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how’d that baby get in your belly?

Oh Joy / Mama and Ruby

Oh Joy / Mama and Ruby

Oh Joy / Mama and Ruby

Lately, Ruby's been asking us, "How'd that baby get in your belly?" Umm…we were kind of shocked she asked but I can appreciate her curiosity.

A friend of ours said that Ruby might not be asking about the actual process of it, but more like how did the baby get in my belly versus another part of my body? So we've been telling her that mama's belly is a nice, safe place for the baby to grow until the baby is ready to come out. That answer seems to buy us some more time for now…

Now, the question is…how do you answer that question? I'm all about telling kids the truth about stuff, but I don't think a two year old really needs to know how that baby really got in my belly. What have you guys told younger kids when they ask this question? I am all ears!

Have a great holiday weekend!

{Photos by Bob Cho. My outfit: dRA jacket, Isabella Oliver tee, Target pants. Ruby's outfit: Zara romper and shoes.}

76 comments

  1. I was also caught off guard with this question from my 3 year old daughter! I told her that all girls have eggs inside, and when she grows up and is ready to be a mommy, one of the eggs will grow into a baby. This may have been a weird way to describe it, but she LOVES the idea that she has eggs of her own, I mean, I guess it’s pretty neat, haha. This worked for us and deferred the conversation (hopefully for another 15 years or so haha)!

  2. The most important thing to remember is not to answer more than they are asking! (By the way, that works with teenagers too)I think your answer was totally appropriate for a two year old.
    What we did when our two were older (in the 8-10 year old range) is to talk about this BEFORE they learn it in school. To be honest and say yes, this is kind of strange and feels uncomfortable to talk about and everybody gets embarrassed, but that is totally normal, even for grown-ups. We made sure that our children knew that we would answer anything they asked honestly…and yes, they did test us on that a few times. I’m proud to say that I have two teenagers who know that we will be truthful with them and we have a great open, honest (but not too honest–remember don’t answer more than they are asking!) relationship.
    I didn’t mean to rattle on. Too much coffee for a Friday morning :-/

  3. I have no advice to share – just that you look great! Here’s to a happy and healthy pregnancy for you and Bob.

  4. My mom explained how the uterus worked when I was 4-5 at Costco while we were eating pizza. She explained the rest of it later, but it was honest, not hokey and it gave me information about my own body as well. She was scientist-y so, it wasn’t scary or overwhelming, just very matter of fact.

  5. My son was 3 when our daughter was born. The only thing more difficult to answer than how baby got in there is how baby comes out!
    I told him she was going to come out of my belly button (not an original answer, I’m sure) but then he started telling people that the he was going to “get Olivia out of Mommy’s tummy with my sword!”

  6. Too funny! Little ones crack me up. It is a difficult question to answer, I’m sure (I don’t have little ones of my own yet), but I think you did a great job so far!
    xoxo
    Taylor

  7. Sometimes at very young ages it’s best to turn the question around on them and say, well how do you think it happened? Then you can gage how much they know or even really want to know 🙂

  8. I remember having this conversation with my mom when I was little- between 2 and 3, I guess my older sister had been hearing rumors at preschool, so she addressed it with both of us- all the basics- in a clinical way of course- sperm from dad, eggs from mom, etc. I remember it clearly- I was too young to be embarrassed, so I asked lots of questions (that make me laugh now!). I think it was great to know when I was young- saved an awkward conversation later!

  9. Hi Jillian,
    I love that! Such a great mix of science, truth, and providing something she can understand for now 😉
    Joy

  10. I’m currently 33 weeks pregnant with baby number 3. My 2 year old has no idea what’s coming even though we told her that there’s a baby in my tummy. My 5.5 year old has had lots of questions. We told her it grew from an egg inside of me. It backfired a little bit though because she became kind of anxious, asking if eggs inside of her were going to just turn in to a baby one day. We reassured her that it’s a grown up decision and that the eggs don’t grow in to babies until you make the decision. So far it’s worked. Really she is much more interested in how the baby is coming out–which I have been completely, honestly, open about. She told me last night that she isn’t going to make the decision to have babies when she is a grown up because it sounds like too much work to push them out!

