Thursday, November 21, 2013

I can't believe I'm writing a post about baby poop - but it may save lives


Any parent who has survived potty training/toilet learning/whatever you want to call it deserves a medal, or at the very least, deserves to have that accomplishment listed on their resume. Parents who have survived potty training have acquired a bevy of skills which includes patience, high-stakes negotiation and grace under pressure. I believe that parents who have survived potty training have also "leveled up" in the parenting world, because we no longer have to talk about, think about or deal with our children's poop.

I'd like to think that I am a good friend to my non-mommy acquaintances in that I have refrained from telling them any story related to my child's bodily functions. I have never told them about the "blue poop" incident of 2012 or the "what do you mean green can be normal?" week of 2011. I have never told them about the smell differential equation we worked out after introducing solids to my son's all-breast-milk diet. Most of my reasons for not having these conversations is that I remember life before mommyhood and being disgusted by those stories. I promised myself long ago that I would not subject my friends to hearing similar stories from me. For the most part, I think I've done a good job keeping my word.

But, now I am going to break that promise, and talk to you all - mommies and non-mommies alike - about baby poop. Because a group of researchers at Flinders University in Australia are soliciting samples of baby poop. (Yes, you read that sentence correctly. Go ahead and read it again if you need to. Click on that link if you still don't believe me.) You see, the researchers are looking for the presence of certain gut bacteria in infants. Once they can confirm its presence, the researchers will synthesize an oral re-hydration agent that can stave off the effects of dehydration in babies with acute diarrhea. Since close to one million children under the age of five die annually from that illness, in this instance baby poop could save lives.

So, today - and just for today - go ahead and share your baby poop story with me in the comments.


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