30 May 2014

How Moms Feed Their Babies

Dino said to us over dinner last night that he'd like for us to have a baby, so that he could have a little brother or sister. I assured him that if God chose to give us a baby, we'd let him know, but He hasn't yet. Dino replied that he would already know, because my belly would be big! Tim told him that it doesn't actually show for a few months after pregnancy starts.

That led to a series of questions that made us practice our belief in answering those questions when they are asked, with no more and no less information than exactly what was asked. When he asked how babies eat, we told him how mothers make milk for them. He has seen puppies and piglets nurse from their mothers, so he was already familiar with the concept of nursing in the animal kingdom. We spoke briefly of breasts and nipples.

I showed him a clip from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood about how animal and people moms feed their babies. I love this video because it shows real human anatomy, the way it is supposed to function, in a manner that is respectful and appropriate. (skip to 2:43 to pass the ventriloquist dummy lead-in)

Then he asked how you know whether a baby is a boy or girl when it is born, and we answered his question using real anatomical terms, without joking or giggling. "You look between the baby's legs. If it has a penis, it is a boy. If it has a vagina, it is a girl." Dino was perfectly satisfied with this brief explanation, and we went on about the rest of our evening.

I remember my mom always being open with me about human nature, anatomy, and even sex. So many of my friends' parents would get embarrassed when their children raised questions like that, and wouldn't answer them ("ask me again when you're older") or would answer them with wrong or dumbed-down information (storks, wee-wees, baby fairies...). I appreciated being able to ask a straight question and getting a straight answer, and I intend to do that with my child as well.

I am ashamed to admit that he did ask a couple of months ago about how babies are born, and I was caught off guard and didn't give a very good answer. If we do get pregnant, though, the question will come up again and I will be more prepared to give him the straight answer that he needs!

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