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Where Do Babies Come From?

What’s a parent to do when your child asks, “Where did I come from?”  First, start by taking a deep breath to gain composure. Children usually catch a parent off guard when their curiosity peaks. RELAX!
Second, remember this rule of thumb:

Start with the general, then gradually move toward the specific.

Merely answer your child’s question (no more and no less).  Keep it simple – especially if the child is young. Your child’s curiosity may be very general and offering more information than what is being requested can sometimes complicate the situation.

Ask yourself, “What is my child really asking me?”  If you are still uncertain – ask your child.  This is a great way to learn what your child is thinking.  A very general answer may suffice.  To illustrate, consider a few of these examples:

  • Where do babies come from?”  Answer:  “… a baby      grows in a special place inside mommy’s body.”
  • How does the baby get there?”  Answer:  “…the baby grows inside a tiny egg.” 
    • If more information is needed, continue with,  “… When it is fertilized by sperm from the daddy.” 
  • “How does the sperm get there?”  Answer:  “…this happens when mommies and daddies love each other in a very special way. 
    • If more information is needed, continue with, “…When mommies and daddies join together in a special way the sperm leaves the dad and goes into the mother’s body.”  “…Sperm and eggs are called cells and when the cells come together that’s how a new human life begins.”

Read the book, How You Were Born, by Joanna Cole & Margaret Miller

Full Explanations Can Wait

General answers are usually enough for the young child.  Deciding the best time to fully explain reproduction depends on your child’s age, maturity level, curiosity, and exposure to this information by his peer group.  Each parent must decide when this time will be. 

No matter what the situation, just remember to relax, find out what your child is really asking, keep it simple, and tell the truth.  If you remember these simple guidelines it may be easier than you think.

Prepared by: Giesela Grumbach, Family Life Educator, Matteson Center Spring 2001, Revised 2006

Editor: Patti Faughn, Family Life Educator, Springfield Center, 2006