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Temporary Visitor Restrictions

Because the number of influenza cases has significantly increased throughout the region, children age 12 and under may not visit patients effective Wednesday, January 8. This applies to all Wake Forest Baptist inpatient locations and will remain in effect until the number of flu cases decreases significantly.
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My 1-Year-Old Son Always Tries to Touch His Penis. Is This Masturbation?

My 1-Year-Old Son Always Tries to Touch His Penis. Is This Masturbation?

Lately, when I change my 1-year-old son'sdiaper, he reaches for his penis. Is that normal? Is that masturbation?
- Janice

Many concerned parents call their doctors because their kids touch their genitals during diaper changes or their baby boys have frequent erections. They're reassured that these behaviors are perfectly normal — even the youngest children naturally explore their bodies.

How you react — your voice, the words you use, your facial expressions — is one of your child's first lessons in sexuality. By responding without anger, surprise, or disapproving words, you teach your son that this curiosity about his body is just a normal part of life.

Toilet teaching, when it starts, will present another great opportunity to reinforce accepting attitudes about your child's anatomy.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: July 2013