“Where do babies come from, mommy?”
Now? Really? I took a quick look in the rear-view mirror before turning my eyes back to the road in front of me, or to what I could see of the road. The world on the other side of my windshield was a dripping, thundering, blue-grey blur. Surely there was a better place to have this discussion.
Of course, my 3 year old did not agree.
“Mommy, where do babies come from?” It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. He was supposed to ask this question over a bowl of ice cream at the kitchen table, more focused on the ice cream than the question. I would pull out a notebook and smile at him confidently, opening it to the page of reminders I’d prepared for myself. “Don’t make it awkward, Paula.” “Give him the facts, without TOO much information”.
Then I would answer him. I would answer him as a gracious and wise mother would answer him, one who answers every awkward question with calmness, dignity, and factual but non-shaming advice. He would thank me, then smile, wipe the ice cream from his chin, and put his bowl in the sink. I would serve myself a bowl of ice cream to congratulate a job well done.
But there we were hurtling down the highway in the rain, no ice cream and no notes. “We’ll talk about it later” or “ask your dad” weren’t going to help, either — his eyebrows had already furrowed into a look of concern and confusion. My son needed an answer, and he needed it right then.
Considering the circumstances, I handled it alright. I was vague and gave him enough details to move him along on to more important topics, namely whether the Batmobile can drive faster than Buzz Lightyear can fly. The most important thing I had to do was avoid making the topic seem weird, like it was something we couldn’t talk about. With that accomplished and his attention elsewhere, I very enthusiastically latched on to the Batmobile discussion.
But once we were home I decided I didn’t want to be caught off guard again, so I took to Facebook to ask you how you would answer the question when talking with a preschooler. Since preschoolers often don’t have time for long explanations, I asked how you’d answer if you only had once sentence. None of us want to mislead our children, but how do we communicate the full truth if they will only listen for 30 seconds?
We received some fabulous answers on the Facebook page, so I’m sharing them with you here, along with a few books to help you continue the conversation with your preschooler. This post has affiliate links, as well.
Where do babies come from?
“Babies are made from love and given to parents to take care of.” – Maggie Q.
“You need a mama and a daddy and some help from God” – Melissa Cohen
“Babies can come from lots of different places, but most come from their mommy’s tummy.” – Ariel E. (I LOVE that this explanation includes adoptive families without being confusing for a 3 or 4 year old!)
Book suggestion: What Makes a Baby is a book “for every kind of family”, with great explanations for kids of adoptive families.
“When a mom and a dad love each other, they work together to make a baby, and God blesses them to make one.” Katelyn Fagen
“From a lady’s crotch or sometimes the belly.” – Tiffany Waites
“They grow in mama’s belly in her uterus and when they are ready come out through the birth canal.” -Beth
“Babies come from a special hug shared by mommies and daddies” – Brienna V.
“I explained 2 my 2 boys when the question arose (cannot remember their ages at the time of interrogation-lol!) that they each grew in my belly. They are 6 & 10 now & all they know is that Mommy & Daddy loved each other sooooo much that they formed in my belly & grew & then 1 day when they were ready, they came into the world.” – Amanda H.
“My sentence would be ‘Babies are a gift from Heaven’. BUT I would continue with as many one sentences as possible to satisfy her/his curiosity. Some kiddos would take that sentence and be happy, like my son. My daughter on the other hand always needs just a little more info and my niece, well, you better get out the health book for her.” – Angelina S.
“Babies come from mommy and daddy loving each other so much” – Kristine H.
“Babies grow in a mommy’s tummy.” – Kathryn P.
Book suggestion: It’s Not the Stork is one of the most popular children’s books on the subject, and for good reason! It covers reproduction, anatomy and appropriate/inappropriate touching, all in a way that kids can understand and parents can feel comfortable explaining. Definitely a good place to start!!!
“Babies are a gift from God.” -Laura M.
“When a mommy and daddy love each other, sometimes God puts a baby inside the mommy where it grows until it’s ready to be born.” –Jen
“We told my 3 yo that babies grow in bellies but we also told her that she has to nap to recharge her batteries like the iPad so now she thinks babies come from the store and get put in the mommy’s belly and then when they come out you put batteries in them to make them move around!” – Mackenzie S.
“When mommy and daddy live each other so much, God gives them little ones to raise up.” – Amanda L.
“Mommy’s belly – God created them inside, and then they pop right out when it is time!” –Samantha S.
“I tell it like it is with my kiddos so it would be something like, ‘The daddy’s sperm and the mommy’s egg come together to make a baby that grows in the mommy’s uterus.'” – Carrie H.
“Babies come from kids asking their parents this question! that would make my son stop asking he does NOT want a sibling!” – Jennifer D.
“In my house Daddy’s put them in mommy’s belly.” – Pam A.
“I’ve always told mine that they come from mommy’s belly and were put there by mommy’s and daddy’s love.” – Felicia W.
Book suggestion: The Story of Me explains things from a Christian perspective.
I loved getting so many different ideas about how to answer this question with preschoolers. I think the main thing that we can learn from everyone’s responses is to tell things accurately and simply. We shouldn’t bore the kids with too many details, but we also shouldn’t make this a taboo subject. Starting from toddlerhood, I want my children to feel comfortable talking to me about ANYTHING. I hope that the honest and safe relationship that we build now will last into their teenage and adult years, and that they always know they can ask me any question, no matter how embarrassing it seems.
Have you been asked the million dollar “where do babies come from” question yet? How did/will you handle it?
If you have a little one, you might also enjoy this post about 4 safety rules all 4 year olds need to know! Do your kids have them down yet?