Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Science of Baby Poop

Can we talk about baby poop for a minute?  Because if we're being honest, that's all I think about these days. I don't know what happened to me, one minute I was going about my life, being interested in various hobbies, works of literature, and fields of scientific inquiry, and the next minute I was hyper-focused on the frequency, coloration, and ubiquitous subsistency of baby poop.

When you become a parent, one of the first things they teach you in the hospital is how to collect data on your specific baby's poop.  They give you a chart, and teach you to gather data with the level of stringent detail expected from today's top climate scientists-- and with rather more stringent detail expected from climate scientists employed by the Koch Brothers. Dutifully (pun intended) when Millie came home from the hospital, I conducted this scatological census with a level of organization and scientific competence that would have astounded the Honors Chemistry teacher at my high school.

The results?  I don't know if Millie is any better off for it, but I'm definitely more neurotic. I'm also totally fascinated. For instance, if someone said to me, would you like to see a graph of Millie's poops per day over the last 45 days? I would say to them "OF COURSE I DO.  Who wouldn't want to see that?!"  I don't have an i-phone--so I have no idea if this already exists--but I think a really great idea for an app would be one that creates color pie charts and graphical analysis of your baby's poops.

Here's an idea of how baby-poop charts would compare with other areas of scientific research:

sea level rise over time

baby poop disgustingness over time

For those of you without kids, baby poop is BRIGHT YELLOW.  Luckily for me, Millie's grandmother was able to warn me about this before it happened.  "Now the next time the baby poops" she said when Millie was just a few days old, "it will look like expensive Dijon Mustard." WHAT? Sure enough, It looked exactly like the fancy sandwich mustard I put out for my most impressive guests.  I wonder how many frantic phone calls pediatric offices receive from first time parents who are unprepared for this phenomenon. "Yes Doctor, we can't be sure but--we've just changed the baby's diaper, and we think someone must have been making fancy sandwiches in there!"  

The Baby Poop Color Spectrum- mustard

Now, some of you will accuse me of Shaky Science---simply because these charts are completely made up.  To you I say---" how dare you question my results?" Also, I say "When you have baby poop on your hands, you can't worry about nit-picky details like 'significant figures' or 'actual data.'"  Personally, I think I have a bright and shinning career ahead of me at a Koch-Funded think-tank.  Or--- if they're not hiring-- there's always a future in jet ski sales. 


  1. I used expensive diapers up until 6 months or so, but all of the sudden I started getting regular leaks. I've had very, very few since I switched to honest. I tried expensive ones at the beginning and they were terrible. My daughter is long waisted and on the thin side, so that may account for the discrepancy, but that's my take.
    Jessica Alba Diapers

    1. Thanks for the tip! We are using mostly AIO cloth- Bumgenius Organic Elementals, and so far haven't had any problems with leaks. Fingers crossed!