How Babies Are Made

The other day, I was at my friend Tina‘s house and spotted this amazing book…

How Babies Are Made (update: bummer! they’ve sold out of lower priced copies) was originally published back in 1968, which was an awesome year for graphics (Rosemary’s Baby, Zeffirelli’s Romeo & Juliet, etc).

The authors explain simply and clearly how flowers procreate, then chickens, then dogs, then people. The tone seems very respectful of young readers, and the authors understand what children would want to know (for example: “The doctor removed the umbilical cord. This did not hurt”). Plus, the paper-cut illustrations are fantastic.

Here’s a peek inside…

We’ve discussed talking to kids about sex before, and I’m definitely adding this book to our future repertoire. Used copies available here, if you’d like!

P.S. Our favorite children’s books, and Toby as a teeny tiny reader:)

  1. Mesh says...

    Im 50 Years old now, and i guess i was probably 10 when i got this book …. thanks to my brother, who got it for me…. its a great book for educating children…..


  2. Holy shoot. I had this book growing up. I saw the flower picture and immediately remembered it. I loved this book, so fascinating, I think the paper cutout illustrations really appeal to me

  3. We have this book, too. And we also have a newer, great book for those of you who are looking for more inclusive info about where babies come from: What Makes a Baby, by Corey Silverberg. Babies come from sperm and egg/somebody with a uterus. Some people have these things, some people don’t. This book’s simple explanation includes lots of different families. And it also includes cesarean birth – and the people are all different (cartoony) colors:

  4. Thank you for posting this! I remember reading this when I was little and I haven’t seen it in so long I was almost sure I had imagined it.

  5. My answers to “where do babies come from” came from erotic literature. Haha. I turned out alright, though!

  6. This may ruin the sweet flow of comments, but I must add a counter view for some to consider. (I know, I know. Insert that gif of the eye-rolling woman here!) When my mother gave me “How Babies Are Made” (I was 5 1/2, awaiting the arrival of my beloved little sister), I was abruptly pulled from my dreamy innocence by the turning of one page: the one that shows Daddy on top of Mama. I’ll never forget my reaction: I felt strange, confused and, I guess, troubled. My mother meant well, of course, but for some reason, it was too much information for my little self–adding the sexual details/imagery with the gestures and the physical position. The picture on that page came to inform the way my little friends and I played, as if we had to act the image out in an effort to understand and accept this grown-up behavior. Our play was just different from then on, and my perception of adults was, too. Just because I had questions about how Mama got a baby in her tummy didn’t mean that I myself was ready for such explicit and visual answers. (I honestly could not get that image of the parents making love out of my 5-year-old head) So, I guess just keep in mind that for some children, the “talk” should happen even more gently and slowly. Once you see something, you can’t unsee it.

    • Heather H says...

      I can TOTALLY relate to this comment — I don’t remember the name of the “where do babies come from” book that I read, but I sure wish my parents had talked to me about it more and that maybe the illustrations had been more thoughtfully orchestrated!

  7. lexi and all those who have been speaking up about this post, thank you. I believe it is imperative that all families speak with their children about the many ways babies can come into families. Those of us who did not bring babies into our families the way pictured in the book have or will have this conversation with our kids all the time because we live those differences. Straight (fertile) couples don’t HAVE to have that conversation (this=privilege), but for the sake of their children and for the children who don’t want to be looked at sideways when they say they say they have two moms, are adopted, etc., please do.

    Joanna, all the above being said, I know your intentions were good behind this post, and thank you for giving us an opportunity to discuss something really important.

    Just bought “What Makes a Baby”–thanks for the suggestion!

  8. I recommend the book What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg. It is a completely inclusive telling of human reproduction that engages kids by asking them questions like “Who was waiting for you to be born?” and lets them define their own families.

    It does not privilege white, heterosexual married couples having missionary sex.

    Here’s a link:

  9. oh, biscuit, has it gotten that high??? crazy! i think it’s because they’re sold out of cheaper copies. mine was $8.

  10. AB says...

    I completely agree with a couple of comments on this post. Our two children are the product of the love between two women with help from donor sperm and IVF. Of course our children have been taught the many ways of how babies are made but I wish their (sometimes mean) peers would also be taught beyond the basics of this book. Please feel free to use this book as a starting point but don’t forget to teach children that not every baby needs a mom and a dad.

  11. I teach middle school science and actually had a student BRING this book to me!! It was quite the topic of discussion :)

  12. I didn’t recognise the title but those pictures! I remember my friend Joanna had this book on their bookshelf when I was about 7 or 8 and I would look at it any chance I could!

  13. My mom used this book with my siblings and me when we were younger!

  14. Wow, deja vu indeed. I think this book at a friend’s house when I was 8 (!) was my first explanation of sex.

  15. Very cool. I found it odd, though, that the book specified that mom and dad are “facing each other” when the baby is made. Interesting. That detail is not necessarily true, and is one that could’ve easily been left out of the story without causing confusion.

  16. I may look into getting this book (if I can find it). My boys are 6.5 and 4. They have asked a couple of times how they got in my belly, and I have so far gotten away with “God put you there.” Now, they do know how they got out (I had c-sections with both), and it doesn’t bother me to tell them that (although oddly, my c-section scar hurts when I talk about being cut open), but I am so not ready to talk about how they got in me. :)

  17. Thank you for this. It looks charming. I bought It’s So Amazing for my 6 year old to read to him after we finish his current book (he’s been asking a lot of questions!) but I’ve been a little nervous about just diving into all the information all at once. I think I’ll start with this book, which looks like it explains the most basic way babies are made (and in fact the way he was made) and then branch out with the other book as he asks more questions :)