When parents have a baby, they think that little bundle of joy is just the sweetest, cutest, most adorable thing in the world…until the first exploding diaper. Or projectile spit up. Or when he first knocks his dish all over the floor. Yeah, babies are little stinkers, aren’t they? Sometimes literally!
It’s not easy to be responsible for another human being’s gastrointestinal tract, is it? Mom's entire existence will revolve around the endless cycle of feeding, burping and changing. Then as they get older and begin to eat “solid” food (since when is mushed up cereal solid?) there comes a whole other level of “ick.”
Food is messy. My mother says when I was young I dumped an entire bowl of spaghetti over my head. That must have been a fun cleanup! And #2 from solid food? Infinitely worse than that from breastmilk or formula. Not to gross anyone out, but if there's a woman who thinks little baby poop smelled bad, get ready for the toddler years. Good times!
But as mom gets to be a more experienced parent, she learns the pitfalls of feeding and changing her little one—although be ready, because there will always be surprises up ahead. Just when mom thinks she's got this parenting thing figured out, another challenge will come along that she didn’t consider.
Or she’ll get overconfident, thinking that she's got it all down pat, and then she’ll realize she made a rookie mistake and forgot to pack actual diapers in the diaper bag. But I’ve gathered some of the common faux pas for moms to try and avoid on their changing and feeding journey. Warning: Grossness ahead!
16 Reaching In To Check And Getting #2 On Her Hands
There is nothing like pulling back your baby’s diaper to check for poop—and getting a fingerful of that exact thing. Sometimes if it’s a big one, it creeps up their butt crack, which could result in an actual blowout up the back. This is disgusting but at least very visible, so maybe, just maybe, you can avoid getting it on yourself.
But the sneak-attack poop pretends to be just a regular dirty diaper. You think there’s something in there, but you just want to make sure, so you pull back—and are surprised to feel something on your hand. Yuck! There is nothing worse. My advice? I’ve found the sniff test to be more reliable.
It’s just too hard to tell what’s in there by pulling the diaper back, and I have not wanted to risk the unintended consequences! But if you sniff, you can usually tell—especially as your baby gets a little older and their poop gets more pungent.
15 Not Using A Burp Cloth
All parents have done this at some point. You don’t have the burp cloth handy, but you think, “Eh, it’ll be fine, he doesn’t usually spit up,” and of course that is the one time he decides to grace you with a big wad of white stuff. Some parents have been known to get it all the way down their back! (To be fair, a burp cloth wouldn’t protect against that, but it might help catch the globs on your shoulder.) And it’s always when you’re actually wearing a shirt you like, right?
Rule of thumb: Always, always have a burp cloth on your shoulder after your baby has eaten. And at all times, even if you don’t have it on you at least have a burp cloth within arm's reach—whether baby has just eaten or not. You never know when you’re going to need it. Another tip? For cheap burp clothes, use cloth diaper inserts. They’re absorbent and wallet-friendly!
14 Forgetting To Put Diapers In The Diaper Bag
This is a classic mistake. You’ve packed the kid up and headed out for a fun, kid-filled activity. Of course that will be the moment your little one decides to take a huge dump. You bring him to the bathroom and put him on the baby changing table, and are searching in your bag—but there are no diapers! You forgot to refill the bag from your last outing.
Now what? You have two choices. If it doesn’t seem too bad, you can let your little one finish up the music class or storytime before you head home to change. But if it’s a big one or your baby is prone to diaper rash, you’re just going to have to make a hasty retreat, unless you have a mom friend who can lend you one, or you feel comfortable asking a stranger for an extra diaper (it takes a village, doesn’t it?).
If it’s a blowout, well, you’re just screwed.
13 Getting A Spray Tan Before Breastfeeding
It’s tough being a new mom. One of the hardest things is finding time for yourself, because self-care is so, so important for moms’ mental health. But one new mom learned the hard way that her “me” time getting a spray tan may have some unintended consequences!
“From one mum to another, I’d like to let you know about my fail of fails,” mom Gemma wrote on Facebook. “Yesterday I had a spray tan, a few hours later I breastfed my little boy. Cue 5 o’clock shadow and a very guilty mummy.” Aww, don’t feel bad, but lesson learned! After she posted the pic, it went viral.
According to the breastfeeding website kellymom.com, spray tanning while breastfeeding is safe because it’s topical, so it doesn’t get into breast milk. But, you don’t want the baby to actually ingest the spray tanning chemicals, so make sure to wash any excess off before breastfeeding.
12 Lifting The Kid Up To Smell Diaper And Bumping Into The Ceiling Fan
Remember how I said the sniff test was better than peeking inside baby’s diaper to check for poop? Well, just make sure you have clearance when you lift the little guy over your head! One dad learned that you could risk bumping baby’s noggin.
