Before you start panicking - don't. Baby boys get boners. And they're perfectly normal.
Waking up with a rock-hard flagpole isn’t an unusual occurrence for males after a certain age. Nor are the ‘should I stay in bed until it goes down because we’ve got guests’ or the ‘should I piss now or wait till it goes down’ dilemmas that usually follow.
It’s one of nature’s little ways of checking the equipment’s in order, things are flowing and A-Ok. Or a response to a particularly good dream, but usually the former.
Opening your baby boy’s nappy to find a stiffy staring back at you, however, is one of the stranger surprises first-time parents will experience.
Don’t worry – it’s just biology
Online forums are full of shocked parents asking about baby boy erections.
Is something wrong? Why does this happen?
Some even raise suspicions of sexual abuse being the cause of this ‘arousal’.
So, first things first. Your baby boy getting an erection is normal. Absolutely, perfectly normal.
As is both of you getting covered in piss as soon as the cold air hits it.
That particular consequence isn’t unrelated, as an erection can be a sign of a full bladder. Expert in all things wee, US urologist Dr Ryan Berglund says it all stems back to the sacral nerves, which control movement in the lower part of the body — including erections.
If you have a full bladder, it can sometimes press against and stimulate those sacral nerves (which can explain the ‘morning glory’). He reckons it can occur at any age — even male fetuses have erections in utero. Jeeze, now that’s just showing off…
But the bottom line is it’s normal. Hunkydory. No worries. Fear not. Your baby boy isn’t Hugh Hefner reincarnated.
Have your first man-to-man
Chances are your baby boy will play with his erection. He may also be surprised by it. He may get freaked out by it.
All of these reactions are common, so don’t discourage him or tell him off, but you may want to distract him with a toy or his milk bottle for time’s sake.
What’s crucial is that your actions, behaviour and language reflect that this is as normal as anything else he’s experiencing.
No jokey comments. No gathering others around to look. Definitely no Youtube uploads (seriously).
These experiences will be your son’s earliest of this nature, and will be formative. So deal with it as the perfectly natural thing it is.
Rise to the challenge
Of course, changing a nappy when there’s a stiffy in play is a challenge. Best waiting till it goes down or make sure he’s at least pointing in the right direction first.
And all that said, if your baby’s erection lasts for hours rather than minutes, do get it checked out by a doctor.
But in most cases, there’s no need to panic. Just know you have a very healthy (and probably pretty happy) baby boy.