Where do babies come from?” It’s a question that many parents are never fully ready to answer—especially when the question comes out of the blue, leaving the parent feeling blindsided, uncertain of what to say, or even how much to say.
Here are simple tips for how to explain pregnancy and birth to a child in an age-appropriate way.
Where do babies come from? It’s a question that many parents are never ready to answer, especially when the question comes out of the blue. As such, here are some tips to help guide your explanation.
As soon as a child asks you about babies, you can start explaining how they come into the world. But it’s also a good idea to prepare them for what’s coming in advance if your due date is approaching.
Where do babies come from? It’s a question that comes up at one time or another for children of all ages. You can have a positive experience with this tricky topic in a few easy steps, and learn something new about your child in the process.
When you are teaching life lessons to your children, teaching them about the facts of human reproduction can be a great time to bring up the beauty of family and love. You’ll want to answer their questions as accurately and completely as possible, but remember that you don’t need to be specific if they don’t ask for details.
“Where do babies come from?” It’s a question that many parents are never fully ready to answer—especially when the question comes out of the blue, leaving the parent feeling blindsided, uncertain of what to say, or even how much to say.
The question may be spurred by the fact that you or your partner is pregnant, or someone you know has just had a baby. It’s natural for a child to be curious. If you have been caught off guard, take a few minutes to compose yourself. Make a cup of tea and find a place where you and your child can sit comfortably without making it a big deal.
Once settled, there are some things you can do to help guide your explanation. Here are simple tips for how to explain pregnancy and birth to a child in an age-appropriate way.
Remember: Your discomfort (if any) is not your child’s. By and large, children don’t have the same knee-jerk reactions to sex or body parts that adults do. They don’t feel shame or embarrassment unless that shame or embarrassment is directly or indirectly communicated to them.1
Part1Assessing the Situation
- 1Stay calm and relaxed when the topic comes up. It’s normal and natural for kids of all ages to ask about babies. It helps to be prepared for the conversation, but even if you aren’t, try to stay calm and don’t jump to conclusions. Take a deep breath and talk to them like you would about any other topic.
- Your first reaction might be to laugh or redirect the conversation. However, if you dismiss them, they’ll only become more curious about the topic. It’s best to address the question when they ask.
- 2Defer to the child’s parents/guardian if someone else’s child asks you about babies. If you’re a babysitter or nanny, the children who you watch might ask you about babies or sex at some point. Stay calm and use your best judgement to approach the situation. If it’s a body question, answer it scientifically. If it’s a question that you think you can’t or shouldn’t answer, let them know that they can ask their guardians.
- For example, you could say something like, “Let’s ask your mom when she gets home, maybe she’ll know!” Chances are, they’ll forget about it, and you can let their parents know that the child was curious about babies or sex.
- If they continue to push your limits and ask more personal questions, stay calm and treat it like you would if they were misbehaving in any other way. Remind them that they shouldn’t use dirty words if they’re swearing, and tell them that if they continue to do so, you’ll have to call their parents.
- 3Consider why your child might be curious about babies. While kids are naturally inquisitive, there might be a reason that they’re asking this particular question. For example, their teacher at school might be pregnant, or they might have seen a baby on television or in public.
- If you’re pregnant, an older child might become curious about their new sibling. It’s very common for children to start asking about babies and pregnancy when they know there’s a baby on the way.
- 4Ask them where they think babies might come from. Your child might be asking you about babies to confirm what they already know. If you’ve never talked about it before, try saying something like “That’s a good question! Where do you think babies come from?” to see what they know about the topic.
- If you’ve discussed babies and pregnancy before, start by confirming what you’ve already discussed. Say something like “Well, we’ve talked about how babies are made sperm meets an egg, right?” When they confirm that they know that information, move on to answering their new question.
- If they say that they don’t know, assure them that it’s okay. Then, proceed with answering their question as best as you can.
