When I was nearing the end of my second pregnancy, I had a secret source of anticipation: I couldn’t wait to smell baby poo again. There were many things I remembered about infancy: the screaming, the bouncing, the sleepless days and nights, the screaming (sometimes mine), the anxiety, the crying (sometimes mine as well), the screaming again. Amidst the few fond memories of smiles and coos, there was one thing that infallibly put a smile on my face. Namely, the sweet, sweet smell of our son’s baby poo. To me, it was a movie theater lobby completely filled with the scent of buttery popcorn. (Yeah, I went there — sorry for ruining that for you all now.)
My husband Schmoops thought I was nuts back then and he thought I was nuts with #2. (Haha, get it? Number 2. See what I did there?) He’s the polar opposite of me, and has to completely breathe through his mouth and close off his nose while changing a diaper. He grudgingly wipes poo bottoms from a full arm’s length while saying things like, “Oh, God, it’s disgusting” or “Oh, God, it stinks!” All the while sounding like he’s got the worst head cold known to mankind.
After Kidbe (heh, #2) was born, I couldn’t wait for her first breastmilk poo*. I didn’t have to wait much longer than a couple of days before I heard the unmistakable expulsion propulsion. It was beautiful, and the familiar scent wafted through her diaper as I was nursing her. I relaxed further back into my pillows, closed my eyes, smiled and took a deep breath as the intoxicating scent enveloped me in euphoria.
There’s a lot of science behind “baby smell”, and the drug-like effect it produces, but I feel there is a serious lack of data on the aphrodisiac effect of baby poo and its role on the mother/baby bond. Is the smell the same for all babies, or does it manifest differently? Might there be a cotton candy scent, or pizza scent, or the ever popular holiday season pumpkin pie scent?
Inevitably, Kidbe aged and the time for solid foods arrived, heralding the demise of sweet buttery popcorn baby poo. I’ll never forget the last time I smelled it. She’d been eating solids for about two months and hadn’t had a breastmilk poo in about as much time. One day, cleaning up after lunch, my olfactory bulb caught a whiff of that sweet eau de poofum. I literally jumped up from cleaning and ran over to her thinking in my head, “That smells like… could it be? No, it couldn’t possibly be.” But it was, dear friends. By my nose to the outside of her diaper covered bottom, dear God it was. And that was a happy day.
*Sweet Smell of Baby Poo Disclosure:
Our babies were/are breastfed so that’s the only type of poo I have experience with. I am not trying to have a debate here on formula poo versus breastmilk milk poo and which poo is superior, has less eliminated vitamins and minerals, a more complex bouquet or indicates a higher IQ. Please feed your children the way that’s right for your family and be happy and healthy… and regular.