Sensory Issues: Odors


Hope everyone is having a good New Year so far! Today, we go over a sensory trigger that some Aspies may have particular struggles with.

Do you have a sensitivity to odors?
Many moms mention the sweet scent of a newborn, but we all know what other scents naturally come with having a tot in the house–dirty diapers, sour milk and spit-up, and other smells can be pretty overwhelming.While most of these odors are largely unavoidable, there are a few things that have worked for me to lessen their impact.

To prevent that yucky sour-milk smell that ends up most everything baby and I wear, I try to do a load of laundry every day I’m able (of course this isn’t always possible!) and clean up any spills or leaks from either of us with just a washcloth, dish soap and water. For laundry that has sat for awhile, some recommend 1/2 cup of baking soda or 1/4 cup of vinegar added to your wash load. It’s easier to remove spit-up before it dries, but water, an old toothbrush and dish soap (can you tell this is my go-to cleaner?) works well to remove wet or dry spit-up that’s seeped into clothes.

If your baby is like mine and has reflux, or a pool of milk collects around their neck with each feeding, this will get stuck in their neck “folds”, gets putrid pretty quick and can also cause them skin irritation. If you don’t have a bib handy you can tuck a soft washcloth/burp rag under their chin–I used to do this with every feed due to how much ended up outside rather than inside my daughter’s mouth. The terrycloth bibs with velcro closure and plastic backing are great and affordable, and baby may like the “crinkly” sound they make. My pediatrician suggested applying a bit of diaper rash ointment on my wee one’s neck (in the folds where she doesn’t put her fingers), this created an effective barrier from the milk and helped clear up any irritation.

Babies are capable of having bad breath like adults, for a variety of reasons. However if you notice a particularly “sour” scent, this can be a sign of infant reflux/GERD, which is something you would need to mention to your pediatrician.

Finally, the diapers. These tend to get smellier with the addition of solid foods. An interesting speculation–diapers from breastfed babies reportedly smell less stinky. All poo is stinky to me, so I’ll let you be the judge of that! I don’t have a “diaper genie”, but a regular trash bin I use only for diapers, in a corner of the nursery works fine for me. I use a kitchen-size bin with one of those lids that opens with a foot tab. A scented bag or deodorizing spray also helps. I use a homemade lavender-oil air mist every time I change the bag in the diaper bin.

Have any tips for dealing with obnoxious odors? Comment below!

Image by dmscs at


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