You wait nine-ish months for the arrival of your new little bundle of joy (with increasing impatience and a sudden lack of humor) but when your new bundle is born, you hesitate before touching him or her. I mean, the baby is covered in your bodily fluids – and it’s gross. We all take the baby, but we all inwardly cringe just a little. Maybe not in the moment of excitement meeting our new baby, but definitely later looking at photos and realizing that your insides are all over your outsides now (what? I know it’s not just me). The simple truth of that matter is that newborn babies are seriously gross and we – for whatever reason – don’t care. For a few glorious days, nothing that baby does seems disgusting, gross or completely cringe-worthy. When the sleep deprivation and newness wears off, however, that little bundle of joy seems more like a little bundle of gross. With that said, we have a nice long list of things that are seriously gross about babies (not that we don’t love them completely).
The Umbilical Cord Stump
For a few days we are just annoyed that we have to work around that darn plastic thing that’s cutting off the stump of our baby’s umbilical cord and basically killing and rotting human flesh. But we don’t see it as that right away. What we see is that little thing that means we have to fold down tiny diapers for a few weeks.
Then it falls off and you realize that it smells, it’s gross and you just spent weeks cleaning that thing with alcohol (and not drinking while doing it) and it’s really nasty. Also, it just occurred to you at week three of your baby’s life that he or she has not had a real bath yet all because of that dead, rotting piece of cord. Ew.
No one mentions prior to having a baby that you have to do something called change a diaper. It’s a completely brand new thing that all parents are surprised with when the baby arrives. Okay, so you know all about diapers. So how come, in the millions of conversations about dirty diapers, does no one mention meconium? It’s newborn number 2, and it’s pretty gross. It’s grosser than ‘real baby’ poo because it’s black, it’s like tar and it smells like death – on a good note, it makes that lovely scent from the umbilical cord seem less offensive. It’s also the most difficult cleaning job you will ever have.
It. Does. Not. Come. Off.
They (who is they?) say you will use thousands of wipes over the course of your baby’s diaper stage, but they don’t mention that 90% of them will be used to clean meconium. The stuff that does not come off.
The Mommy Diaper
For 39 weeks until I went into labor, no one bothered to mention that I, too, would have to wear a diaper when the baby arrived. How on EARTH do parents forget to mention this when they’re telling of the perils of childbirth? For almost two weeks my husband had to help me put on my own diaper, complete with ice and these oh-so-sexy netted underpants that come up past your bellybutton, almost to your armpits, and really do a number on your sex appeal.
Any husband’s upset about that whole no lovin’ for six weeks rule will change their minds once they help you with that first diaper. Because it is not sexy – and suddenly, neither are you.
Anyone else’s baby vomits on you and you want to die right then and there. When a niece of mine vomited on me at one point before our first daughter was born, I was horrified. And then my mother informed me that as a new mom I’d wear vomit all the time. Well, I didn’t. For one, I’m a mom – not a trash can. So what I did was logical; I changed my clothes when I was spit up on. But baby vomit is gross, especially when you’re nursing and you realize that the stuff coming out of their bodies first came out of your body, and now it’s even more disgusting.
What we think of when we see newborn babies are cute sighs, sleepy smiles and just overall happiness. But what happens in real life is the noises that they make when they use the bathroom. It sounds like there is a bomb going off. And sometimes, there is a bomb going off. And if you think that the noises baby makes are bad, you should see the mess that comes with each noise. My intention is not to make anyone revisit their previous meal, but sometimes it’s so bad that scissors are necessary to cut off the baby’s outfit and handle the issue.
With four kids, we’ve done this more than once. Sometimes more than twice per child; per week.
The Moral of the Story
At the end of the day I think we can all agree that babies are more than just a little bit amazing. But at the same time, I think we can all agree that they are significantly more disgusting than people like to mention. Perhaps it’s the sweet outfits and the big bows on newborn girls, the darling toothless smiles and the beautiful blue eyes that make us forget that newborns are disgusting. Or perhaps carrying them around so long makes us decide we just don’t care how gross they are since they’re not inside of us anymore.
Either way, the moral of the story is that babies are a little gross, and there are a few things we need to do to make them less gross. For one, buy a lot of baby wipes and always have them on you. Secondly, keep towels and scented trash bags in the car so that you can use them on a whim. Trust me when I say you will use them far more often than you imagine.
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