  11. Whatever you do, tell the truth! She probably doesn’t care to know about the whole process just yet, but don’t lie to her either. There are some good books on the subject. My parents gave us the book “Where Did I Come From” when my brothers and I got curious. That one was good for slightly older children, so I’m sure there are some other good ones for toddlers.

  12. Have you seen this book? I always though it was cute and gave a straightforward explanation. I don’t have kids, but one of the moms who commented says that her 2 year old loves it, and that it’s a great way to explain pregnancy and birth to a small child.
    http://amzn.to/1nB3djD

  13. My 3 year old didn’t ask this, but she asked how the baby was going to come out. Ha! Took me by surprised because my 4 year old didn’t ask any of these questions! In any case, I told her mana had a secret path that baby would use to get out – worked for her! Like others said, try to find the fine line, the truth without saying more than they need to know depending on age. Have a lovely weekend, Joy 🙂

  14. I watched “the switch” with Jennifer Aniston a few days ago and she told her son that a nice man have he some seeds, and the seeds grew into a baby… It’s halfway true! And such a cute chick flick if you haven’t seen it already 😉

  15. My son is 4 and asks *a lot* of questions. One quick answer is never enough for him, so when he asks how babies get into mommies bellies, I tell him that all daddies have special seeds that they give to mommies when it’s the right time. And, since all mommies have special eggs inside their bellies, when they put the seed in their eggs, a baby grows inside. I then direct the conversation about how my son is part Mommy and part Daddy because he grew from both of us. Then I feed his ego and tell him how awesome he is – and he is more than happy agree. 😉 Best to you and your growing family!

  16. I was told once to only answer the exact question they ask, which you did. If they want any more information or when they’re ready for more information, they’ll ask. Don’t go into any details or long-winded explanations—- they’ll ask when they’re ready!

  17. I tend to punt difficult (or incessant) questions right back at my older child. So if she were to ask, “How’d that baby get in your belly?” I’d say, “How do YOU think the baby got in my belly?” And then go from there. This actually tends to work by deflecting the attention away and also, it starts some pretty entertaining tangential conversations 😉

  18. I think you did it very good! My mom told me when I was a child that dad had put a little seed inside her, I think it’s a nice answer too.

  19. I think you did it very good! My mom told me when I was a child that dad had put a little seed inside her, I think it’s a nice answer too.

  20. That is how my mumsie explained it to me when I was little!
    I think when I eventually found out more I didn’t feel stupid or betrayed at all by what she had explained to me.

  21. That is how my mumsie explained it to me when I was little!
    I think when I eventually found out more I didn’t feel stupid or betrayed at all by what she had explained to me.

  22. I mean of course she’s wondering how did the baby get IN there. How abstract that has to be for a little one… I would just tell her, baby didn’t get IN there baby started growing in mommy’s belly…

  23. I mean of course she’s wondering how did the baby get IN there. How abstract that has to be for a little one… I would just tell her, baby didn’t get IN there baby started growing in mommy’s belly…

  24. This is pretty similar to how we’ve handled things in my house. I want to be honest with my daughter (she’s almost 4), but I don’t want to burden her young mind with anything too advanced for her to comprehend. She has a book about baby chicks that covers fertilization through the chick’s hatching. She understands that mommies also have eggs, but rather than living in a nest until they’re ready, the whole egg just stays inside mommy’s belly. I think she even understands that a daddy has to fertilize the egg, but she hasn’t asked about the specifics of how that actually happens. I dread that conversation, I really don’t have an adequate answer prepared. Maybe thats a “I’ll tell you when your older” kind of question.

