15 answers

4 Year Old Wants to Know How I'm Going to Have My Baby

I am about 9 months pregnant and feel like I am ready to pop. My 4 year old son is getting very curious about how I am going to have his little brother. With my two year old my water broke while at walmart so it is a family joke and my 4 year old is catching on to it and asked if he broke my glass of water then would his little brother come. He also is asking how am I going to have the baby. How can I explain all of this to him without going into too much detail. He is very excited and wants to feel like he is apart of the whole process.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi A. - yes, I remember that question well. I thought I was being SO wise. I told my almost 4yo son that moms have a special place on their bottom where babies come out.

My son's eyes got really big and he got a huge smile and then he ran out of the room yelling "Dad! Dad! Mom's gonna poop out my baby brother!"

Hope you have better luck than I did! : )

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I haven't read all the responses so hope I'm not being redundant here. In our family, we talk openly about everything our bodies do -- proper names for body parts and such. My daughter was 2 1/2 when our son was born and she was involved with every stage of the pregnancy -- well, almost every stage :0)

Throughout the pregnancy we watched with her episodes of A Baby Story on The Learning Channel -- a reality show that follows pregnant women through the last days of their pregnancies and onto the births. We also talked extensively about how the baby would be born. I'd say things like, "Mommies have special body parts -- a uterous where the baby grows and a birth canal -- it's like a little tunnel -- where the baby will come down and out so we can meet him."

We had a water birth at a midwifery center and my daughter was present for the birth. She was fascinated to see her baby brother for the first time -- the birthing process itself was just a nonissue for her.

Every child is different, but I'd say to start watching Baby Story with your son and let him be part of the magic... if you talk to him about the "process" in a matter of fact way and let him see other families during the experience on the TV program, he'll grow comfortable with the whole idea and it will be no big deal at all.

Avoiding the subject, or approaching it with trepidation and uneasiness could cause him to attach a strange stigma to this natural experience like so many in our society already do. The human body is magnificent, and I think it's great to show children that in every way possible.

Congrats on growing your family, and good luck with everything!

My daughter was 4 when baby brother came along - I didn't get into how the baby got there-- just told her Moms have to push babies out, kinda like going poopie. Was enough info for her - in fact, I was surprised that didn't prompt more questions! LOL My opinion is they're too little for all the details, but just old enough to be curious how this is all going to happen. Good luck finding the right amount of info for your guy! :)

my friend's son noticed that girls had different 'peepers' and asked why. She explained to him that girls have two holes and one is for a baby to get out and that is why they are different. That was enough for her 4 year old.

My husband suprised me by handling this one himself. He usually shies away from this sort of thing. He told my barely 5 yr old that girls have a hole in their body to let babies out. I think he said that it's usually small, but it's stretchy so it can get bigger for a big baby to come out through.
Then he went on to explain that the doctor has to cut babies out of me. he cuts a hole in my belly and pulls the baby out. Of course, we also talked about anesthesia, and that it doesn't hurt when he cuts me.

I was surprised that my son didn't ask any more questions. Seriously, yesterday i had to explain the mid-Atlantic ridge and Pangea, because he asked if in 20 years, Idaho would be south of the equator (he loves earthquakes, plate tectonics, volcanoes, etc). Not asking more questions is not normal for him, but what we told him was plenty to satisfy his questions.

While I haven't had to explain for myself,but we have friends who are pregnant. When she asked me, I told her that our friend would go to the doctor and he would help the baby be born. That was enough at 4. At five I had to go into where, so I told her mommies are given a special place for the babies to be born. So far I've gotten away with keeping it that simple. I didn't offer up more than what she asked. Your best bet is to keep it simple and honest. Best of luck and good wishes for your new family member coming.

Have him watch a episode of the baby story. My daughter at the time 2-3 watched it with me and knew where babies came from. She would ask questions and I would answer using medical terms. She got it and a few years later informed her older brothers and cousin because they all thought they came out the tummy.

Hi A. - yes, I remember that question well. I thought I was being SO wise. I told my almost 4yo son that moms have a special place on their bottom where babies come out.

My son's eyes got really big and he got a huge smile and then he ran out of the room yelling "Dad! Dad! Mom's gonna poop out my baby brother!"

Hope you have better luck than I did! : )

How cute is that...but I can totally appreciate your dilemma. One option is to tell him that mommy is going to have the baby at the hospital, just like he was born, with the help of the doctor. If he asks how does the baby come out of your tummy...just say that you're going to squeeze him out with your love. Worked for me :) Good Luck :)

I feel that birth in general in our society is viewed in such a mysterious and scary way, which I'd like to see changed. I'd see this as an opportunity to give a simple but clear explanation. Kids can tell if their parents are uncomfortable about sensitive things so they'll turn other places for information, like media and friends. (I got that feeling because my mom used euphemisms instead of the real, biological word.) I would find a diagram of a pregnant woman's anatomy, saying, "Here is the uterus/womb where the baby floats in salt water. When the baby is ready to be born, the uterus will get tight to push out the baby. The baby will come out here [point] through the vagina."

My DD was 4 when her brother was born. A simple, "He's going to come out the birth canal,' may suffice.

