Adventures in Baby Pooping

Illustration for article titled Adventures in Baby Pooping

If you have a baby you, quite literally, have to deal with a lot of shit. And the only thing more disturbing than scooping poop clumps out of your daughter's vagina or scraping off feces caked onto your son's balls is that you will want need to talk about it to anyone who will listen, which unsurprisingly isn't very many people, unless you know a lot of other parents. But seriously, the experience of watching an unending stream of crap flow out of a human anus like it's a Play-Doh Fun Factory is so intense that you have to talk about it just to even process the trauma.

Parents' preoccupation with poop is neither surprising nor new. But the internet certainly facilitates the conversation with forums dedicated just to baby shit, and of course, there are plenty of websites with handy "visual guides." (Parents also do their part posting videos on YouTube.) Part of the fascination, though, is that babies do so little in the first few months that they're alive, that shitting is one of the more exciting of their limited list of activities (which include sleeping, eating, and screaming).

The first thing that my daughter did in this life, seconds after she was pulled from my body, was take two large dumps. She literally gave two shits about being born. These first craps are called meconium—the gateway stool that will ignite the fire of a parent's burning passion for poop. Because it's weird! It's black like motor oil, sticky like tar and odorless. (I feel compelled to tell you that she got it between her fingers.)


Over the course of the next few days, as her body was adjusting to being alive and digesting my breast milk, her crap transitioned into something akin to salsa verde for a few days before it finally settled into this seedy, mushy, yellowish-tan mustard-type poop, that weirdly smells sweet, like baking bread. Some days I'd have to talk my brain out of thinking it smelled delicious. This shit would come out with such force that it would blow out of the top and bottom of the diaper, run all the way up her back until crap crept over her shoulders. There were many times that I would have to frantically rush her over to her changing station and try to remain calm and collected as I quickly worked on her, as though I were a doctor and she were a patient. Sometimes I even cut her onesie off of her, like we were in the ER or something, so I could get at the mess more quickly. (And so I didn't smear shit all over her thick head of hair.)

Honestly, though, the sort of fury and fracas that shot out of her teeny tiny baby asshole was nothing short of amazing. As someone who loves toilet humor and drawn to all things disgusting I was tickled brown to have a human fart machine in my midst. It. Never. Stopped. Being. Funny. Until it stopped happening altogether—as in constipation!

We just recently introduced solids—pureed fruits and vegetables—into my daughter's diet and it has changed her poop considerably. First of all, it's denser and more formed. You know, like true turds. Secondly, it smells like a public beach bathroom. What's worse, though, is that it's affected her regularity. If she were an adult, she could just take some Activia and confide in Jamie Lee Curtis. But because her system is so delicate, our options for helping her out were pretty limited.

It had been two days since our baby took a poop and it was clear that she was in pain so I called my husband and asked him to pick up some prune juice on his way home from work. He was like, "Let's just get some cocaine. It's laced with baby laxatives." I had totally forgotten about that! I was always incredulous when people would say that because I was always like, "Why would babies need a laxative?" Well, now I know that they do. Needless to say, I did not give my child cocaine, although just the thought of doing a rail made my bowels rumble. Misty water-colored sense memories!


Anyway, he came home with the prune juice, but before we could use it, we heard her make a series of farts that almost sounded like a muffled clapping so he changed her to see if there were any developments. As my husband was cleaning her up I began trying out another home remedy for baby constipation that I'd read online, narrating as I went along. He was barely listening as he was rooting around in the diaper caddy for the Balmex.

"You're supposed to measure three finger-widths below her belly button and apply gentle but firm—OH MY GOD!" It was like I'd pressed a button on a soft serve ice cream machine. This healthy stream of crap shot out of her butthole in one long (I'd estimate at least two feet) unbroken streak. It had kind of an arch to it, since she was sucking on her feet at the time, leaving her butt pointed up in the air. While I have seen Two Girls, One Cup, I'd never seen shit come out of another human being's anus in person like that before. And right in my face, too. It was so intimate. And awful. I screamed.


I noticed just then that my husband was screaming as well. I turned to him and saw that—Balmex ready to apply on his fingers—his hand was right beneath the source. He panicked and just began catching poop in his now shaking hands. I screamed at that, too.

As her crap was coiling in his palms, it occurred to me that this might be a really important moment in all of our lives, worthy of documentation. In between screams and laughter I shrieked, "Should I film this? Let me get my camera!"


My husband yelled, "That's not who we are!"

I furrowed my brow at his gross mischaracterization of me but before I could really concern myself over whether or not he really knew me or could contemplate the state of my marriage, my daughter had released her foot from her mouth and slammed her entire leg into her shit pile, so we had to deal with that.


I couldn't stop thinking about the incident the entire next day. I told everyone about it—friends, coworkers, my parents, my trainer. Her poop had given me diarrhea of the mouth. I was still troubled by the fact that my husband wouldn't let me film it. Well, not that he wouldn't let me, but that he seemed to be judging me for wanting to. I just felt like if I watched it all again, I could actually make sense of what happened. Plus, I thought it would be funny and I wanted to gross people out with the video. So I confronted him about it.

"I never said that," he said. "Maybe I said something that sounded like that. Look, I have no illusions about who we are. We are incredibly intrusive people."


Which is true. If my daughter ever reads this one day, she'll probably be humiliated. Not because I described her shit in detail, but because she'll be faced with the reality that she was bred from two disgusting people obsessed with her poop.

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It's weird. I've heard so many people talk about the baby poop smell that I sometimes wonder if my little brother was simply a freak of nature.

The background is that my brother was born when I was 16 years old and just about to be a junior in high school.

Because my parent's bedroom was on the first floor of our house and my bedroom was next door to my brother's bedroom this meant that 90 percent of the time when he woke up in the middle of the night and needed changing or a bottle I was the one who heard him first and dealt with it. (This is not a complaint - my brother was/is cool.)

I was also the one who woke up in the morning with him and took him to daycare on my way to high school so my parents could get a decent night's sleep. And, I was the one to pick him up from daycare when high school was done.

Anyway what this meant was that I changed his diaper very, very often and while I was aware that I was often cleaning up shit, the smell never bothered me. It was just one of many things I had to deal with to make sure my brother was OK.

I suppose that I may be forgetting the first few times I dealt with his diaper and that it may have bothered me then, but I'm 100 percent sure that by the time I'd changed diaper #50 it was just part of the deal.

Bottom line - I've dealt with a lot more baby poop than most non-dads and did not find it particularly gross at all. Cleaning it up was just part of loving my brother.