“I lift him up when we get to his room to make double sure that I was not smelling the diaper that is in the trash,” dad Brandon wrote on his blog, The Rookie Dad. “It was really him. However, as I was lifting him up, I forget that there is a ceiling fan and light in his room. Next thing I know I hear a crash and feel the Kid’s head flop back. I look up and see a broken light bulb and hear the Kid start to whimper.” This sounds scary!
“I lay him down on the changing table and see that his forehead is starting to bleed,” Brandon says. “How could I have forgotten about the ceiling fan? I can not help but laugh at the same time feeling bad for the pain that I just caused my son. How could I be such an idiot? Oh jeez I am so sorry for hurting you, little man!” Luckily, his son just had a few scratches!
11 Airplane Fails—Baby Just Won’t Open Their Mouth
Parents love to post videos of feeding their babies on their internet. When they have their first real food, it seems like such a milestone that you have to record it! But, babies won’t eat if they don’t want to, which means a lot of parents resort to silly tactics to get their little ones to open up.
“The airplane” has become the classic way to try to get a stubborn tyke to open her mouth. But more often than not, the baby just looks at you like she’s trying to figure out what in the world you are doing! Dad Wayne posted his airplane attempt on YouTube. “Let’s try feeding you like a normal human,” he says in the video, and sure enough, once he gives her the food without the airplane, she takes it!
Some advocates of “baby-led weaning” say giving baby foods she can hold and feed herself is preferable to feeding with a spoon, that way she can control what goes in her mouth. Given all these airplane fails, that might not be a bad idea!
10 Putting Clothes Back On Backwards
You’ve successfully changed your baby’s diaper and gotten his clothes back on—parent win! But then you realized you didn’t actually put them back on the right way. “I just realized my little dude's pants are on backwards after the last diaper change,” dad Ian posted on Facebook. Whoops! Maybe he could start a new trend of backwards clothes like the ’90s hip hop duo Kris Kross?
There’s really no way to avoid this one—every parent is going to do it at least once. So then you have to just suck it up and take the whole thing off and put it back on the right way. But the good news is after that, you probably will remember your mistake and not make it again! At least this one’s harmless, because your baby couldn’t care less what clothes he’s wearing. In fact, he’d probably just prefer to be naked. Problem solved!
9 Letting Baby Get Too Close To The Dish
Meal time with a baby learning to eat solids is simply just a mess. Their aim is not very good, so they often miss their mouths. Everything else ends up on the floor, in their hair, all over their face—sometimes even in their ears and their neck rolls!
And while you can’t blame a baby for that, the problem comes in when the kid gets ahold of the whole dish of food, and dumps it all over the floor. Or on their own head, as I did with spaghetti when I was a baby. Yeah, that’s a big mess, not to mention the waste of food. So what do you do?
There are some bowls that are meant to suction to the table or high chair so that baby can’t pull them up, but I never found them to work very well. Or, you just have to keep the full plate of food away from them. Too big a dish of food in front of them might overwhelm them anyway, so a few pieces on their high chair can keep it all from going kerplop.
8 Forgetting To Button Up After Nursing
This one is really more of an occupational hazard for a breastfeeding mom than anything having to do with baby. When you’re nursing at home, you likely have gotten into the habit of just being exposed for much of the day. Which is fine, because who else is really there to see you? You can let it all hang out, and it makes for easy access for baby when feeding time comes again.
But lest you ever have to button up your a shirt to leave the house, double check you've done so before you go. Someone I know walked around an entire grocery store with her boob hanging out! And while you’d think someone would come and tell you, strangers might feel awkward talking to you about your breasts.
I mean, it’s one thing if you’re actually feeding the baby in public—then no one should say anything about what you may be showing. But it’s pretty likely that someone walking around with a major wardrobe malfunction isn’t actually meaning to. File this one under, “things you’ll never do again.”
7 Changing The Baby On The Picnic Table
This should be obvious, but it’s surprisingly not. Probably because to some parents, their baby’s bodily functions just aren’t gross. It’s their baby, after all. But unfortunately, germs don’t know your baby from someone else’s. And poop has germs. Period. So you might think it’s convenient to set up your baby’s diaper change right there on the table at a food place, or even a picnic table at a park. But, just no.
It can be hard if there’s no bathroom readily accessible, or if that bathroom doesn’t have a baby changing station. Even so, it’s just not cool to have poop anywhere near where people eat. Bacteria is a real thing that can make you sick. And even if it’s just pee, really, please, change them somewhere else. Your car. The ground if you’re at a park. On your lap would even be better. But no one really wants to see that when they’re eating.
