There’s a lot of advice you’re given when you’re about to become a parent for the first time. Most is unsolicited, so prepare yourself, but most of it is well-meaning and comes from a place of kindness.
Kind of like the lady who told me that if the baby was pushing down on me too hard, that I should get on all fours, arch my back like a cat, breathe in deeply (are you visualizing an 8 month pregnant woman doing this? PLEASE DO), and then slowly exhale. “Letcher belly just flop down!” She told me this complete with a step-by-step example… in public… with lots of people watching. See? I told you… unsolicited but mostly well-meaning.
In addition to all of the advice, whether for mother’s well-being, or father’s well-being, there’s also a flood of information coming your way about what your baby is going to be like, how you should raise it, and what will or will not happen to you in the adventure that is parenting. Some of it, I’m sure, is completely true. Some of it.
The one that I really believed the most was that if I breastfed my baby, his dirty diapers wouldn’t stink.
“REALLY?” I said, wide eyed and naive. “You’re not serious are you?”
“Oh, yeah! If you give your baby formula those diapers are going to SMELL, but if you nurse him, they won’t stink! TRUST ME. I KNOW.”
If you knew how sensitive I am to smells, you’d know that I immediately swallowed this tale- hook, line, and sinker. Because this was one of the things that I had obsessed about the most for whatever pregnant hormonal reason. “This,” I told myself, “this is how moms make it around the diapers. They breastfeed and then it just won’t smell!”
Fast forward a few months when my exclusively breastfed (at that point – we’ll get to this later) infant let one loose on me. I took my sweet child to the nursery and opened up the diaper. And my nostrils…. were… assaulted.
Y’all. It was like a mustard gas bomb. My eyes watered, my nostrils burned, and I swear to you I even TASTED that bad boy. It was PUTRID. If hell had a smell, that would’ve been it. My sweet, cooing, exclusively breastfed infant delivered what might have been one of the worst things I had ever smelled. And I knew it. I’d been had.
At that point, I told myself, fingers covered in excrement, that I should write a book. Or a blog. Or something. Something to let the discerning parent (laugh at yourself now, none of us are) know the truth from the lies.
Lie #1 – Breastfed babies poop doesn’t stink.