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July 19, 2011

That Baby Smell

Sometimes you just gotta stop and smell the baby.


Before I had a baby, I wasn’t really sure what the “baby smell” was.  In Jacob’s first few days, some of the scents we were experiencing weren’t what I’d call pleasant.  John and I were amazed at the power that could come from such a small person, and jokingly figured we were really in for it.


Quickly—and fortunately—the really gross stuff faded away, and we were left with a little dark-haired bundle that people simply loved to smell.  Where was the scent coming from, I wondered.  We didn’t use baby powder or lotion on him.  Balmex may have been part of the equation, but it wasn’t the main ingredient in his signature scent. Ultimately, I’ve determined that the “baby smell” simply radiates from little ones, no matter what product you use on them.


The only common denominator I’ve noticed when people comment on Jacob’s yummy smell is time.  More often than not, when someone calls out the “baby smell” on Jacob, it’s after I haven’t given him a bath in a day or two.  Like a good wine, I guess the baby scent needs to age in order to really be fine.  After twelve hours or so, the dribs and drabs of milk on his clothes, in his hair, and maybe even a slightly wet diaper (it’s gross, but if you’re a parent, you know it’s true), combine to make a sweet, gentle scent that just makes you want to snuggle in for a nap.  The “baby smell” truly is a very powerful thing.


Lately, I think Jacob has starting to grow out of the baby-baby smell.  Now he pretty much just smells like Cheerios all day, every day.  While I wouldn’t boil it down, bottle it, and spray it on myself, on him it sure can make me do a mommy-swoon.


  1. This! This is perfectly written and so true! When I think of the sources this smell originates from, I feel a little weird saying I enjoy it: diapers, spit-up, and so on. But you’re right, it combines and makes a beautiful smell!

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