Part2Responding to the Question
- 1Answer the question that your child is asking. Many parents get flustered because they feel like they have to explain the entire process to their children. Instead, focus on providing a truthful answer to the question that they asked you. If they asked specifically how babies get out of their mom, you can say something like “Babies are born when a person with a uterus pushes the baby through the birth canal, which is part of their vagina.”
- Once you answer their initial question, they might ask more or they might be content. If they don’t seem satisfied with your answer, ask them something like “Is there anything else that you want to know about babies?” or “Do you have any more questions?”
- 2Tailor your approach to be age-appropriate. A younger child doesn’t need to know all of the specific details about pregnancy and making a baby. For kids under 6 years old, keep the discussion general and simple. As they get older, you can build off of your previous conversations to answer more specific questions.
- Additionally, there’s a chance that a younger child might forget some of the information that you tell them as they grow up. It’s likely that you’ll have to have a few different conversations about where babies come from before they really absorb and understand the information.
- 3Avoid using slang or euphemisms when talking about sex or sex organs. Treat genitals like any other part of the body when you’re talking to your child. Use the words penis, vagina, uterus, sex, seed, and egg to refer to the process of making a baby. This will ensure that they don’t get confused as they grow up and learn more about topics like sex.
- For example, you can say “Sperm has to meet an egg to make a baby,” to teach them about general reproductive anatomy.
- You can start teaching your child about their genitals when they’re learning the rest of their body parts. By the time they’re around 2 or 3 years old, they should know that, a female has a vagina, a male has a penis, and some people are intersex.
- It’s okay to refer to sex as “making love” when you’re answering questions about making babies as long as they know that this phrase means having sex. This can help the child to associate babies with something positive, rather than something scary or negative.
- 4Give simple but honest answers to children under 5 years old. Younger children tend to be more focused on pregnancy and how babies come into the world, rather than the act of sex. Explain that sperm has to meet an egg, and that the baby forms in the uterus of the female.
- For instance, if they ask how babies are made, you might say something like “Sometimes, babies are made when two people have sex, and the one person’s sperm fertilizes the other person’s egg. Then, the baby grows in the uterus for 9 months until it’s big enough to be born.”
- If they’re asking about how the baby comes out, explain that the baby comes out of the vagina, which stretches as the baby is born. You might also want to tell them that some parents choose or medically have to have a surgery to take the baby out of their uterus instead.
- Be sure to explain that the uterus is part of the vagina, and different from the stomach. Since babies look like they’re inside of the parent’s stomach, this can be a very confusing idea for children.
- 5Use picture books to help you explain the topic to a younger child. There are many books on the market that explain the process of making and having a baby in simple terms. They often include illustrations that are child appropriate and as non-sexual as possible.
- If you can’t find a children’s book that does a good job of explaining the process, try picking up an anatomy book. It may be more detailed than necessary, but you can use it to show where the baby grows, and what genitals look like.
- Anatomy books are also great for learning the answer to tougher questions, like “Where does the egg come from?” or “How is sperm made?”
- 6Start talking about puberty when your child is between 6 and 12 years old. For females, puberty can start as early as 8 or 9 years old, and for males, it can start around 9 or 10. Talk to them about the fact that puberty will cause changes in their body shape, mood, and day-to-day life. Let them know that the period is a sign that a person with a vagina is able to have a baby, and talk about how ejaculate from the penis can fertilize an egg if they have sex.
- For example, if your child asks about when they’ll get their first period, you can say something like, “Most people with vaginas get their first period when they’re between 9 and 16 years old. Some people get it earlier, and some get it later. Your first period is a sign that your body is starting to become sexually mature, and it means that you could get pregnant if you have sex with somebody with a penis.”
- Try to talk about puberty as something that is normal and natural, because it is! Build off of the conversations that you’ve had with them when they were younger, and let them know that puberty might cause them to think about sex more often.
- 7Let older children know that you’re still there to answer their questions. While an older kid might think they know all there is to know about sex, that’s not always true. If you’ve established yourself as someone who they can talk to about sensitive topics, be prepared for more specific questions. For example, a teenager might ask something like “Can I get pregnant from having oral sex?”