But if yours is like mine, he's want more detail: 'when your brother is ready to be born, mommy's body will let her know. Right now your brother is in mommy's womb, a soft special place where he can grow and be protected. In fact he is floating in some special water (you can even add: 'called amniotic fluid,' it won't be too much for him). When he is ready to be born, the womb will start to push him into the birth canal using my muscles. My tummy will get really tight, maybe you will be able to feel it sometime! It's called a contraction. In fact, the special water might come first, and when it does, mommy is going to go right to the hospital, because brother will be on his way! When you and your brother were born, it was the best day of my life! And you can let him in on the family joke: 'I was really surprised when your little brother was born and my water came at WalMart! Remember hearing about that? Normally, a mommy wants to be resting when she is so close to giving birth. But not with your little brother. No sir! He was in a hurry to come. So he wasn't going to wait til mommy got home . . . . You know, he hasn't slowed down since . . ." etc.

For my C-section birth, we said: "Mommy's birth canal wasn't working, so the doctors had to do surgery to get you out. It didn't hurt too bad, because I had anesthesia to cut the pain, and I had a beautiful baby to look forward to. But it isn't easy either. That's why when mommy's friend Sarah had her baby, we took her dinner. Remember that? We like to help mommies when they have a new baby, because it can be a big job . . .'

As for conception, We said, "When a mommy and daddy decide to have a baby, they lie together in a very special way, so a baby can start growing in mommy's womb.' That seemed to hold her.

Saying baby is in your 'tummy' is really confusing, I think. "Womb" sounds biblical, but 'uterus' is pretty biological. Why not let kids know there is a special place for babies to grow?

Also, just be aware, your child will tell everyone what you told her. She would proudly say, "My mommy has a baby in her womb." My c-section story was reported multiple times to friends and strangers alike. ANd the topper was, in the grocery line, "Daddy, when are you and mommy going to lie together in that special way so I can have a baby sister?"

Good luck with the birth!

I had my son 7 months ago and my oldest son was 4.5 years old. So the same age as your boy. He asked me how his brother was going to come and we just told him that when it was time that daddy would take mommy to the hospital and the doctor would help mommy deliver the new baby. We didn't have him at the hospital but once I delivered I had my sister bring him to the hospital so he could see that his new brother was here. We were pretty lucky that he didn't inquire anymore after the answer we gave him. Good luck.

Congratulations on your growing family!
I agree it's important to offer the right amount of information and not overwhelm your older son with too many details, but I would also encourage you to be very direct and honest. How you discuss this topic sets the tone for a lifetime of how you will handle other difficult and intimate questions. If you are always straightforward and honest, you will set yourself up as a credible authority on any topic and your chid will feel safe discussing anything with you.
I would encourage you to let your child know your body has an exit for the baby and you and the baby will work together to let him be born and come to your family. I have three sons, and they know I have an exit for a baby tucked between my legs.
While some mothers must have cesarean births, it seems like it's important for children to grow up understanding that babies do not pop out of bellies and surgery is an emergency option but not the healthy, normal plan.
I hope you do not place too much emphasis on the doctor or midwife or hospital having or giving you a baby. . . it's so much more respectful to you for your children to understand that *mothers* work to have babies, they are not passed out by care providers or hospitals. My older boys both know "mom is strong, and she worked to have our baby. Dad helped mom." It may sound cheesy, but it means so much to me, and I hope when they are married and having their own families, they are able to appreciate the strength of their wives as the mothers of their children.
I do think a book of pictures would be great in this situation. If you want a very baby-specific set of books, we have loved "What Baby Needs" by Dr. William and Martha Sears, which is about adjusting to a new baby in the family, and their other book about pregnancy, which is called "Waiting for Baby," I think. The reading level is slightly above a four year old's level, but the pictures are excellent and we used them as a springboard for many discussions.
My sincerest best wishes to you and your little men!

Hi A.--
I too had a midwife and my son was present for the birth, so we prepped him first. A baby story, etc. will help. If you don't want to get that graphic you can also try getting an anatomy book and showing your son the uterus and the birth canal. That's what I did and it stopped the questions.
Good luck!
J.

My son, at almost 3 when I had his sister, was catching on too. He had come with me to one of my appointments and met the doctor. So we just told him that when it was time, I would go to the hospital and the doctor would help the baby get out of my tummy. When he asked more questions, I told him that mommies have a special place that babies can come out of when they are ready. Then we read a few age appropriate books about being a big brother and babies that we got from the library (sorry I don't remember the titles). One was really helpful, it talked all about how babies get fed while they are inside mommy, and covered this topic in a correct, but age appropriate, way.
Good luck with your new baby!

I would tell him, in words and phrases that a 4 yr. old can understand. My daughter started asking about where babies come from when she was 3 1/2. I explained that when 2 people love eachother they decide to have a baby. The daddy plants a seed in the mommy and that seed grows into a baby. At 3 1/2 yrs. old that was enough for her. More recently (at 4 1/2 yrs.) she asked again - this time wanting the gory details. Once again, I told her - the daddy plants the seed in the mommy and it grows into a baby. She wanted to know how the baby got out - I told her that it was kind of like "pooping" it out. Then she wanted to know how the daddy gets the seed in the mommy (yikes!) - I told her that he uses his "peepee" to put it in her "peepee". Her response? "YUCK!" And then of course was the dreaded question - "did Daddy use his peepee to put me in you?" My simple answer was "Yes." And that was it. She has never asked about it again. One tip that a mentor mom gave to me - tell the child that it's a secret between the two of you because not all kids know about it. That can help to keep them from repeating it to all their friends. I think you have to judge your own child and what you think they're ready for. My daughter has always been very factual and inquisitive about how things work. I just felt she was ready for it. Good luck! :)

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