Need Help Answering One of "Those" Questions to 4 Year Old

Updated on April 25, 2011
A.M. asks from Chicago, IL
18 answers

My son recently asked me how he came out of my belly? I said we went to the Dr and he helped take you out. Then he asked if the Dr. cut him out of my tummy. The answer would have been very simple had I had a c-section. I always try to be honest with my kids. But, with this question, I am struggling with an answer that's appropriate for a 4 year old boy. The correct answer in my opinion is way TMI for a 4YO boy. Any advice?

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So What Happened?

Thanks so much for all of your responses. I appreciate the feedback and your answers have totally helped! When the question comes up again, I will definitely feel much more comfortable and confident in my response!

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answers from Atlanta on

I don't think there's anything wrong with the correct answer. You don't have to get graphic or give the entire sex talk. I told my 4 year old boy that ladies have a special area in their p****** p**** that opens and lets the baby come out. When he asked how babies got in bellies I told him when two people loved each other, and decided they wanted a child, they got very close so a baby would start growing. That was enough for right now!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Why would telling him the simple truth be too much information? It's human biology. Unless you have a problem with him knowing about vaginas and that you have one. ;-)

Always keep answers simple and specific to what is being asked, and use the correct biological terms. He's not asking about sex and how to have it, he's asking about how he was born. It's good practice for the "where do babies come from" and later, "how are babies made" questions.

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answers from Spokane on

My daughter asked the same question when I was pregnant with my third. She had just turned 4 and wondered how the baby was going to come out of my belly. I told her the truth. That the baby was growing in a sack called the uterus; that it was like a big waterballoon that kept the baby safe. And just like a balloon, there was an opening called the vagina (which she already knew about). And when the baby was ready to be born, mama has to push real hard to get the baby to come out, like taking a big poop. She asked if it hurts and I said that it did, but as soon as the baby is born it stops hurting.

She giggled a few times and basically said 'that's weird'. Then she rolled over and fell asleep :o)

Just be honest but keep it simple and age appropriate. I'm sure once you answer him, he'll move on to something else quite quickly.

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answers from Lancaster on

With mine, I start young with them. lol Every year on their birthdays, before we can have presents or cake or anything like that, their Daddy and I tell the story of their birth. They've all come to love this part of the ritual, and look forward to it (to the point that if I'm busy and go to get the cake out they'll say "Mommy, we haven't had our story!").

Of course, this is in simplified terms. I've always explained that babies aren't in Mommy's tummy, but inside a part of me called my womb, and I explain that it's a very special part that God created JUST to keep babies safe while they grow. Only Mommy's have wombs. Daddy's have other special parts that help make the baby, before it grows.

Then I explain that when a Mommy and Daddy love each other very much they sometimes make a baby. God made men and women different so they could fit together just right to create babies.

That usually satisfies them for a while, and when they get older, I get a little more detailed and a little more technical with each time they ask. Of course, with my one son he wanted to know RIGHT NOW how the baby got there in the first place and how it got out again. So his father and I explained it to him (he was almost five) in a fairly clinical fashion. When we were done he was silent and then he said "WELL if that's how I got to be here then I'm glad I don't remember it!". LOL

Good luck!

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answers from Modesto on

I'd be honest and just tell him Mommies have place down there by where your pee comes out and that's where babies come out and it's called the "birth canal". That way he wont be talking about your VAGINA in walmart :)

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answers from Chicago on

Yes I agree with the posters that suggested simplicity and honesty, using the correct terms. I don't think you want to tell any child that babies come from an opening where your pee comes out :). My dad is an OB/GYN and my mom a psychologist and I was a very informed child. I think I knew where babies came from at a young age, but i was also told that it's the job of mommies and daddies to tell their children about that. So if I heard stories about storks, I had to keep my mouth shut! My daughter is 5 and she asked about where babies came from even before we had her little brother. We said when mommies and daddies loved each other, god gave them a baby. She's been satisfied with that answer. She's know from a very young age that she has a vagina, that it is very special bc girls only have them, and that when she's older, that's where babies come out. I've seen her pretend to have a baby and "push" it out. I think it is just as important to educate little boys. The attitude you have and the way you talk about your body will help influence how he sees women when he's older. For example, breastfeeding in front of your children, particularly sons, shows them that breasts are not just sexual objects. I think that's very important in this day and age, where the media oversexualizes everything. So don't be embarrassed and use this as an educational opportunity with your son! Teach him how marvelous women are and that creating life is a normal process - and our bodies are different but all beautiful. He'll be a better man for it! Good luck!

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answers from Portland on

"There is a special passage for a baby to come out."

Next question: "Where is it?"

"It's between the mama's legs. It's a passage from the womb, where you were growing and living, so that you could come out when you were ready to live and breath and eat all on your own."

You can decide how much you want to add, depending on his continued questions. Children generally ask questions geared precisely to what they want to know, so you can stay pretty general. Let his questions lead you.

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answers from San Francisco on

here's a responce from another mom, on another website back in 2008:

"Well, if you would have asked me how I would PLAN to tell my 3 1/2 year old and how I actually DID.... It would be two different stories. My 3 year old son asks SO MANY QUESTIONS... And after I answer it, he has a question about that... and so on and so forth. So after trying to gently dodge the question, I just blurted it out. It was something very close to this once it got started....