6 Boy Babies Are Like A Fountain When Uncovered
At my baby shower, someone got me these “pee pee teepee” to put over my son’s private area when changing him—not to actually protect anything private from sight, but to avoid getting peed on! But those darn things kept falling off every time he squirmed, so eventually I gave up. Until he peed right in my face. It shot up like a fountain, and I actually had to use my hand—my hand—to cover the stream. At which point it just ran through my fingers all over the diaper table.
Every parent of a boy has experienced this—and we are not the only ones getting sprayed in the face. Celebrity mom Olivia Wilde observed on Twitter, “Having an infant son alerts me to the fact that every man, at one point, has peed on his own face.” Gross! But babies probably wouldn’t mind swallowing their own pee.
Although boys can project their pee high in the air, I’ve also heard of girls’ pee spraying out as well, so you girl moms might not be off the hook! Either way, forget the pee pee teepees and just put a baby wipe over the area to prevent surprises.
5 Overfeeding Leads To Projectile Vomit
Although nursing moms have their mishaps, bottle feeders have their moments, too! Because it’s easy to overfeed a baby out of a bottle (they just keep sucking it down), make sure you’re following your pediatrician’s recommendations for how much to feed—then stop. Mom Katherine found out what happens when you don’t.
“My newborn daughter would spit up occasionally, like all babies, but one day when she was just three weeks old, she began to projectile vomit,” she told Babycenter. “I swear it shot from her mouth four feet across the room. Ironically, I had just watched The Exorcist the night before, so I was positive she was possessed.
I couldn't believe a tiny baby could have the ability to do this naturally. Hysterical, I called my parents, the emergency room, and a priest. When I got to the emergency room, the doctor explained it to me, and told me I was probably just overfeeding her. My priest laughed so hard he had to sit down.” OK, so maybe she overreacted, but still—gross!
4 Pulling A #2 Stained Onesie Over Baby’s Head
You know the moment—your baby has had a blowout and you’ve got the diaper part under control, but you can’t for the life of you figure out how to get the soiled onesie off your child without getting the mess on them. Let me tell you, poop in a baby’s hair is not good.
Well, a couple of years ago the internet freaked when one mom figured out what on earth those weird envelope flaps were on the shoulders of onesies. It seemed that maybe they were there to make it easier to get it over the little one’s head. But do you know what else they are good for? Pulling a dirty onesie down off the baby, instead of up.
Yup, that’s right, you can actually slide the onesie off instead of going over baby’s head. Why did no one figure this out before? And why didn’t the onesie makers alert us to this earth-shattering concept? Mind. Blown.
3 Using A Swim Diaper Instead Of A Real One (Or Vice Versa)
Newsflash: Swim diapers don’t hold pee, especially if they’re dry. And some swim diapers look deceivingly like regular diapers or training pants. So what happens when you mix up the two? You get pee all over the place. But this can happen even when you mean to have them in a swim diaper, like after you change them into it at the pool but before they hit the water. This is one reason why I hated swim class with a passion.
On the other hand, forgetting to put on a swim diaper on your kid before they go in the water in something every parent has done. I can totally relate to mom Brandy’s story, because it happened to me, too! “I think our funniest diaper changing moment was when my husband forgot to change my toddler into a swim diaper before putting on her swimsuit,” she told Disney Baby.
“Now if you haven’t ever seen what happens to a regular diaper in the pool, it’s ridiculous! I asked him what was going on down there as her bum was dragging and about five times the size! Baby had back, lol! What a mess! We were fishing that gel stuff out of the pool for days!” That’s right, regular diapers just absorb all the water from the pool, and can eventually explode.
So have your kid wear the swim diaper, but only when you don’t think you’re going to get peed on. Swim diapers are tricky. Very tricky.
1 Not Getting The Diaper Back On Quick Enough
Bathtime can be so much fun, can’t it? There’s nothing like seeing your little cherub splish and splash in their birthday suit. But whenever a baby is without a diaper, you’re living on borrowed time. Don’t dilly-dally in the tub. Dry off as quickly as possible and get that diaper back on before this happens: “The joys of parenthood,” fitness guru Chontel Duncan posted on Instagram, followed by a poop emoji. “Green Frappe coming through nicely.” Eww!
This unfortunate moment can happen anytime baby is not sufficiently dressed, like while you’re changing them or when they decide it’s time to run around naked. So what’s a parent to do? You can try to keep that diaper on as much as possible, and you’ll probably get so fast at diaper changes you’ll be able to do it in seconds flat. But at a certain point, you just have to embrace the poop. Embrace the mess. Like it or not, it’s part of being a parent.