On the many late nights and long days sitting with my babies and watching them explore their new world, there are a number of interesting things I have noticed. One in particular sticks out in my mind as ever-changing: Their different facial expressions especially when it came to the reoccurring dreaded bodily function that resulted in me spending hundreds of dollars in diapers ... poop. Baby's pooping faces and their meanings never cease to baffle me. When at some point I began to notice a pattern and could read my babys' digestive track based on the faces they were making, I knew there had to be some psychology behind it. And apparently, I'm not the only one.
Reddit user, stickykarrot, noticed the same reoccurrences in his son's baby's poop faces and even went as far as to document it in a post. It sparked a lot of interesting conversation too. For instance, some commenters were curious about the sounds that occurred with each expression, thinking there might be some semblance with their own children. Others commented on the hilariousness. And of course there is my personal favorite, the commenter who named each of the six faces in the photo by the coined grief stages: "denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, and poop."
Despite the laughs and speculation, it's surprising to find out that your baby's poop faces (and expressions in general) do actually have some meaning behind them, according The Bump's interview with professor of psychology and author of The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life, Alison Gopnik.
If you, too, are trying to decode the emotions that your baby is going through during one of their diaper-dirtying episodes, let us help you break down the meaning behind some of the elaborate faces babies make while pooping.
1. Scrunched Up Nose (With Grunting)
In Gopnik's interview with The Bump, she shared that a scrunched up face accompanied by grunting or crying points to feeling uncomfortable. And the likely culprit is gas. You can try rubbing your baby's belly for a while to get out the gas and help move along the potty process. Gopnik also pointed out that if there's a scrunched up face without the crying or grunting, it's likely just a typical poop-face without any gas or struggle.
2. Grumpy Brows Or Pouty Lips
If your little one's been trying to go number-two for quite some time now, he could be totally over it. According to Gopnik, the furrowed brows or pouty lips most likely mean that your little one is "overstimulated and on the brink of a meltdown." If this is the case, you can try moving his feet and legs in a cycling motion to help move along his bowels or you can place him in a swing or walk around with him to keep him calm and comfy. Also, never underestimate the power of prune juice.
3. A Far-Off Gaze
I think most moms can relate to that look babies get when they're suddenly hyper-focused a seemingly staring at something with such intensity. Every single time, I fall for it, thinking "I wonder what's got her attention." Then, it happens: you hear the poop flow out into the diaper and the smell isn't far behind. Although I think this is my little one's way of playing on joke on mom, Gopnik shared that often babies get fascinated easily and things around them can cause them to get intrigued or distracted. This face may actually have less to do with pooping and more to do with being so focused on something your little one is unknowingly letting one rip.
4. A Look Of Relief And Happiness
Ever see your baby suddenly happy and cooing with a big-open mouth? Yeah, me too, and I love that look... until the smell comes after it. Although this may be considered another poop-face, it's actually typically the the post-poop stage according to Mamamia. When your little one has finally let it all out, especially if they've been trying for a while, you can expect a happy, smiley baby on your hands. They might not be laughing at you, but it sure seems like it.
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