may "dull" the pain but only on the very outer layer of the skin, and only if it has time to kick in, which it wouldn't in 10 minutes).
Absolutely horrifying and I will not be purchasing anything from Diaper Junction as long as info like this stays posted on their web site.
Twinkle Date 9/10/2013
I beg any expectant Mother/Father to *truly* research this procedure. It is 100% unnecessary and incredibly painful. Watch a video of it being done. If it doesn't make you sick, check for a pulse.
Michelle Hudson Date 9/23/2013
Wow, I'm so sorry to see all the negativity regarding your post. I loved seeing this post. We don't know if we are having a boy or girl but we will be circumcising if we have a boy (we have two boys already) but I have never cloth diapered a newborn before but I plan to this time so I was wondering what the care would be. Thank you for this information. I believe this is a personal choice and while I fully understand why people choose not to, I also fully believe that there are valid reasons (beyond aesthetics) to choose to so thank you for not being scared to share this information.
nicole Date 3/27/2014
wow, i'm sorry too for all the jerks who are not nearly as open-minded as you are to *their* decisions. what self-righteous, sanctimonious sewage-heads.
as for this post, i really really respect your honesty, about how hard it was for you. and at the same time, i thank you for the information, as ill be in the same place about a month from now...
Jessilynn Date 4/14/2014
Thank you so much for this post! I have two boys and one on the way but i am new to cloth diapering and wanted to start from the beginning. I am on a cloth diaper chat group but feel i could not ask this question about cds and circs without being bashed. It's sad that some ppl can not keep their OPINIONS to themselves and have to bash other ppls opinions to make them feellike better parents. There are pros and cons to circsbut esp in the cloth diaper world you only hear the cons. Bought my makeup pads and petroleum jelly and can't wait to put some fluff on my new pumpkin!