When it comes to parenting advice, it seems like everyone has some to share. Even non-parents are more than happy to give you their opinions on how best to deal with little Piper’s colic and little Morgan’s diaper rash. Well, add me to the list, because I have some advice for you too. Is it the best, most valuable advice you’ll ever get from a non-doctor type person? I’m going to say yes. You can debate amongst yourselves whether that’s accurate or not.
I’m about to share a graphic truth here, so be warned, descriptive poop talk coming up. If you’ve already had a baby, you know about this, and if you haven’t but you’re going to, you’ll eventually find out: baby’s first poop—meconium—is a sticky, tarry nightmare that you will spend an inordinate amount of time picking off her sweet little butt, piece by piece. What’s meconium made of? Sticky, tarry nightmares, like I said. More specifically, it’s everything your baby’s ingested in the womb—amniotic fluid, hair, old skin cells and other debris—when it comes out. AKA poop.
You’ll find lots of advice online about how to clean off the tarry goop after the fact- almond oil, olive oil and warm, wet cotton balls are a few of the solutions I’ve seen. Lesser known is the trick to avoiding the whole sticky, picky mess in the first place. And this is my gift to you; simple and easy to remember:
As soon as the baby comes out, immediately*, have your partner or anyone nearby smear its entire little butt with Vaseline. (Or you can do it yourself, if you have the energy, but I suggest you try to relax at this point; you must be tired.) Don’t wait! If they haven’t pooped already (yes, some babies do it while they’re still inside, that’s a whole other issue) they can do it at any moment. Be ready. Keep that little bum covered in Vaseline (or the petroleum jelly product of your choice) until the greenish black tar comes out—it could be in a few minutes or a few days—then just wipe it off, easy peasy.
One less thing to deal with in those hectic early days of parenthood. Trust me on this, you’ll be glad you did. Then share this tip far and wide. Friends and strangers alike will thank you.
*If your caregiver suggests you do something else immediately, of course, defer to them.