Stinky Mama

I had no idea mothering was such a stinky profession.

I’m not talking about baby poop… Tigger’s exclusively breastfed, so (though Baba would disagree) her diapers smell somewhat pleasant, like yogurt. I’m not talking about spit-up… messy, yes, but stinky, not particularly. I’m talking about myself. Mama. I’m a stinky Mama.

It’s not because I never have time to shower, though some days (weeks…) that is too true. If I had to guess, I’d give pregnancy’s equivalent of “Jesus” as the “Sunday-School answer”: hormones. I don’t know for sure, and have no basis other than the fact that hormones seem to be the scapegoat for everything that goes weird in a woman’s body when it transforms into a mother. Regardless of why it is, it certainly is.

Case study: I just put a shirt in the dirty clothes pile for the third time. In a row. It’s not Tigger’s shirt, it doesn’t have poop or even spit-up on it. It’s mine. And it stinks. Badly. A few hours ago, I picked up this shirt to hang to dry in our guest bedroom Tigger’s room (oh how I would appreciate a balcony!!) and I smelled a not-good smell. “Oh no,” I sighed, “the laundry got musky while it sat in a heap on the toy chest lid for hours waiting as I tried in vain to get Tigger to nap.” But then I put my nose to the pile, and smelled the pleasant fragrance of fresh laundry. Then I recognized the smell. I hope I’m not the only one who has this problem, because putting it online like this is pretty embarassing, but I sweat when I nurse. A lot. My deodorant is useless, Baba’s helps somewhat. I sweat (and I was previously an almost-never-sweats type!), and it stinks. So my shirt stinks. Bad.

Naturally, I had another load of laundry waiting to be done, so I threw the shirt back in, and got it out a few minutes ago. One armpit stunk still, the other was fine. I didn’t check, but since I have one arm where my sweating is… uh… sweatier, I’m sure I know which one.

This is a mostly pointless entry, but I’m putting myself out here with my sweaty stinky Mama secret, so now’s your turn. If you don’t sweat stinkily when you nurse, don’t mention that, but do share your own discoveries that no one told you would happen when you became a mother! We’re all dying to hear (because we have the same problem and thought it was just us)!



Filed under breastfeeding, Family

3 responses to “Stinky Mama

  1. SarahB.

    You’re right! Hormones are always to blame! I don’t usually wear deodorant, not because I like B.O. but because I don’t have any! When I’m nursing a baby, however, I stink like a neanderthal. Who I assume stinkedstankstunk? Just like hitting puberty, postpregnant women, especially those who nurse, are going through rapid hormonal changes, and one wonderfully smelly result is an increase in the output of your apocrine glands. the milky goo itself isn’t smelly, but when it mixes with naturally occuring bacteria on your skin, voila; you can become akin to something even a skunk’s momma would turn down! One theory on why nursing women sometimes stink worse? Your body is filtering out toxins double time, running them through every cleansing process it has. Those toxins end up in your waste; stool, urine, and yes, sweat. More toxins plus, likely, a healthier diet (spinach, edamame, even tomatoes make for a smellier breakdown than, say, chocolate, cheetos and donuts,) not to mention your still super sensitive schnozz all plot against you during this already self-concious time. Not to worry, though. Soon(ish) your hormones will get themselves figured out, your milk production will stop freaking out, and everything will be right again.

    BTW. There has been research done that indicates that strong B.O. is a type of birth control, too! using pads dampened with sweat collected from men’s and women’s underarms, scientists did studies to determine how the smell affected other people. Typically, believe it or not, sniffing the opposite gender’s sweat stimulated the part of the brain that controls sex drive! Husbands and wives who smelled each other’s sweat had much stronger reactions, but men who smelled pregnant or postpartum mother’s sweat hardly had any reaction in the sex-drive region, instead, the protective part of the brain came alive! It’s thought that you will continue to produce ‘turn-off’ odor until your body is completely healed and ready to become pregnant again. Funnily enough, my increased sweating and odor ended when my kids were about 8 months old. One month later, with each of them, I got pregnant again. Coincidence? Apparently, maybe not!

    Either way, I’ve linked a few sites that give helpful hits for combating that odorious foe. Good luck, sis!

    (interesting note: alot of the sites I found were on depression support sites. possibly a relation? hmmm…)

    • Wow, I had absolutely no idea this was a real, scientifically documentable phenomena! Good to know I’m not alone — I also didn’t used to need deodorant, I just didn’t sweat. Even when working out I had to be working REALLY REALLY hard to get any sweat. But it is nice to know that part of it could be getting read of toxins… a healthier me is worth a bit of B.O.!!

      I did have to laugh at the part about birth control… on a very simple level, stinky wife = not so sexy šŸ˜‰

  2. I am doing research for my college paper, thanks for your great points, now I am acting on a sudden impulse.

    – Laura

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