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Thread: What do you tell a 4 y/o that asks how a baby gets in a belly?

  1. #1

    Default What do you tell a 4 y/o that asks how a baby gets in a belly?

    Yesterday on the drive home from dance class Paige asked me this. With Jude I was going to have a home birth (didn't turn out that way) so she got to become very knowledgeable about exactly how the birth process works (since we were preparing her to be around during the birth). Also she is very smart and not one to just except an answer without all kinds of questions. She likes details. Basically what I told her was that every month a woman releases an egg into the uterus to maybe get fertilized and start turning into a human. I told her that an egg gets fertilized when it mixes with a sperm from a daddy. I said that alone an egg or a sperm could not turn into a person but that it only happened when the get mixed. Then thank goodness she started asking about exactly how the baby develops from the egg. So now of course I'm paranoid she is going to ask how the sperm gets in there and what sperm is. I just didn't know how else to explain it so that I was being truthful and giving enough details without actually telling her about sex. Do you think that was way too much info for her. I mean I know she has a pretty good understanding of what I said, but I feel like I opened the box for more questions that I don't think she is ready to hear the answers to. So how would you answer that questions coming from a 4 year old?
    Last edited by Ashleen; 10-07-2012 at 11:15 AM.



  2. #2
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    you certainly opened the door for more questions, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

    My girls are quite knowledgable on this topic. They love this one exhibit at the science museum in Portland that opens with a HUGE blow up of the moment of fertilization as seen under a microscope. It's been there since I was pregnant with Taela-so since they were 1 and 2. Inside is the display of all the fetuses from 6wk-40wk and they've been fascinated and had to know what each of their sisters and brother looked like when they were born (I think some of the fascination for them comes from the fact that they never got to see their siblings). This display has lead to a lot of conversation regarding reproduction. My mom breeds dogs and they've seen countless puppies be born...and natural breedings happen. We haven't had a specific "this is how a human baby is created" but we have had the conversation about puppies-egg + sperm-and they've said "oh, just like humans. So the breeding that the dogs are doing is like how a human baby is bred?" And so far...we've left it there at that. They've got the tools to make the connections and in a year or two we'll revsisit and clarify the mental pictures. But for now, that's enough

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  3. #3

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    I was sort of wigging out on this particular explanation too. I said the daddy puts the seed inside the mommy and when asked how he gets it in there I said that it was hard to explain right now and that I would need to think about it to figure out the best way. Luckily they have not brought it up again. lol. I say that about things a lot if they ask me questions that I find difficult to explain, or that I don't know the answer to I will tell them I need some time to think about my answer.

  4. #4

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    Okay so I'm glad I'm not going too far from what others are telling their children. It was just such an unexpected question, I just kinda froze for a second then started talking. Then when I finished I was just thinking, oh great now she's gonna want to know where sperm comes from, what did I just do!? lol... I think I will just go with the it's too hard to explain right now answer if it does come up.

    What age do you think is appropriate to talk about the actual mechanics of it?



  5. #5

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    I am thinking 10ish for Savana but I think it does depend on the child.

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    Cody is 4 and was 3 years 4 months when Sophia was born. The most he knew was a baby was growing inside of his mom's stomach and did not ask any questions on how the baby got there. I would just explain answers as they come. If she asks where does sperm come from tell her its from her father's body which is vague but, being vague at this age seems okay.



  7. #7

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    We're regligious so we've told our kids that "God made the baby and put him/her there".

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    Quote Originally Posted by GA1977 View Post
    We're regligious so we've told our kids that "God made the baby and put him/her there".
    That's a good idea too!



  9. #9

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    My DD is only 3 but has asked how babies get in your belly, and all I said was that women's bodies have eggs (which she already knew from previous conversations about periods), and if the egg is fertilized babies grow from those eggs. She hasn't asked for more details so far.

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    Like pp, I told DD all women have little tiny eggs in their tummy and that men have a special medicine that women 'take' and it mixes with the egg to make a baby in their tummy. Luckily, she did not ask how women take the medicine...
    V (36) Single, working mum to DD (5) DS (3)



  11. #11

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    There's a good website with more info: www.birdsandbeesandkids.com that might be worth checking out.
    I think your answer was perfect!

