I once offered some leftover newborn diapers to a couple who was about to have their first baby. “No thanks,” the husband replied. “We have a pack of diapers already.” A pack. How quaint. Obviously no one had shared the news with them yet, so I felt that it was my duty as a friend. “A newborn needs to be fed every two hours,” I began, as the woman’s eyes widened in horror. “He will poop almost every time you feed him, so you could be changing around 10-12 diapers per day.” “Whaaaat?!” they screamed in unison. “How come no one ever told us before?”
What is the color of love? Never will your love for your baby be more “brown” than during his infancy. When you first bring your baby home, you will be amazed at the efficiency of his tiny body. In the beginning, the poop is dark yellow and seedy, sometimes called a Mustard Poop. (Believe me, you will switch to ketchup on your hot dogs for a while.) These poops are runny and messy, but do not smell bad; that comes later with solid foods.
Inevitably, runny poop will defy gravity by leaking out of the top of the diaper, running UP the baby’s back, and saturating his clothes. When your baby demonstrates this inexplicable phenomenon, you will discover The Bowels of the Nile. Explaining this trend is like trying to teach students that the Nile River actually flows NORTH; they scratch their heads while picturing a river flowing UP. When your baby goes through the Nile phase, put a larger size diaper over the regular one, just to give coverage higher up on the back.
Keep a bucket full of soapy water in the bathroom to soak all of the dirty outfits until you have time to do laundry. Sometimes the outfits are stained so badly that you need to just throw them away rather than spend hours trying to eliminate stains. One sure sign is when the outfit is more stained than unstained, or if it disintegrates when it hits the water.
Almost as startling as the frequency and quantity of a baby’s bowel movements is the deafening explosion of sound during Grenade Poops. Having never attended etiquette school, babies do not feel constrained by the restrictive rules of society. They will “let loose” any time, any place, and they are not the least bit shy about it. Of course, the more important the function you are attending, the greater the odds of an explosion. They are just waiting for opportune moments like, “If anyone here has a reason these two people should not be joined together, speak now or forever hold your peace” (Grenade Poop).
Somewhere around three months old, a baby may go through a phase of constipation. These episodes last for 7-10 days, and they will occur on more than one occasion. Just like waiting for a pot of water to boil, you will start to agonize over when and if your baby will ever have a bowel movement again. Somewhere around day 7, the obsession starts, watching and waiting for the big moment to arrive. Just remember, what goes in must eventually come out.
When a baby has been on solid foods for a while, nothing helps cure constipation like eating an entire jar of baby prunes. With a newborn, however, you just have to wait it out. When it finally does come, you will notice that the appearance has changed from yellow and seedy to a thicker brown. At this point, the frequency of the bowel movements may change to every other day or even once a week. And you will look back and wonder how in the world your romantic dinner conversations turned to the intricacies of a baby’s bodily functions.