No matter how many wipes she used to remove the black, tar-like substance, it would not clean off her daughter's tush. Feeling stressed, she yelled for her partner to come and help her. Upon arrival, the father was immediately horrified to see the mess their tiny 6-pound human had created; down her legs, up her back, and all over the diaper area. No matter how many times they wiped, the goopy blackness continued to smear all over. Four diapers and an entire package of wipes later, the mom panicked and called for the nurse. 'This can't be normal! What is wrong with her?!'
The nurse, having been there before, gently explained what this crazy, sticky, seemingly impossible to remove substance was: meconium.
Meconium is the first stool your infant will pass. It is made up of materials (intestinal tissue, very fine/soft hair that often covers baby while still in utero, bile, amniotic fluid, mucus, water) ingested by your baby during the time the infant spends in the womb. All of this fun stuff adds up to make for some interesting diaper changes. Meconium is a pain in the tush (for real!) and very tar-like. The color is usually black or very dark green. Meconium generally has no smell to it, so there is ONE positive in this mess!
Usually, this passes within the first few days, as mom's breast milk comes in, or baby gets more accustomed to formula. Their diapers will progress from dark green to light green, then to seedy yellow; which is what we want to see!
So how about a little hack to make this situation a little less messy?!
PRO TIP: Use olive oil and round cotton pads (found in the makeup isle near the regular cotton balls) to wipe your baby's bottom instead of regular baby wipes. This will save you time, frustration, and a ton of wipes! Once clean, apply a layer of olive oil (or vaseline) to baby's bottom to avoid having the next meconium diaper stick.
Remember, this is a brief, normal stage, and *almost* all parents survive this phase and move on to changing diapers like a pro. You've got this! We believe in you.
And if you need help or encouragement during this and the many other transitions of welcoming a baby home, our postpartum doula are ready and willing to help. We are always a phone call away!