  12. #12

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    I'm an oddball, but I just told my kids about sexual intercourse. Ky asked for details around 6 when I was PG with Elle and I told him very matter of factly. It wasn't a big deal but I am not shy about having these sorts of discussions with my kids. If Elle asked about it now, she is 4, I'd tell her the whole shebang lol! Just not in an explicit way, just very simply and matter of fact. I got very technical with Ky, about testicles and the tube that sperm have to swim through and that the daddy puts the penis in the mom and they swim out of it. It wasn't that bad of a discussion. DH didn't want to talk to him about it. He doesn't like talking about any sexual things with the kids so fortunately, or unfortunately, I talk to Ky a lot about sex now that he is 10 and he knows a lot about it and relationships because I don't want him to get this sort of info from his friends. I think it is important to have a long ongoing discussion about it. My mom did the same for me and I was a virgin until I was 19 so I don't think it makes kids want to go and have sex. I also want him to know that I am not afraid of speaking to him about it at any time and that I will not be uncomfortable with the idea of him having a girlfriend or sex or anything like that because I want him to come to me if he has any needs of condoms or anything like that in order to protect himself from STDs and unwanted pregnancies, things I have also already spoken to him about and that are an ongoing discussion for us. It all started when he was about 3 or 4 with the right names for things and moved further when he was 6 and asked about how babies get in moms' tummy.

    Erin
    Last edited by Ky'sMom; 10-07-2012 at 08:23 PM.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by tapir View Post
    There's a good website with more info: www.birdsandbeesandkids.com that might be worth checking out.
    I think your answer was perfect!
    Thank you... and thanks for the link too, I will check it out!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ky'sMom View Post
    I'm an oddball, but I just told my kids about sexual intercourse. Ky asked for details around 6 when I was PG with Elle and I told him very matter of factly. It wasn't a big deal but I am not shy about having these sorts of discussions with my kids. If Elle asked about it now, she is 4, I'd tell her the whole shebang lol! Just not in an explicit way, just very simply and matter of fact. I got very technical with Ky, about testicles and the tube that sperm have to swim through and that the daddy puts the penis in the mom and they swim out of it. It wasn't that bad of a discussion. DH didn't want to talk to him about it. He doesn't like talking about any sexual things with the kids so fortunately, or unfortunately, I talk to Ky a lot about sex now that he is 10 and he knows a lot about it and relationships because I don't want him to get this sort of info from his friends. I think it is important to have a long ongoing discussion about it. My mom did the same for me and I was a virgin until I was 19 so I don't think it makes kids want to go and have sex. I also want him to know that I am not afraid of speaking to him about it at any time and that I will not be uncomfortable with the idea of him having a girlfriend or sex or anything like that because I want him to come to me if he has any needs of condoms or anything like that in order to protect himself from STDs and unwanted pregnancies, things I have also already spoken to him about and that are an ongoing discussion for us. It all started when he was about 3 or 4 with the right names for things and moved further when he was 6 and asked about how babies get in moms' tummy.

    Erin
    I think that is a great approach. I admit part of me considered it for a few seconds there before I decided to just leave it at the sperm mixing with egg. I agree having long on going conversations about it is very important and I plan to do so with my kids. It is interesting to hear how well your son handled the information at 6. I like the way you described it, it sounds very scientific I might use that when the time comes to have more talks.



  14. #14
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    I think the key to the approach Erin has is knowing your kids, and answering their questions. Some kids from religious families would swallow "God makes a baby and puts it in the mom to grow" whereas others-like mine-that wouldn't be an answer for them (but mine also take scientific American to bed with them and are fascinated by anything to do with science and the body). If my kids ask me how a baby grows in a belly I start with the sperm/egg. If they want to know how the sperm from the dad gets there they get told (although again for us they've mostly asked about dogs and have them inferred from there for people). But I think some kids aren't really asking for the nitty gritty at age three or four. My nephew is perfectly satisfied with "it grows". No more details. If he asked for more his mom would give him more. But IMO until about age 9/10 the approach of giving them as much info as they're looking for is best. After that I think kids need to know about sex whether they asked or not!