ME "Mommy will push the baby out"

SON "From where"

ME "Mommy has a special place where the baby comes out. Like this (and I simulated a very clean looking fake push" and just pointed to that area.)
I was inwardly mortified ;-)

So to my great surprise he said "oh" and then "Where is the baby now?"
I said "In mommy's belly"

So then I went on to explain that when God gives us a baby - he gives it a special place in my belly to grow and I went into basic detail about how it starts "this big" and kind of faked an explanation how it gets bigger and bigger... how it has to grow up, arms grow, gets hair, nose gets bigger, gets all 10 fingers & toes....until it's ready to come out.

Then I said when it's time for the baby to come, mommy gets a big tummy ache and that's when mommy knows it's time for the baby to come. I said it hurts a little - but not too bad. I told him that mommy will have contractions and gave an exagerated squeeze on my belly that made him laugh and said each contractions makes the baby move down farther until it's about here (and I pointed to the lowest part of my belly.... and when it's down far enough, mommy pushes it out.

He was very satisfied with the explanation and didn't ask any more questions.

I did follow it up (because he's a little boy) with that the baby comes out gooooooopy and we had a fun laugh over that. But seriously... the more I just give my son straight answers whether it's about how a clock works, how birth happens or why it rains... he is satisfied and soaks it in. I can't believe how much information kids retain! I think there is an age of innocense where they don't process things with the knowledge & imagry that we have and it's not embarassing for them as it might be for us.
The one draw back is now he will say sometimes "Mommy... are you going to push the baby out today?" in front of somebody and I wonder what they think... :-)

Good luck finding the right solution to your question... I hope you find something that works well for you."

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answers from Fort Collins on

I am at a loss too for an honest answer without the facts when he is being so direct. I guess you could always try telling him that is a complicated question that you cannot answer until he is older. You might look for some children's books that talk about birth and see how they approach it.

We grew up raising animals, so my five year old knows how the baby gets out of mommy's tummy. His response was "mommy, I am not sure that I would like that" I laughed and said that I was not sure that I did either.
IMO it is a fact of life and not something to be embarrassed to tell your child and I have found that it is easier to tell them things like this when they are younger because they just except it as a fact rather than get emotionally evolved in the process. That is just my opinion and I hold no judgement against those who feel differently.

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answers from Cumberland on

I'd go with honesty--my almost 3 year old was asking about this since I'm pregnant with our 2nd. Lol--of course she asked in the middle of a thunderstorm as we drove to the OB 's office and she prefaced her question about how it came out with exclaiming that she thought we were going to the doctor's to have the baby come out that day...Needless to say I deflected her question until we got home out of storm. The What to Expect series of children's books has one on babies--very clear but kid appropriate. I used that with my daughter. It mentions a tunnel the baby comes down and I told her about my belly would squeeze and rumble so I would know to push the baby out and that it would be hard work etc so mommy would need rest afterward...Hope this helps.

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answers from Minneapolis on

"Mommy has a special spot near her bottom that the baby comes out". "Mommy has to push the baby out and it is lots of hard work".
"Yes it hurts, but only for a little bit, and then you get to have a wonderful new baby".

This worked with my boys.
They have yet to ask how the baby got in there.

I have had lots of questions about how come the eggs we buy at the store do not contain baby chickens....


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answers from Dallas on

Good luck, you sound like you have a sharp one on your hands! I would just say the Dr helps the babies come out in a lot of ways and then change the subject. I too don't like to lie to kids but I am a big fan of distracting and deflecting.

Also, I have a friend who swears by the rule answer any question with a question or at most one sentence. I think this is tiring but she has great luck with it. So if her 4 yr old asked if Dr cut baby out of tummy, she would say something like "I was so excited I don't remember. What do you think Doctors do?" and then just listen. She gets some really funny and interesting answers from her kids this way.

Best of luck to you.....

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answers from Chicago on

Both my sons did approach me with the same question around 4-5 years old too. Fortunately, they both were C-sections and that was the answer I gave them because technically the doctor did cut me open. If they were not, I probably would have told them that I would explain it to them when they are 10 years old since that is the age the school starts their sex education class.



answers from Chicago on

I told my kids that everyone has a place where poop comes out and while a little different a place where pee comes from and girls have a place in between that when a baby is done growing inside mom, it will come out there. I am always open and honest. When you show embarrassment they read into it and make it a bigger deal than it is.



answers from Houston on

Every mommy has a part where babies come out. I can't show it to you b/c its a p****** p*** of my body. But one day you will learn about it.



answers from Chicago on

My daughter also asked about this at a young age and would not let it go when I tried simple answers, kept wanting more info. I wasn't sure how much to tell her, how to explain it, etc. so I went online and looked for books. They actually do make them for ages 4-7. One I found was written by a lady who appears on The Today Show regularly. I think she is a psychologist and her name is Dr. Gail Saltz (sp.?). The other had more detail (my daughter was 7 when she asked a lot of questions) and it was written by the wife of the man who created the Arthur series on PBS. Her last name is Brown; I believe her first name is Lauri. I read these with my daughter a couple times and they must have answered her questions at the time because she lost interest in the topic after that. Good Luck!


answers from Dallas on

This is why I'm so thankful I had c-sections! I often wonder how vaginal-birth Mommies answer this question. It's so easy for me, I have the scar and everything.

I would just tell him (I think) that there's a place by where your pee pee comes out that the doctor helped pull him out of. Sounds good to me. too graphic? I don't know.

You could always redirect his attention.... lol


answers from Oklahoma City on

I agree with your other answers on here.... I tell my kids that all mommies have a special place near their bottoms where the baby comes out once it's don't growing big enough. So far they haven't asked how the babies get in there! :o)

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