If you’re teaching your baby the names of body parts, by all means start now to say the proper name for their genitalia. “Penis” is penis. For girls you may use “vulva” (which is the name for female external genitalia), “labia” (if you want to be specific about the folds of skin), or “vagina” which many use, but is actually the term for the actual passage to the uterus.
The sooner you do it, the more practiced you will be at making these acceptable, comfortable, non-taboo words. You can start as soon as you want, during diaper changes you can build it into conversation with your baby, “I’m just wiping your penis off and then I’ll get you a new diaper.”
Abusers have been known to make up “fun” nicknames for private parts to make sexual abuse seem OK to a child. If your child begins calling their private parts by a different name – you should find out where they learned it from.
Before you know it, you’ll have a little one that can point to their genitalia by name – without shame! Shame and embarrassment talking about genitalia and sexuality are a driving force in holding children back from talking about their bodies when they have questions or concerns, and in the case of abuse – disclosing the abuse and being saved from further exploitation.
Sections on this page have been adapted from TheMamaBearEffect