Having been a dad for just over a week now I thought I’d share some of the wisdom I’ve acquired on
poo raising babies, just in case it can help another soon-to-be-dad to navigate the poo new little human in his house. The faint of heart (meaning 95% of men reading this) might want to stop here…
- Become comfortable with the idea of poo. Babies basically do four things: Eat. Sleep. Cry. And poop. Pooping takes a special place in this line-up, as it’s the one activity they can do at the same time any of the others are taking place. Yep. They poop while eating. It’s barbaric, I tell you.
- Related to #1, get comfortable with talking about poo. A significant percentage of conversations between the wife and I the past week has been about this topic. Regularity of poo-diapers, for sure (no one wants a constipated infant), but also colour and consistency. Squishy’s poo has gone from black and sticky (I’ll never be able to eat Marmite again) to yellow and runny (think butternut soup, which just confirms to me that it’s a vile concoction that shouldn’t be consumed by humans) – a normal transformation for breast-fed babies.
- Related to #1 and #2, get comfortable with touching poo. No matter how careful you are, in the course of changing a diaper you are going to get some on your hands. Especially if the diaper leaked (see #4), though that’s not a prerequisite. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see new poo being generated while you’re changing the diaper containing the previous poo (see #5). If you’re really lucky, new poo generation will occur at the exact moment that you’re applying the barrier cream intended to prevent nappy rash (i.e. you get a finger covered with poo, in case that wasn’t clear).
- Diapers leak. I don’t care what the packaging says about tight fit elastic bands, runny poo pockets (yes, that’s an actual thing) or super absorbent layers. Poo is sneaky, and some of it will make it past the defences. Count yourself lucky if it’s only the baby’s clothing that gets soiled. More often than not you’ll need a change of clothes yourself.
- When changing diapers, don’t be all cavalier and simply remove the soiled diaper. Something about the feeling of fresh air on bare skin seems to encourage babies to let it rip and you might find yourself, your changing table/bed, your baby, your baby’s clothes, the floor – basically anything within spraying distance – completely soaked and smelling of pee (not quite as bad as poo, but still unpleasant). To prevent being drenched in pee, lift the diaper in the front, then put it back. You’ll be glad you did.
- Being drenched in poo is less of a hazard – poo usually dribbles out, though if you’re really unlucky… Anyway, it can still come without warning in the middle of a diaper change soiling your fingers (see #3), baby’s clothes, and whatever surface you’re using for changing. I have no advice for avoiding poo-finger, but as for the rest of the nursery, once you remove the dirty diaper, immediately place a clean one beneath baby to catch any unexpected runoff while you finish cleaning up baby.
- Buy more wipes. You think you have enough wipes. You poor thing. You don’t. You can never have enough wipes. Buy wipes in bulk. Get one of those people from Extreme Couponing to help you. Keep them in the car, in baby’s stroller, in every room in the house. Why do you need wipes? To clean up poo, of course (see #1-4 & #6). You can thank me later.
- Take photos. As many as you can. A week in and Squishy is already outgrowing of her newborn features. She’ll never look this way again. Neither will yours. Capture those moments while you have them.
- Hold your baby. Hold her and look into her eyes. Study his face, his fingers, his toes. As I said in #8, baby will never look this way again, and no photo can fully capture the wonder of the real thing.
- If you can’t already, learn to cook, do the dishes and do laundry. No, it’s not women’s work, you Neanderthal. It’s just work, and considering the hell through which your baby’s mother put her body to make that little human, the least you can do while she’s feeding, bathing and changing it is make sure everything else at home is taken care of. And volunteer to change a diaper once in a while. It’s only poo, after all 💩