worried mama needs advice.... - Mothering Forums
The Case Against Circumcision > worried mama needs advice....
pip's Avatar pip 07:34 PM 11-10-2003
I'm new to this board and am hoping for some advice. I come from a family with lots of girl babies, and my mum it at a loss to advise me!

I have a 9 month old intact baby boy. Recently I have noticed a couple of times when he pees his penis swells up like a balloon (briefly, as it streams out). It doesn't seem to do it every time, and at first I thought he was actually sitting on the end of it ( he was sitting up after a bath).

It happened again yesterday, although not so much, and he still seems to get the pee out, and the 'balloon' effect goes straight down. I spoke to the Plunket nurse ( an org. here that does baby health check ups) and she said as it causes him no discomfort and is not always happening ( I think, although I don't always see him go!) that I should mention it to a doctor next time I'm there, but it doesn't really warrant a visit just for that.

Now I'm totally torn. I want to see a doc to make sure he's okay, but I'm scared to go in case they overreact to something which doesn't seem to bother him and start insisting on retracting or even circumcising him. The thought really horrifies me and my husband, and I'm sceptical that they may just give me horror stories and make it seem really necessary.

On the other hand, perhaps I'm totally over reacting...I don't know anything about baby boys! Anyone had/heard of anything similar I'd be really keen to hear your thoughs.

My husband wanted me to do an internet search, but the thought of the results I'd get putting the keywords of such a sensitive issue in is too scary...so I've turned to your knowledge. HELP please!

jonathonsmom's Avatar jonathonsmom 07:57 PM 11-10-2003
First off, congratulations on your intact baby boy!

Second, please don't worry. Others will post here after me, and they are much more knowledgeable, but I just want to tell you this is normal! I think ballooning happens as the foreskin begins to loosen on its way to becoming retractable. My ds is 2 and he sort of swells a little bit when he goes, but I don't think he has the true ballooning you're talking about. Please, please, relax and don't worry. Others have posted here before about balooning, and I assure you it's no big deal.

Dawn, mom to beautiful, intact Jonathon
ja mama's Avatar ja mama 08:19 PM 11-10-2003
Yep, totally normal. In fact it's something I look forward to seeing someday.
Frankly Speaking's Avatar Frankly Speaking 08:56 PM 11-10-2003
Dawn was exactly right. What you are seeing is normal.

There are two components to separation and retraction. One is that the bond between the glans and foreskin must disolve and the other is that the opening of the foreskin must become elastic. There is no first and second. Sometimes one happens and then the other and for other boys it is vice versa.

What is happening to your son is that the bond between the foreskin and glans is disolving but the opening to the foreskin is still tight. When he urinates the tight opening to the foreskin holds back some of the urine and the foreskin balloons out. As a matter of fact, this is called "ballooning."

You need to do absolutely nothing. Maybe in months or maybe in years, the opening to the foreskin will become elastic and your son will be able to retract his foreskin quite easily. Until he reaches puberty, there is no need for retraction.

Thanks for coming here and asking us!

Sustainer's Avatar Sustainer 10:47 PM 11-10-2003
From http://www.mothering.com/10-0-0/html...rcson103.shtml

"Ballooning of the foreskin during urination is a normal and temporary condition in some boys. It results in no discomfort and is usually a source of great delight for little boys. Ballooning comes as a surprise only to those adults who have no experience with this phase of penile development. ... Ballooning disappears as the foreskin and glans separate and the opening of the foreskin increases in diameter. It requires no treatment."
momsmyjob's Avatar momsmyjob 03:10 AM 11-11-2003
Can I ask at what age this starts, so that I know what to look for.

You guys are so helpful. My boys are intact and dh is not so there are ?'s he can't answer. I'll have to come here. I certainly can't ask my mother she thinks it's horrible my boys are intact, which to me is crazy. :
pip's Avatar pip 04:24 AM 11-11-2003
Ah you guys are wonderful! I have been worrying all day....just to finish putting my mind at rest, the link says "ballooning of the foreskin..." but in our case it's the whole penis! Is this still normal??
Frankly Speaking's Avatar Frankly Speaking 04:43 AM 11-11-2003
Yup! Still normal. It's a shame he isn't older so he can enjoy it!


It happens sometime between birth and about 7 or 8 years old. Just the same that retraction happens at different ages, ballooning happens at different ages too. That's assuming it happens at all. Some boys don't go through this stage.

There is something else that happens to some boys that is similar to ballooning. It's called "spraying" and is self descriptive. It's related to ballooning in that the bond is releasing but the preputial sphincter is not elastic yet. The urinary opening will get misaligned with the foreskin opening and the urine will come out in a spray instead of a stream. This condition will necessitate sitting to urinate for the duration of the condition. However, like ballooning, this condition is also self correcting. It may only last a few weeks or as long as a year and a half. The important thing to remember is that both are only temporary and both will self correct with no intervention at all.

pip's Avatar pip 05:07 AM 11-11-2003
Now my mind is totally at rest can I say a proper thank you to everyone who replied. I can sleep easy tonight, and not worry about my little boy's "onion willy"

Edited to let you know that here in New Zealand intact boys are now very the norm. No-one asks if you want it done, and no-one expects it will be done. I know of no circumcised babies from my post natal groups. I guess it is still done on occasion, but it would definately be an out of the ordinary request I think, so keep up the good work, spread the word...
Tinijocaro's Avatar Tinijocaro 02:26 PM 11-11-2003
I have two intact sons, 8 and 4. My older son is not retractable yet has been ballooning since he was about three or four. My younger son is retractable, so his doesn't balloon. Hope your mind is at ease with this now, no cause for alarm or a doctor's visit.

momsmyjob's Avatar momsmyjob 01:06 AM 11-12-2003
Thank you Frank for the info