I fancy myself a bit of a hippie mom. But our pediatrician’s recommendation to slather baby poop on our faces had even me doing a double take. Our soft-spoken doctora launching into a story about another father, who in his eagerness to revel in the benefits of his new arrival’s droppings, spread the green colostrum poop from the first few days onto his skin.
The results were not good.
But once you’re talking yellow breastmilk doodies, it’s fair game. The idea is that the poop contains much of the same benefits as the actual milk, which has been said to be good for moisturizing skin, acne and eczema among other things. I’ll admit, since my milk came in I’ve been using it on everything from those little baby scratches on Mona’s face from her tiny but impossible to cut razor sharp nails. To a zit that popped up on the side of my lip. To a natural nipple cream after nursing. It’s even said to be good for wrinkles, sunburns, sore throats, pink eye and ear infections.
With each dirty diaper that comes our way, my husband and I jokingly wonder if this will be the one that makes it out of the pail and onto our cheeks. So far, neither of us has had the balls.
You have to draw the line somewhere, he says.
And maybe this is it for me.
But it’s not all outside of my comfort zone.
In fact, through this odorous anecdote I also learned a very important fact about baby poop. That so long as you’re exclusively breastfeeding, it’s sterile. That means no changing diapers in the middle of the night, no matter what sounds rumble from below. This has been immensely helpful for an already good sleeper and eater cutting my night feeding time from twenty minutes to an hour tops. Also meaning that when it comes to cleaning, a simple wipe with a wet cloth will do the trick. So far we’ve had zero issues with irritation or otherwise.
Because when it comes to normal. Again, there is no such thing and there is always more to learn. Take co-sleeping for instance. In the United States it’s generally condemned as dangerous. Something mothers whisper about with a secret shame because let’s face it…it’s going to happen.
And I’m taken back to my first night at the hospital. I was given three choices. My baby could sleep in the nursery. In the bassinet next to my bed. Or with me.
Are you serious.
I assumed I was missing something in translation. But when my pediatrician arrived, she confirmed that I could sleep with the baby in my hospital bed. No $200 contraption necessary. Her explanation was simple and not scientific. That my maternal instinct will prevent me from killing my baby in the night.
No pasa nada.
No carefully worded statement to avoid liability.
No Capitalist agenda to sell expensive baby swag.
Just plain old centuries of knowledge and trust in nature.
Each time I woke in the night, it was with a slight panic until I could confirm my baby was breathing.
Feeling relieved I hadn’t somehow suffocated her.
Since then I’ve done my research and talked with friends. One who used to work with Child Protective Services sharing that if you take away deaths that occur outside of the bed or due to intoxication, the numbers fall drastically. And that if you’re a nursing mother, it’s statistically unheard of to cause a co-sleeping death. So we’ve loosened the reigns a little bit from our first son without guilt. Because rules are variable depending on where you are, and it’s up to us to choose what makes sense which sometimes means breaking one that exists somewhere else because of a different one you’ve come across down the way. Allowing me to mother in a way that feels more right to who I am, and a little less tied to the person I think I should be.