“Spatilomancy” is the use of feces to divine the future, and all parents quickly become practitioners in this black art. It’s hard to tell exactly what a breast-fed baby is taking in, after all, except by studying his output. So new parents are instructed to scrutinize their baby’s poops, judging on both quantity and quality. We were provided by the hospital with a booklet that allowed us to chart the daily poops, and in the first weeks I filled it out religiously. The first few days’ diapers are tarry black and sticky, but the substance soon changes to something mustard-yellow and seedy, and then to copious amounts of liquidy brown goop.

A breast-fed baby’s shit doesn’t stink. Really. The smell reminds me most of buttered popcorn.

Breast-fed babies also don’t get constipated. The pediatrician—I’d better call him by his name, Dr. Simons, as I cannot seem to shake a tendency to refer to him as “the vet”—assured us of this during our visit the other day. Robin hadn’t crapped in three days, which made me nervous, but Dr. Simons told us this was perfectly normal. The difference between “constipation” and “not crapping in days” is that in the former case the poops will be hard when they do came, and the baby is in discomfort. In the second case, however, the baby can be perfectly happy and healthy, and the poop remains soft.

Dr. Simons said that in a clinic where he used to work, the interns used to keep track of the longest periods that breast-fed babies could go without pooping. By the time he left, the record stood at three and a half weeks. For a perfectly healthy baby! “Sometimes they just use up every bit of the milk,” he shrugged. “There’s just nothing left over.”

Robin delivered himself of a vast poopsplosion mere hours after returning home from the doctor’s office, by the way. I just thought that was a pretty interesting story!

4 Responses to “Spatilomancy”

  • Nina Says:

    Cripes, I’m going to be trying to forget this post next time I’m eating buttered popcorn.

    I am sure that Robin’s poo-chart will look lovely in his scrapbook!

  • Todd O. Says:

    Perhaps the pleasures of a good movement are inborn.

  • shannon Says:

    Todd: Ha ha!

    Nina: I admire a nice scrapbook but I just don’t have the “scrapping” talent; this blog is my substitute.

  • Erin Says:

    “I’d better call him by his name, Dr. Simons, as I cannot seem to shake a tendency to refer to him as “the vet” ”

    I think I just hurt myself giggling. I’ve made this mistake with other people’s babies. “Maybe you should take him/her to the vet” Thank God I’m not the only one.

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