- You can remind your teenager that you can still help to answer their questions by saying something like, “I know growing up can be confusing, but if you have any questions about relationships or your body, you can always talk to me.”
- Use their questions to remind them about the risks of having sex without giving them a lecture. For the oral sex example, you can say “You can’t get pregnant from having oral sex, but you can get an STD.”
- Don’t assume that your child is asking about sex because they’re having sex. It’s very possible that they’re just asking because they were talking with their friends about the topic or saw it in a movie.
- 8Encourage diversity when discussing where babies come from. It is widely acknowledged that babies are born when “a man and a woman have sex.” However, this is not always the case. There are several methods for having a baby. For example, a lesbian or transgender couple may use in vitro fertilization to start a family, a gay couple may ask for a family member or friend to be a surrogate, and some nonbinary/transgender people with vaginas may carry a baby. It’s important to teach and understand that not all babies are born to cisgender women and men when they have sex. 
- Use gender neutral language when discussing sex and pregnancy, such as ‘a person with a vagina/uterus’, ‘a person with a penis/testicles’, ‘pregnant people’ (as opposed to pregnant women), and ‘birth givers’.
Part3Continuing the Conversation
- 1Include information about reproduction in everyday examples. It’s important to let children know that questions about babies and sex are normal. Try to look for ways that you can teach your child about the process of having a baby before they even ask.
- For example, if you’re at the zoo and see a pregnant animal, you might say something like, “Do you see that tiger that is bigger than the rest of them? They’re pregnant and going to have baby tigers!”
- 2Have a discussion about positive and healthy relationships. For children older than 6, this is also a good opportunity to start talking about relationships. Explain that some people are straight, while others might be gay, queer, or nonbinary/transgender. Discuss what happens when someone is in a relationship, and what it means to be respectful while in a relationship.
- At this point, they might be “grossed out” by discussions about relationships and sex. It’s still important to talk about it, and let them know that they once they’re sexually mature, they can make a baby if they have sex.
- Remember to include information about contraception, STDs, and peer pressure in your conversation whenever it’s appropriate.
- Educate your teen about consent and communication in a relationship.
- 3Let your child know that they have a right to their privacy and personal space. Assure them that their genitals are private parts and that sex is a personal experience. Clarify with small children that only their parents or doctor should see these parts when helping them get clean or doing a check-up. Remind them that no one should ever ask to touch their private parts or ask them to touch someone else’s.
- You can explain this to a younger child by saying something like, “The vagina and penis are private parts, and no one should ever ask to touch yours or ask you to touch theirs. If someone does ask you that, you can tell me and I won’t be mad.”
- Teach your child to get out of uncomfortable or scary situations by saying “No,” or “I have to leave.” Let them know that it’s never wrong to say no to an adult if they’re scared or uncomfortable.
- Reassure your child that they will never be in trouble for telling you about a “secret” that has to do with their body or private parts.
Where Baby Come From Lyrics
Children are notorious for asking funny and sometimes inappropriate questions. However, if your kid is asking about where babies come from or how they’re made, you should try to give them an honest answer that they can understand. This will help to prepare them for their future as they’re growing up and experiencing the world. When they ask, be sure to assess the situation and tailor your response to be age-appropriate.
Determine What Your Child Knows
Start the conversation by establishing your child’s baseline comprehension of where babies come from before launching into a discussion. Ask a few questions to determine your child’s level of understanding and what they may think pregnancy is all about. Chatting casually gives you an idea of which words to use and how to employ your child’s understanding to fill in the blanks cohesively.
For example, you might start the conversation with a preschooler by asking, “Do you know how the baby got into my belly?” Listen to their response, and respond by explaining it to them in an age-appropriate way.
You can explain that a baby grows from sperm and an egg in the way fruit grows from a seed. At this age, it can be helpful and fun to explain how the baby in your belly is doing all the things babies do once they are born: eating, sleeping, and even sucking their thumb! Younger children may need reassurance the baby is safe and comfortable in the womb.
