Monday, March 20, 2006

Baby Poop

Tonight I held the four-month-old son of a friend and remembered baby poop.

I suppose it is only fair to explain, first, that babies who are exclusively breastfed don't have smelly poop. Certainly, their poop doesn't smell like other poop. It smells kind of like yogurt, and it looks like a cross between yogurt and scrambled eggs. If you have to deal with poop on a regular basis, breastfed baby poop should definitely be your first choice.

But there is a certain kind of eruption that only comes out of breastfed babies. When my son was a newborn, his poops were airborne. I quickly learned that I needed to avoid dairy in order to prevent the jet-propelled poops that would, on occasion, splatter the wall at the other end of the changing table. (Our first changing table was a shelf-like platform that attached to the top of the portable crib, and it was set up so that the changer would stand at the "delivery" end. This meant that, sometimes, it was not the wall that got splattered, but me.)

When he got a little older, he stopped pooping. He would poop only once every 10-14 days or so. At first, this caused us great concern, until his doctor explained that this was normal for breastfed babies. But when he did finally poop, it was an event. "Outpouring" is the only term that does it justice. We would run, screaming in panic, for more paper towels to put down, wiping the poop away as fast as it emerged. There were never enough paper towels. A diaper, even a size bigger than he needed, would not contain it. It would come, flowing out of the top and legholes of the diaper, the consistency of peanut butter (smooth). The poop could not be contained. It was a force of its own. And through it all, my son would be oblivious, happily content in whatever (else) he was doing.

Once he started eating solid food, his poop became more like "normal" human poop. By the time we got to the potty-training phase, we would resort to bargaining and pleading to avoid being the one to clean out the potty ("I did it last time"; "I had a rough day"; "I cleaned out the cat box"; "I'll go out into the sub-zero temperature and move both cars inside if you'll please deal with this").

And then, one day, finally, he pooped in the toilet. Alleluia! One more degree of separation between me and someone else's poop!

We're still working on wiping.


Conqueress said...

Wow. I'm surrounded by women with new-born babies, and have been contemplating starting a family with my husband for the last couple of years, but the poop story just scared me back a year or two. Keep up the fun writing!!!

plain(s)feminist said...

It's not the poop that's scary, it's the projectile vomit...(kidding)!

jenny riffe said...

We called it "Shisplosions" in our house! And yes, they can get quite an arc and trajectory to the flow. When our first child had his first mid-diaper change shisplosion, all my husband and I could do was yell, "S#!t! S#!t! S#!t!" Then laugh at the appropriateness of the explicative!