Being a new mom comes with a lot of smells like poop, laundry, and spoiled milk, but do any new smells come from you? I mean, if you're lactating, then surely there's a certain eau de parfum emanating from you, but do you smell different if you're breastfeeding? That breast milk (and your baby's breath after drinking it) has a very distinct, sweet smell, but how much can it affect your natural body odor?
The truth is, not a whole lot. According to International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) Rachel O'Brien, while postpartum reek is a very real thing (thanks, hormones), you really can't blame your milk. "All those hormone changes make some people really fragrant in the first month or two after birth," O'Brien tells Romper. "It's not breastfeeding though, it's the delivery."
IBCLC Angie Mann Natero elaborates a bit and notes that some women sweat excessively during lactation. "They often find that their previously effective deodorant isn't as effective," she says. But postpartum sweats also happen, according to What to Expect, so it makes sense that you're feeling a little less than fresh as you nurse your baby and rid your body of those excess fluids you gained during pregnancy.
Breast milk itself can have a pretty distinct smell, especially when it's your own breast milk. IBCLC Rachael Anastasio-Collins tells Romper that it's normal to truly love the way your breast milk smells or to have serious feels when you get a whiff of it. "Oxytocin is a hormone heavily active in the breastfeeding process and one of its jobs is to promote feelings of love and bonding. It makes sense that the smell of breast milk would bring on the warm fuzzies," she says.
But does it make you smell different? Not exactly. Unless you're covered in it or leaking through a shirt at the time, breastfeeding itself doesn't make you smell any different. The hormones associated with postpartum and breastfeeding, however, can affect your scent, so prepare yourself for after delivery. It won't last forever and it's not a big deal — it's all part of the beauty that is motherhood. (And missing your daily shower in favor of sleep. That contributes, too.)