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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by DucksLikeRain View Post
    I think the key to the approach Erin has is knowing your kids, and answering their questions. Some kids from religious families would swallow "God makes a baby and puts it in the mom to grow" whereas others-like mine-that wouldn't be an answer for them (but mine also take scientific American to bed with them and are fascinated by anything to do with science and the body). If my kids ask me how a baby grows in a belly I start with the sperm/egg. If they want to know how the sperm from the dad gets there they get told (although again for us they've mostly asked about dogs and have them inferred from there for people). But I think some kids aren't really asking for the nitty gritty at age three or four. My nephew is perfectly satisfied with "it grows". No more details. If he asked for more his mom would give him more. But IMO until about age 9/10 the approach of giving them as much info as they're looking for is best. After that I think kids need to know about sex whether they asked or not!
    Paige is like that too with the sciency stuff. She often prefers I read information books to her instead of stories. She loves this huge book we have called the human body and it quite well educated on how everything works. I'm sure she'd love the museum you mentioned in your first post. So with her I knew she would need actual facts. I think if I told her something like God puts the baby in the mom I'd have more questions to answer then I would if I told her the actual facts lol!



  16. #16

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    Oh my goodness, my 4 year old has been asking non stop questions since I've become pregnant. She is satisfied with 'daddy puts the seed in and it grows' She has a lot more questions about how it comes out, I've explained it all. She's actually asked other pregnant women that she's seen when they're going to push the baby out of their vagina and warning them that it's going to take a long time and will hurt a lot. If she kept persisting on wanting to know HOW the seed got in there, I would probably tell her that it was magic?? That might buy me a couple years before she gets old enough to learn about sex! haha! She loves the concept of magic, I'd be okay with her thinking that for a couple more years.... good luck mama!

  17. #17

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    My kids do want cold hard facts and almost every instance, I do give it to them straight. I am like you, Erin, in that approach. (Have also learned a lot from you in that regard You know what my biggest fear is to telling them the whole story? Them sharing it with other kids, especially other kids that I take care of, and ticking off other parents. There is only one thing my kids like better than learning cool stuff and that is sharing it with anyone who will listen.

    I have told this story here before but when I was pregnant with Savana, my neighbor was in his back yard enjoying a beer and a book and Savana yelled off our deck, "My mom is having a baby and it's going to come out of her VAGINA and she's going to feed it milk from her BOOBIES!"

    I gave a feeble wave and said, "We've been studying mammals", before I scurried us both back into the house.
    Last edited by Bridget; 10-08-2012 at 10:35 AM.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by futuresoccermom View Post
    Oh my goodness, my 4 year old has been asking non stop questions since I've become pregnant. She is satisfied with 'daddy puts the seed in and it grows' She has a lot more questions about how it comes out, I've explained it all. She's actually asked other pregnant women that she's seen when they're going to push the baby out of their vagina and warning them that it's going to take a long time and will hurt a lot. If she kept persisting on wanting to know HOW the seed got in there, I would probably tell her that it was magic?? That might buy me a couple years before she gets old enough to learn about sex! haha! She loves the concept of magic, I'd be okay with her thinking that for a couple more years.... good luck mama!
    Quote Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
    My kids do want cold hard facts and almost every instance, I do give it to them straight. I am like you, Erin, in that approach. (Have also learned a lot from you in that regard You know what my biggest fear is to telling them the whole story? Them sharing it with other kids, especially other kids that I take care of, and ticking off other parents. There is only one thing my kids like better than learning cool stuff and that is sharing it with anyone who will listen.

    I have told this story here before but when I was pregnant with Savana, my neighbor was in his back yard enjoying a beer and a book and Savana yelled off our deck, "My mom is having a baby and it's going to come out of her VAGINA and she's going to feed it milk from her BOOBIES!"

    I gave a feeble wave and said, "We've been studying mammals", before I scurried us both back into the house.
    Lol! Too funny. When I first had Jude we went to the grocery store and Paige kept introducing her little brother by saying "this is my brother, my mom PUSHED him out of her VAGINA" she said it like she was very impressed and proud of me for accomplishing such a feat. It was sweet and mortifying at the same time!



  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by GA1977 View Post
    We're regligious so we've told our kids that "God made the baby and put him/her there".
    Same here. Easy enough lol!

  20. #20
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    we told my 4 yr old son, that daddy used his magic wand
    Andrea(27) DH (30) DS 8/22/08(10 weeks early) ,DD 7/2/10 (5.5weeks early), DD 09/12/12 FULL TERM...3rd TIMES THE CHARM!!!

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    My Dh's explanation which was satisfactory for my 4 y.o:
    "Mommy and daddy were babies, grew up, one day they met, became prince and princess, got married, smooched and then mommy had a baby in her tummy, it was you. Later mommy and daddy smooched again and your sister appeared in mommy's tummy. This should happen when you grow up big like mommy and daddy"
    Miss T (10.17.2008) Miss A(06.30.2012) Flipper #3 due 06.2014
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