Do you know the babies are born with a pleasant scent? There are even studies conducted the cause of this pleasant smell. Studies published in “Frontiers in Psychology” in the year 2013 even stated that this smell has a positive effect on certain regions of the mother’s brain. This scent, nonetheless, will disappear after (maximum) six weeks though. Even though there are no confirmed reasons are found yet, it is believed may be either due to the influence of the amniotic fluid in which the baby is immersed for nine months or due to the whitish covering, vernix caseosa.
However, when weeks pass, babies have a distinct pleasant smell associated with milky smell or baby cream smell. Often babies develop unpleasant body odor too, like spit up smell or dirt trapped amidst the skin folds. Some foul smells indicate an underlying medical problem. There is a huge difference between a child’s odor due to its contact with the environment and body odor hinting to health concerns. Read on to know more about the types of odor and their reasons.
Can Sweating Trigger Body Odor In Babies?
What you needed to understand first is, the sweat glands of babies aren’t the same as grownup kids or adults. Therefore, even though the babies sweat and perspire like us, the sweat theoretically should not smell bad. Here, again there are several factors that trigger body odor in babies.
Causes Of Body Odor In Babies
Children under the age of eight do not have body odor. However, here are some factors that trigger body odor in babies.
- Lack of hygiene and neglect can cause body smell.
- Some of the most common reasons for baby body odor are exposure to pollution
- Lack of proper dietary pattern
- Soiled clothes
- Lack of post-feeding cleanliness
- Overloaded diapers or unchanged cloth nappies
- Unhygienic surroundings.
Normal Types Of Body Odor In Babies:
There is a general notion of baby smells that we associate to soft cuddly babies. These are the types that a parent need not worry about.
- Milky Odor: This is the most common type of smell that we relate babies too. The milky smell or the peculiar baby odor gradually reduces once the baby starts solids and starts to drink less milk.
- Sour Odor: Babies occasionally have a sour smell due to spit up or if the baby has dirt or food particles trapped on its body folds. Dust and sweat can often be trapped in their neck folds leading to an odor. This condition clears with good personal hygiene, lack of which could lead to fungal infection or rashes of the skin. However, you don’t need to worry about the sour smell that vanishes if cleaned with warm water
How To Deal With Baby’s Normal Body Odor:
Baby’s body odor can be dealt with by following few hygienic practices.
- Pay particular attention to baby’s hygiene. Give the baby a thorough lukewarm bath twice a day.
- Make sure to clean the baby’s neck folds, underarms, and genitals while bathing the baby. You should aware that the baby sweat, dirt, or even milk, can be easily trapped in those chubby creases of skin most infants have.
- Pat the baby dry after bathing with a soft towel.
- Apply baby moisturizer and baby powder with more focus on the neck, underarms, and folds.
- Make sure to wash the baby’s hand, face, and neck after each meal.
- Ensure to dress the baby in fresh socks and dry shoes
- Dress the baby in clean airy clothes
- Use baby approved essential oils like Rosemary or lavender in addition to the massage oil.
Abnormal Types Of Body Odor:
Few body odors emanating from babies may indicate an underlying medical problem. Here are smells to look out for:
- Fish Odor: This type of odor is also called the fish odor syndrome where the baby might have an enzyme deficiency that prevents the baby’s body from breaking down trimethylamine. Also known as Trimethylaminuria, it is a genetic disorder that gives out a rotten fishy smell. Trimethylamine is also caused as a by-product of unhealthy gut bacteria and emits a fishy smell through the baby’s breath and urine.
- Musty Odor: Phenylketonuria or PKU is a congenital metabolic disorder leading to your baby’s body emitting a musty odor. This disorder involves a high blood level of the amino acid phenylalanine. This condition can be treated if identified early with dietary therapy. PKU, when left untreated, can lead to developmental delay, intellectual disability, seizures, behavioral problems, and psychiatric disorders.
- Cabbage Odor: If your baby’s urine smells like rotten cabbage it may indicate Tyrosinemia suggesting a high level of the amino acid tyrosine in the blood. It is an inherited metabolic disorder accompanied by a failure to gain weight, liver disease or severe neurological problems. If left untreated this condition can prove fatal.
- Maple Syrup Odor: Maple syrup urine disease occurs when the baby’s body is unable to process certain amino acids. Babies’ suffering from this disease have a poor appetite, vomit frequently, has seizures or have brain swelling. Early diagnosis and treatment can help the baby recover without any permanent damage.
- Fruity Breath Smell: This is also known as Diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition occurring due to untreated high blood sugar in babies. Childhood Type 1 diabetes, when left untreated could lead to coma, brain swelling or even death.
- Sweaty Feet: This condition is also known as Isovaleric acidemia, a disorder where the body cannot process protein properly. This condition leads to vomiting, lethargy and in rare cases coma. This condition can be easily corrected with a low-protein diet.
How To Deal With Baby’s Abnormal Body Odor?
If you notice any of the above-mentioned odors in your baby seek medical help immediately. Even though most of these conditions can be treated with dietary changes or could be a false alarm to hygiene issues, some of these conditions are rare and genetic conditions. Early intervention, diet changes, and proper medication is important to deal with the abnormal type of body odor in babies. your pediatrician will guide you through it.