Tough Questions: Talking to a Young Child about Baby No. 2

by Gena Kittner

Ellie: How is new baby getting out of your tummy?

Me: I’m going to wiggle him out.

I was just about to pat myself on the back for what I thought was a snappy, non-graphic, on-the-spot answer regarding delivery of our second child, due in July, when my 3-year-old came at me with a follow up:

Ellie: How did it get in there?

Oh boy.

How to talk to your Young Child about baby #2

Ellie is super excited to be a big sister, in fact I’m pretty sure it’s her favorite topic of conversation. She alternates between what toys she thinks “new baby” (as we’ve coined him) will like, and which ones she plans to hide.

She’s also had lots of questions. In the beginning, when I’d started to show and we told her mommy had a baby growing in my tummy, Ellie decided she had a baby growing in her tummy, too.

She’s since abandoned this idea as I’ve continued to expand and she hasn’t. Now she’s more concerned with the details of her brother’s arrival.

In the true preschooler mindset, everything must happen immediately. Almost daily she asks if new baby’s here. I tell her he has more growing to do and will be born when “it’s really, really hot.”

Ellie Is your baby giving kicks?

Me: No, I think he’s sleeping now.

Ellie: Why is he sleeping? It’s morning time!

But back to the tough question at hand — how he got there to begin with. In the end, I took the easy way out.

Me: You know when we plant tiny tomato seeds and they grow into big, tall plants? Well, mommy has a small seed in her tummy and it’s growing into a baby boy.

Ellie: Oh, OK … (But) he’s going to be too big to get out of your tummy.

Yeah, no kidding.

A couple days later, I went online to see how other moms approached this topic, figuring I could always improve my answer when I’m inevitably asked again.

But I didn’t find anything I really liked. I’m the first to admit I’ve taken the easy, not-anatomically-correct route. But I’m just not ready to get that real with my 3-year-old. Some Internet commenters suggested watching a video of puppy or human births. But as truly awesome as I think the miracle of birth is, even I don’t want to watch it on video. Plus, Ellie tends to get scared during tense moments of Sofia the First. I don’t want to scar her with, literally, blood and guts.

So I’m still on the hunt for better answers.

Mommies of multiple children — how did you answer inquiries involving the arrival of your “new baby”?


Gena is a Midwest transplant living in TucsoGena Kittnern, Arizona with her husband and 3-year-old daughter, Ellie. When not killing scorpions, Gena writes about food and family. Follow her on Twitter @genakittner, and check out her previous posts on Mommy Sanest.

10 thoughts on “Tough Questions: Talking to a Young Child about Baby No. 2

  1. I can absolutely imagine that this would be a tough situation. I’m sorry I don’t have any advice, but I’d love to hear how you finally decide to approach it.

  2. I am so lucky that my two-year-old, who is obsessed with talking to and about his baby sister on the way, has yet to ask exactly how she got there. I really don’t know how I’d broach the subject with him! While I’m usually all about being frank and honest, I too worry about scaring him unnecessarily.

    • I feel the same way, Katie. Seems like there’s a fine line between honesty and what a 3-year-old really needs to know. All part of the joys of parenting 🙂

  3. Gena, we are right there with you. Our oldest is three and full of questions, and I’m due in August. No idea how to answer her, so we’ve gone the easy route, too. I’m afraid I don’t have any advice but would love to see a follow up if you get any good tips.

    Hope you and the family are well! I enjoy reading what you and Lou write.

    • Thanks Emily! I LOVED the hamburger video you posted of your little one 🙂 If I come up with any better answers I’ll be sure to let you know. Have a good summer!

  4. Pingback: What I Learned by Hosting a “Baby Sprinkle” (Or, What the Heck is a Baby Sprinkle?) - Mommy Sanest

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