  25. This is pretty similar to how we’ve handled things in my house. I want to be honest with my daughter (she’s almost 4), but I don’t want to burden her young mind with anything too advanced for her to comprehend. She has a book about baby chicks that covers fertilization through the chick’s hatching. She understands that mommies also have eggs, but rather than living in a nest until they’re ready, the whole egg just stays inside mommy’s belly. I think she even understands that a daddy has to fertilize the egg, but she hasn’t asked about the specifics of how that actually happens. I dread that conversation, I really don’t have an adequate answer prepared. Maybe thats a “I’ll tell you when your older” kind of question.

  26. My niece asked my sister that question during her 12 week scan. My sister told her it was magic. Later that day my niece said to my sister ‘ I know how that baby got in your tummy! When I eat food, it goes into my tummy, so you must have eaten a baby!’
    Bless her!

  27. When I was pregnant with my third, my then 6 and 4 year old were very curious about how the baby got in my tummy. I wasn’t ready to get all scientific, so here’s what I did. I took a piece of playdoh and split it into two pieces, and told the kids that God took a little bit of Daddy and a little bit of Mommy, smooshed it together and put it in my tummy. The visual and the simple explanation seemed to work! Now two years later and pregnant with number four, I’ve surprisingly got no questions from them at all! Children have such a wonderful suspension of imagination that I think however you tell Ruby, she probably will accept the answer. You look cute!!

  28. It strikes me that no one chose to tell the truth. When I was pregnant with my second child, we told our then 2-year old daughter pretty much how the baby got to grow in my belly. Our explanation was a bit technical, but very simple. She was puzzled, and I’m sure she didn’t remember everything we said, but she didn’t make much fuss about it. She certainly wasn’t shocked or disturbed. Now that my sister is pregnant, the questions arise again and again we tell our two (now 5- and 2-year old) daughters in a very simple way how it happens. I think it’s by lying or avoiding the issue that you make it into something awkward.

  29. Lol i has that exact question a week ago and i just told her mama ate something which will grow a baby for 9mths before i have to poop it out! She was like woahhhhhh

  30. When my two children were younger and had similar questions, we told them that when a mommy and daddy decide that they want to have a baby, they ask God to bless their family. If God thinks that the time is right, He miraculously places a teeny-tiny baby to grow inside of the mommy’s belly until it is ready to come out. And that is why all children are precious–because each child is a special gift from God. 🙂 When we had to explain years later to my 12-year old the “scientific” way a baby is created, whoo boy, that was super awkward.

  31. Hi lovely blog and feed on this – can I ask where do u get your little girls clothes love this jumpsuit and shoes!!!!

  32. We told them that the dad’s sperms are seeds that turn the mom’s egg into a baby. And that the sperm that was the fastest swimmer was the one that makes the baby. My son pridefully identified with that sperm, “I was the fastest swimmer and that’s how I got made”. My daughter learned that she already had special eggs that could one day make a baby.

  33. Check out ‘It’s Not the Stork’ by Robie Harris. This is for older kids (4-8), but this series is so great and opens up the conversation about babies, families, etc. in a positive way. Bonus – it is illustrated by Ed Emberley’s son!

  34. Daddy and Mommy love each other Soooo much, the love actually creates another person inside Mommies belly! It’s amazing and a beautiful gift to our family! In the most intimate act of love between a mommy and daddy (feel free to go in depth as much as you like depending on the child and age you feel they are ready for), a child is made.
    I haven’t had this conversation yet, but just today my two year old said he would like another baby brother. It got me thinking…

  35. Hey Joy!
    I’m not a mother but I have a younger sister and I was an Au Pair in the USA(I’m from Brazil). My parents always told my sister when she was around 2 years old that Dad has planted a small seed inside Mom’s and that seed would grow into a beautiful baby. So when my 2 year old host kid (from when I was an Au Pair) asked me how babys were “made” that’s what I told him.
    If you think about it, it’s not a lie the baby is kind of a seed that grows. Isn’t it?
    I think until a kid is a lot older than 2 it doesn’t make much sense to get into details about it because they really do not understand it. Eventually, Ruby will put things together as she grows older and she will ask it again. At the time you will know she is ready for the full explanation :). At least my sister was
    XOXO Leticia

  36. Botany is a good introduction to how babies are “made”. Using the ovule and the gymnosperm to fertilize it and make a new plant.

