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« Q&A: Toddler Tooth Brushing | Main | Q&A: 2-year-old waking up after new baby arrives »



After raising two boys, here is my #1 tip: (Moxie hit on this with her washcloth hint.)

When you get ready to change a diaper DO NOT open it all the way immediately.

I used to take the tapes off (or the velcro if you're using cloth), then sliiiiightlly lift the diaper. This will send enough cool air (the pee-pee trigger) to make Baby pee if he needs to. Immediate warmth to the front of the diaper will be your clue that he needed to.

After a few seconds, you're free to take the diaper off and change. Voila!


I have no boys but I do have 4 nephews and several friends with boys. I STILL am surprised by that penis when a diaper is being changed. I assume you get used to it after a while, but I'm always like, "Oh, there you are, little friend!"


When I was pregnant for the first time and we found out that the baby was a boy, it threw me for a loop. I just felt like boys were "the Other," the unknown. I wondered what I was going to do with a boy, just like you. Then a wise friend asked me what exactly I thought I might do differently with a girl vs. a boy. Wasn't I going to love, hold, care for, coo at, play peekaboo with a boy baby just as well as a girl? Of course the clothes & toys might be different, especially later on, but in the beginning -- a baby is a baby. *He* certainly doesn't know there is any difference between the sexes, let alone which kind he is! All your baby will know is that you are his mommy and he needs you. When he gets big enough for his boy-ness to matter, you will already be so intimately familiar with him, the person, that the rest will come naturally. Just be open to falling in love with your baby and discovering who he is.

I went on to have two more boys after the first one, and I wouldn't trade any of them! :-) It is terribly sweet to be adored by little boys. And it is an honor to be responsible for raising good men.

BTW we also chose not to circumcise and are happy with that decision.


I have just one piece of advice for you, with changing boy's diapers:

Always point the penis downward, into the diaper before you close it up and put his clothes back on.

This was the single most useful piece of advice I received when I was expecting my son. It has saved us MANY leaks.

Best of luck!


The woman who wrote Mother Shock also put out a collection of stories about raising sons...I'd check it out (many stories have the same theme as your question). The book is called "It's a Boy: Women Writers on Raising Sons".

(fyi, I bought it on Tertia's recommendation..she blogged about it a while back)


Oh, I could have written this letter a while back-- my second child was also the first boy in the extended family in quite a while, and my first experience with a little boy since my babysitting days (and that was NOT fun).

I really never envisioned myself with a male child. I didn't like little boy clothes or boy toys, and I hate most sports. I would look at my wonderful daughter and I even felt a little sorry for my new mommy friends who had boys and not girls.

But oh, how I adore my son now! I wouldn't change a thing about him, including his sex. I look back at myself and wonder how I ever thought I would have preferred all girls. I'm still not nuts about cars and balls, but if it makes him happy, I'm playing along, just like I do with his sister and her toys. You don't really "do" anything differently with a boy baby, although as he grows you may find that even without any prodding, he's interested in things that seem typically "boy." (My 15 mon. old son is really into anything that looks like a tool or a stick or has buttons to push...maybe it's the Y chromosome, maybe it's that his dad's an engineer).

I also second the suggestion that you think about how boys and girls should be raised differently, or how they are treated differently, by you or by others. I think our house is pretty unisex and egalitarian in approach, but for Christmas the boy got trucks and the girl got dolls from our extended families, so at least unconsciously, our relatives don't always see it the same way. And I had a big argument with a friend about whether there should be different rules for boys and girls as they get older-- i.e., at what age would you let your child go to the mall alone or walk home from a friend's house at night?

I highly recommend the Andrea Buchanan book It's a Boy-- definitely some interesting essays.

And by the way, my son has never peed on me during a diaper change, although he did projectile poop once. He's not circ'ed, perhaps that helps him avoid the cold-air pee release reflex?

As far as gear, definitely get a double stroller; I didn't and spent months regretting it.

Things are very different with the second child, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm an experienced parent, there are now two kids to contend with at once, or because he's a boy. The first few months with two kids is very hard. Just remember things do settle down in time, and get as much help as you can. It's also helpful to have a regular playdate, sitter, preschool or something for your older child, and also for you to carve out some time alone with her (good joke, I know).

After the initial shock, you'll probably find that some things that were huge deals the first time you had a baby aren't this time around, and you'll get a huge charge out of seeing your kids having fun with each other as they get older.



My oldest is a boy, and my younger one is a girl, plus I have a younger brother so I didn't have precisely the experience you are. That said, I do recall after I found out that I was pregnant with my second -- a baby who was much wanted and planned for -- a terrible crisis of confidence. I couldn't imagine how a second baby would fit into our lives, or how I could ever love another child as much as I loved my son. I literally spent days during my first trimester crying about this issue (damn hormones!). As I talked to my friends who had more than one child about this, I realized that its a pretty common experience. So when I read your question I wondered if maybe you weren't going through a similar version of it, just that it was manifesting in the question of being a mom to a boy?

Regardless, I think you'll find that once the baby is here, you'll wonder how you ever questioned it. Baby boys are no different than baby girls -- they need love, food, warmth -- all of the things that you gave your daughter. And I found that the second time around was so much better -- I knew from experience that the infant days don't last forever, and so the sleepless nights, crying, endless nursing, etc. didn't seem so overwhelming as all I had to do was look at my older child to be reminded how quickly it passed.

And all my worries about my ability to love another as much as my first? They pretty much vanished once my daughter was born. Don't get me wrong, my son still has a special place in my heart for being my first, but my daughter, who is so sweet and funny and different from my son, has her own place too. I feel so blessed to have her, and to have the experience of being a mom to a son and a daughter. I expect you'll find the same thing is true with your son.

And finally, the earlier posters are right -- penises are ODD! But you'll get used to it, eventually. Best of luck.

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  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
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