With school-age children, you can do the same. Ask what they already know about where babies come from and then follow their lead. This is a good age to introduce accurate anatomical language like womb or uterus instead of belly, for example.
You may also explain sex and how sometimes babies are made when the penis deposits sperm in the vagina. Make your discussion inclusive by sharing other ways families are created (with a doctor’s help, adoption, and surrogacy, etc.)1
If you are someone close to the family is expecting a baby, you can prepare the child for the birth by describing that process. For toddlers and preschoolers, explain once the baby is done growing in the belly, they will let the parent know they are ready to be born.2
You can be more descriptive with older children, explaining how childbirth happens, always letting kids know the parent and baby will be safe and well-cared for by the doctors and nurses. Focus on how exciting it is to welcome a new baby to the world!
Use Short, Direct Answers
The key to answering any question of this sort is to listen carefully and identify exactly what your child is asking. Sometimes, as parents, we will jump the gun and rush off entirely in the wrong direction. When it comes to how to explain pregnancy and birth to a child, stick to the topic and state the facts in a clear and concise way.
Younger children will probably just want the facts, while tweens and teens may have more complex questions about sex, relationships, and pregnancy. As kids get older, you can add more details to support a deeper understanding of these topics. It’s really up to you as the parent or guardian just how far you want to delve into more advanced topics.
While sex, pregnancy, and childbirth are nothing to feel shameful about, remind your child not to discuss these topics with other kids. You never know where other children and families are in their own journey to learning where babies come from.How to Prepare Your Child for a New Sibling
Choose Words Carefully
Children’s understanding grows through different ages and stages of development. When talking, always use vocabulary that relates to words and concepts your child already uses and understands.
While a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old may ask the same question, the context may be different. The 3-year-old may simply want to know how the baby got out of your stomach, while a 6-year-old may be asking how a baby is actually made.
Always keep your child’s age and maturity level in mind when relaying information about where babies come from. Using the wrong words or phrases can sometimes scare children. If you are asked, for instance, how the baby came out and explain a cesarean section with the words “cut out,” it’s possible that your child will be alarmed.
The same applies to the decision of whether to use specific terms or general ones. For example, describing the uterus allows a child to understand that it is separate from the stomach or belly. In this way, there will be no confusion as to whether the child may also become “pregnant” in their belly.2
The more complex the question, the more you may need to think about it before answering. Don’t hesitate to tell your child you need a little more time to find a good answer, but make sure you follow up and follow through. It’s important that you don’t ignore their questions.
If you need some extra support, find a children’s book that describes pregnancy and birth in an age-appropriate way. Sharing stories can help your child can make the association between you and the parent(s) in the book. Books open the door for a constructive conversation while answering your child’s questions effectively and accurately at the same time.
When discussing pregnancy and childbirth, consider explaining them in a way that is inclusive to gay, trans, and gender-nonconforming parents. Teach children about families created by adoption, surrogacy, and reproductive assistance as well.
You can explain that while most babies are created when sperm from the penis meets up with an egg in the vagina, not all men have sperm and not all women have a vagina. Everyone’s body is different.3
Sometimes, doctors help the sperm and the egg join so adults can have a baby. And sometimes, adults adopt children made in another person’s body. In some families, an adult will have a baby for other adults who cannot. There are so many different ways to build a family!
It’s an old maxim, but it is true: Honesty is the best policy. It’s natural to find these conversations awkward or uncomfortable, but those aren’t reasons to avoid them altogether.
Kids who are dismissed may feel shame or embarrassment or believe their questions are inappropriate or bad. If they can’t get honest answers from you, they may seek (and find) the wrong information from other kids, adults, or the internet.
You know your child best and have an instinctive sense of what they are able to handle. But you also need to consider if your own feelings of discomfort may be coloring your words. By remaining honest—and not reaching for fairy tales—you can help your child develop a healthy relationship with the human body, pregnancy, and sex.