  37. My parents approached this topic with a scientific approach. They answered the questions we asked, but didn’t go into details we didn’t ask about. I remember their openness towards the subject always made it feel like we could go and ask questions.
    http://www.stateofsunshineblog.com

  38. I responded to my then 4 year old, “Yes, it IS mysterious, isn’t it? Do you have any ideas?” At that she launched into her own theory. When she was finished, I said “That’s an interesting idea!” So i basically avoided answering at all, haha.

  39. You can always just tell her the truth and that babies are a gift from God! Just like she was knitted preciously together in her mother’s womb (you), her new sibling is also being formed by God. I had two little nieces and a nephew and they all asked very similar questions and would not be shy to ask friends, family and neighbors. I think they eventually understood and stopped after questions after all 3 of them knew that they were knit together by God in mommy’s stomach.
    For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16

  40. Hi, my name is Marina and I’ve been a “follower” of Oh Joy! for a while, but I don’t come to check since your daughter was born, now you are pregnant again! I feel really happy to see your family growing bigger. Congrats

  41. Great timing and so many good replies from the mammas! I loved yours and the first one here. I’m pregnant now and my 3 year old just asked me how chickens and birds lay eggs. I told him they push them out of their bodies and he looked at me and snickered. I need to be prepared for the baby questions fast! Thanks again, and congratulations to you too!

  42. I think that your approach for a two-year-old is great. When she’s a bit older (the book is for 4+), there’s this: http://www.amazon.com/Its-Not-Stork-Families-Friends/dp/0763633313
    There’s also two more in the series for older children.
    I read the first two in the series to my son as an explanation, and plan to get the third soon. It explains everything scientifically in a cartoon strip format that’s easy to understand. So, so good and there’s no need for making stuff up or fumbling with the truth.

  43. We told our kids, when they asked, that mum and dad have a special cuddle and that is how the baby is made. No further detail given, and both have been happy with that explanation. Take the truth, and simplify!

  44. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had a little girl at my church crawling all over me. I told her she couldn’t just climb on me like a tree, I had a baby in my belly (I was just starting to show). The little girl looked at me with this horrified look on her face and asked, “How did it get in there?! Did ya eat it?!” I about died! I told her that was a question to ask her mom. I let the mom know, and a few weeks later the mom told me that her little girl kept asking for her to put a baby in her belly.

  45. Hi Joy,
    my mum apparently told me/read stories “how babies are made” etc to me from about age 3 onwards. so i have no memory of her actually having “the talk” with me, and I feel like I have always had the knowledge of it – more or less. which i think is really good. I DEFINITELY wouldn’t recommend waiting till she is a teenager! it will be much more awkward I would think, the older she gets… the books i had at that young age included stuff about other animals also, and plants – so it was a sort of broad way to introduce the theme of fertilisation! 🙂
    good luck x

  46. Oh my. To be honest I think that has some very upsetting connotations: God doesn’t think the time is right for all the infertile couples who would desperately love children?
    I’m also struck by the lack of direct responses that people offer their (or others’) children. The alternatives are much more convoluted than the truth. I am truly bewildered by some of the inaccuracies people on this post will willingly tell children. No, love is not required to have a child. It might be a feature of your relationship, but it’s not an ingredient. There are no secret paths out of women’s bodies. Children don’t emerge from belly buttons.
    I’ve always found simple, honest answers the best policy. Honest answers do not ‘burden’ children. Hangups about bodies and sexuality are adults’ ‘burden,’ but many of the approaches here will rapidly make for children with the same issues.

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