Congrats on your new baby boy! Here is your guide to the two new additions to your family: your baby and his penis.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was sure it was a girl. Not really for any reason other than I have nieces, and I am really good at throwing pretend tea parties, organizing craft supplies, and playing princesses. Obviously, I know that many boys (including my second son) love all those things too, but I just felt so sure I’d be having a girl because, you know, that’s what I was comfortable with. That’s how it works, right? The universe does the thing that will work best for you! Well, that could be true, but if that’s the case, the universe felt like I needed boys in my life. So I got two.
Adjusting to Life with a Baby Boy
I initially wasn’t stoked when I found out my first would be a boy, but I also was super excited to have a healthy baby, so I didn’t dwell on it. And the day he arrived, I looked into his swollen eyes (three days of labor makes for a super fluffy baby) and I felt bad for all the parents in the world who had girls.
Man, were they missing out! Maybe there is a plan or a guiding force at work, or maybe it’s just our hormones and evolution at play. Whatever it is, something made me love my babies so hard and with such a laser focus — I loved not just any baby but this baby. Everything else in the world paled in comparison. So that day I transformed into a #boymom and haven’t looked back.
As a woman raising boys with a husband who only had a sister, we learned quickly that with boys there is a whole other skill set that we not only needed to learn but that becomes a big part of how we parent our boys.
While we raise our two boys, we are also managing their two sidekicks who have had minds of their own from day one. That’s right, we’re talking about their penises. So, boy moms (and dads!), here’s what you need to know about your new baby boy (and his little bundle of joy!):
Parents have a lot to say about penises.
Don’t be freaked out; they really do have some great tips (no pun intended)! Early on, when I asked for tips about having a newborn, a friend explained the following, “Sometimes little boys start peeing beyond the diaper and not only is it messy but they freak out because they get soaked. The trick is to start pointing their little “hose” down right before you fasten up the new diaper, and that usually takes care of the problem.” Great info, right?! These are the things you don’t read about in the baby books! So listen up and take note!
Circumcision is not a given anymore, so read all about it!
Circumcision is actually quite a fascinating subject. I was strongly in favor of not circumcising, but I let my husband decide this one (it only felt right), if he agreed to read some literature on it. We opted to circumcise and here’s what you need to know if that’s the route you take:
- Baby is fine. I was so worried he’d be in pain and freaking out, but it was a quick procedure and he came back the same baby as he was when he left, calm and ready to nurse and pass out.
- Vaseline. Take as many tubes as you can from the hospital. They are perfect as you can squeeze a perfect little ring around the area at each diaper change without having to touch the vaseline and get it caught under your fingernails (yuck).
- It heals quickly. At the hospital, I asked when I should stop putting on the vaseline. Knowing me, I’d be making him do it until he moved out unless someone told me an end date. But it doesn’t last 18 years; just keep putting the vaseline on until your two-week checkup at which point they’ll check the healing process. So stock up on the tubes and be generous with it at every diaper change.
- If you don’t circumcise, I am not the person to walk you through what (if any) special care is required, so be sure to discuss that with your baby’s pediatrician.
Burp cloths are for more than just burping!
When changing the baby’s diaper, harness your inner cheetah and lay that burp cloth over the penis as fast as humanly possible. This is to catch and soak up the pee that will almost definitely come shooting up at your face. And, somehow, they have incredible aim for any tiny space you’ve left between your lips. I’m serious. Those PeePee Teepees are cute, but they won’t cut it.
Be aware of and ready for baby boners.
It’s not just that you that will get caught off guard by them, but your kiddo will, too! In the beginning, you’ll obviously just encounter them during diaper changes, especially the middle of the night ones. Here is where making sure you have a burp cloth to cover it is key because the pee stream coming out of that baby erection will head straight to the baby’s face. And baby does not like that.
You’ll also notice your older babies and toddlers fidgeting with their pants/diapers on occasion. They probably have a little guy at attention and are trying to figure out what’s going on. I explained to my two-year-old who was in tears because his penis “looked weird” that sometimes they fill up with blood and the best way to get it to go away is to stop touching it and think about something else. Sometimes we sing a song or play a game to help it go away. Once he can verbalize what’s happening, he’ll stop whipping it out every time it’s happening and he’ll just announce that his penis is filled with blood. (ok, he’ll still whip it out sometimes, but it’ll happen a lot less! This is a good thing. Trust me.)
Car seats + Penises
Without telling too many stories I’ll cover the two main issues.
BE CAREFUL. It’s easier than you might think, even with a diaper, to pinch his little friend with that five-point harness, so use the tension strap. Buckle your sweet boy in with plenty of room and then tighten it. Which leads me to my second point.
Car boners happen and they are, apparently, very uncomfortable. If you find your kiddo really upset about being in his car seat (generally these will mostly be toddlers), he probably has an erection. Talk him through it and tell him you understand what is happening and that it will go away soon. Sometimes even taking just a smidge of tension out of the straps alleviates the discomfort.
I was with a friend who was putting her two-year-old in his car seat and while we were saying goodbye he started screaming and saying he wanted to get out. She started explaining to him that they couldn’t get out of the car and that they had to go home. He kept screaming and she said, “he had so much fun he doesn’t want to leave but he must be so tired!” At this point, I explained a bit about the car seat and toddler erections and how that could be what’s going on and her eyes got wide. At first, I thought she was offended but she reached out and hugged me and said, “I never would have thought of that!” She loosened his buckle a bit and kiddo was a-okay! Game changer, that one.
Playtime will often involve penises and you have to (at least appear to) be okay with it.
You just do. One day I found myself waiting for my son to stop rubbing his favorite stuffed goat on his penis so I could put on his diaper, and I very matter of factly said, “That’s enough goat-on-penis time, bud.” That’s when it hit me. I am the mother of a sweet little baby boy and his penis. And I love them both unconditionally.
Let them rub their favorite stuffy on their (clean) penis for a hot minute between diaper changes. Let them talk about it and play with it in the safety of their home. As they get older start explaining the boundaries. When I first started to bathe them together, if I only had a dime for the number of times I had to explain “brothers don’t touch each other’s penises,” and “don’t pee on your brother’s [insert any body part here],” I’d be a very rich woman.
Our role is to help them navigate this relationship that I can’t relate to in my life as a woman in any way! The more we talk about it, the more we all understand it and the less shame, awkwardness, and even fear we’ll all have.
Now that my kids are 3 and 6, I calmly tell them to put it away in front of other people or go to their room if they want to have it out and touch it. (I mean, we are raising this next generation of men, #nomoremetoo, amiright?!). The more we talk about it and set expectations, the more they understand how to navigate having a small best friend attached to their bodies.