babies crawling around

Where do babies come from? Tips on how to start explaining

Inside: Where do babies come from? Answering this question doesn't have to be tricky for parents! Learn how to answer this age-old question WITHOUT giving your child too much information!

'Where do babies come from?' is one of those questions that most parents will be asked at some time and place.

If you’re lucky, you won’t be asked whilst you’re lined up in a busy queue, waiting to buy an icecream!

So, if you haven’t already been asked that question, now is the perfect time to get ready before you are asked!

You’ll find more information about sex education in my Sex Education 101 page.

Why do kids ask?

So why do kid’s like to ask this dreaded question? About where babies come from?

Kids ask this question because eventually, they want to understand where they came from. They want to know where they were before they were born. Working out where babies come from (or where they come from) is one of the greatest mysteries that they want to solve.

Plus it is a healthy part of child sexual development.

Kids first start to notice pregnancy and babies when they’re around 3 to 4 to even 5 years of age.

They’ll start to think about where they were before they were born. Were they a baby too?

To satisfy their curiosity they’ll begin to ask questions about babies.

Because they are trying to understand why they are here ie who do they exist.

So how does the sperm get to the egg?

Why you need to answer their question

There are a number of reasons why you need to answer the question ‘Where do babies come from’ or ‘Where did I come from?’

It’s easier to explain when they are younger

It is actually much easier to explain sex to your kids when they are younger.

They only need a simple answer when they are young whereas a ten year needs a lot more information.

So it is a good ideas to start talking about this stuff when it is easier.

Which means that by the time you get to the tricky stuff, it’ll be a lot easier as you’ll be a lot more used to talking about sex stuff.

You want to be their main source for information

You want your kids to see you as their number once source for information. And for some strange reason, answering questions like ‘Where do babies come from’, let’s kids know that you are okay talking about the stuff that other adults squirm about.

As your child grows older, they will be exposed to sexual information that you have no control over.

So you want them to know that if they hear anything that they don’t understand, that you are the person to come to!

Not their friends, not google.

This way you can make sure that your child receives the right information and you can correct any misinformation that they hear.

You want to be askable

By ignoring their question you are giving your child the message that you are not okay to talk about sex and possibly even other tricky stuff (like bullying, inappropriate sexual touch, etc).

Which means that they won’t come to you with their questions.

And they also won’t be telling you about the stuff that is worrying them.

Which means that if they know that they can talk to you about anything, then they won’t be worrying about it on their own.

How to explain ‘Where do babies come from’

Now, before you even think about what to say, you need to remember one thing!

The question ‘Where do babies come from’ isn’t about sex.

Kids that ask their question usually don’t want to know the nitty gritty details of how babies are made (ie sex) they just want to know the basics. They just want to know where they came from, how they were made and how they came out.

And, luckily for you, kids usually only want one snippet of information at a time. So, a 3 year old may want to know where babies come from but usually won’t want to know how the baby got inside, just yet. Their brain and how they understand things just isn’t advanced enough for that type of information, just yet! And remember every child is different! Some kids may not be curious about where babies come from until they are 4 or 5 or even older. Some kids never ask!

Where do babies come from pregnant woman

Kid’s will often ask ‘Why is that lady fat?’ or ‘Why does she have a big tummy?’

Where do babies come from?

‘You came from a special place inside me, near my tummy’.

The answer can be as simple as that! And don’t get worried about necessarily having to use the right terms. You can get away with it when they are younger, but not if their ten!

You can say uterus if you want to – it is up to you! We just want to keep it simple for them!

How are babies made?

‘You need a special part from the daddy and a special part from the mummy to make a baby’.

Usually, this is enough information.

If you really want to, you can call this special part the cell or the egg and sperm. There is no great rush to add in the details when they are young. Use the same level of simplicity that you would use when describing where the milk on their cereal comes from.

If they want to know more, like how the egg and sperm get together, you can say

‘The sperm leaves the man through his penis and goes into the woman’s vagina. The sperm then finds the egg, they join together and grow into a baby’.

When we first start talking about how babies are made, we usually talk about penis in vagina sexual intercourse. But not all babies are made this way. So if your child was made in a different way, you can choose to add in how they were made. Or you can just wait until they ask how exactly they were made! For example, if your child was made through IVF, you can talk about how you needed help from a special doctor to help make the egg and sperm meet.

How does the baby get out?

‘Babies usually come out through the vagina (or between the mummy’s legs). Sometimes a doctor has to make a special cut in the tummy to get the baby out.’

Again, we keep it pretty simple. We don’t need to talk about labour and how the cervix dilates just yet. Wait until your child starts to ask for that level of information.

Tips to make it easy

  1. It isn’t about sex! They just want to know where they come from, before they were born!
  2. Answer their question like any other question. What if they asked you where the milk on their cereal came from? So answer their questions about where do babies come from, just like you would with any other question that they ask you!
  3. KISS: Keep it simple and short. Don’t worry about giving them too much information. If they don’t understand what you have said, they’ll promptly forget whatever it is, that you just said.
  4. Don’t stress about saying too much! Luckily for us parents, kids have inbuilt safety switches ie they promptly forget anything that they don’t understand. So you don’t have to worry about sparking their curiosity about stuff that they just aren’t ready for!

Is your child ready to know the answer?

If your child has asked the question, then they’re ready for the answer.

If they haven’t asked the question but they are noticing babies and pregnant tummies, then they are ready to know.

And if you’re just not sure, then it won’t harm them to start off simply with some basic information.

If they want to know even more, then  read this article about how babies are made.

You can also learn more by reading this article to work out if your child is the right age to talk about the birds and bees . It includes a quiz, so that you can work out if they’re ready (or not)!

Resources

My mission is to create resources that will help you to naturally talk to your kids about sex, all while respecting your personal values.

Which means that inside this website, you'll find lots of resources to help you with talking to your child about love, sex, relationships and growing up.

My Sex Education 101 page includes all of the information on sex education. You'll find lots of different blogposts to help with getting started, on a wide range of different topics.

You'll find videos about sex ed in my Sex Education Videos resource page that you can watch with your child or to learn more about sex education yourself.

You’ll also find an extensive range of sex education books for children, for kids of all ages. There's even some books in there for parents!

If you're looking for some ideas on how to talk to your child about bodies, How to Talk to Kids About Bodies, will help you to start naming the private body parts and to have shame-free conversations with them about bodies. It is filled with lots of different ideas on how to have natural converasations with your child about their body. 

You'll also find some child friendly anatomically-correct cartoon illustrations of the genitals and internal reproductive organs that are appropriate for children from the age of 3 and up. Let's Look at Different Body Parts is a printable that will help take the awkward out of talking to your child about their body, so they grow up feeling educated, confident, and comfortable in their own skin.

If you need some help with explaining sexual intercourse to your child, then How to Talk to Kids About Sex, will help you explain sex to your child in a way they will understand. It breaks it down into simple steps that  take the stress out of explaining!

If you're unsure about how to answer your child's questions about sex, then I have a number of different resources that will give you word-for-word answers that are age specific.

If you want a printed book to hold in your hands, then the  The Sex Education Answer Book will give you age-specific answers to the most common questions kid's ask parents about sex. Which means you don't need to worry about finding a child-friendly explanation that your child understands. 

If you want the answers to questions about a lot more than just sex, then Sex Ed Quickies is your best option. It has answers to 300+ questions  that kids commonly ask parents,  including how babies are made, sexual intercourse, body parts, puberty, relationships, pregnancy, birth, masturbation, sexual diversity, gender, pornography, STIs, contraception and much more.

About the Author Cath Hakanson

I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.

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