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to want to my baby to smell like a baby sometimes?

(17 Posts)
ScathingContempt Sun 26-Apr-15 15:54:34

I know I am not being completely reasonable here, but I don't think I am being totally unreasonable either and I don't know what is a fair compromise.

I have a 6 month old and several stepchildren who live with us full time. The eldest is 19 and wonderful with her new little sister, loves cuddling her, the baby is bonding well with her and I'm happy about that.

However, my stepdaughter wears really strong perfume every day and the baby smells of it all the time. I know I can't expect the baby never to smell of anyone else ever. I've had people visit and left the baby smelling of their perfume or clothes or whatever and I know it's just what happens and it wears off after a bit or washes off with the next wash. But because my stepdaughter lives with us, the baby now ALWAYS smells of this perfume. It doesn't help that it's some really sickly sweet yucky stuff but that's not the main issue. Sometimes SD comes home from college, picks the baby up and passes the scent on so it doesn't just happen when she's only just applied the perfume first thing in the morning - I think she reapplies during the day because it's usually overpoweringly strong.

I can't just resolve it by timing baths for after stepdaughter hugs because I only do baths twice a week for a start, but even daily wouldn't be enough because my stepdaughter holds her several times a day.

I don't want to stop the cuddles as they both enjoy it and I want the baby to be close to her big siblings but I don't feel that it's reasonable to ask my stepdaughter to stop wearing perfume just to cuddle her sister.

What would be a reasonable solution? Please don't just say get over it - it's such an overpowering smell to have on a young baby all day every day. I wouldn't mind if it just happened, say, some evenings if she cuddled her before going out, or a couple of mornings a week, but it's there all day and except for immediately after baths, the baby always smells like vomited candyfloss strong perfume. Her skin is quite sensitive so I don't want to be washing her constantly either. Aside from twice weekly baths she gets a good top and tail every day but that doesn't include hair-washing daily and it's often her head/hair that the smell clings to.

Theycallmemellowjello Sun 26-Apr-15 16:02:45

Well it's not really about whether it's right for you to complain but how it's likely to go down. It all depends on your relationship with your stepdaughter and her personality doesn't it? Is she the type to take offence, become upset, think it is a pass-ag way of stopping her holding the baby, or is she relaxed and likely to take it in her stride? Or if she is likely to take it badly then would it still be worth it for you to not have the smell? I think it depends on your priorities and the pragmatics of the situation rather than who is right (obviously no one is in the wrong here).

TipTapWentTheCrab Sun 26-Apr-15 16:03:20

Ooh, a difficult one. I would find it utterly unbearable to have my baby reeking of perfume (plus I might worry that it isn't very good for her developing sense of smell??). But as you say, it isn't really fair to ask your SD not to wear the stuff if she wants to.
So no suggestions, sorry, but just to send some sympathy and say YANBU.

PurpleSwift Sun 26-Apr-15 16:06:47

If it was just a visitor Id say YABU but considering its all of the time I would just have a chat with her about it. Yabu to ask her not to wear it but try expressing your views and hopefully she'll understand.

NoelHeadbands Sun 26-Apr-15 16:08:21

Tell a teeny white lie and say the baby's had a bit of irritation and the HV has advised that she's not exposed to strong perfumes for a while

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Sun 26-Apr-15 16:11:35

I am really sensitive to smells like that and have to hold my breath in the perfume bits of dept stores, and some scents make me really sneezy.

You could say that you spoke to HV / GP about baby ezcema and they have advised to use unperfumed productson baby and washing powders and on yourself not to wear scent and not come into contact with perfumed products so if possible could she give it a miss / wear a bit less.

However she's 19 and when I was 19 I'm not sure how I would have reacted to that! It's an idea though.

GameOfGroans Sun 26-Apr-15 16:14:21

I was going to suggest the same as Noel. Think a little white lie like that would sort things out without any awkwardness

StarlingMurmuration Sun 26-Apr-15 16:16:40

When my MIL has been holding my DS, he smells of her perfume, and I must admit, it does bother me. I'm always glad when the smell wears off. I'm not sure whether it's a possessive thing or just that I personally hate perfume and don't wear it myself.

I second the suggestion to say the HV has advised avoiding strong scents etc.

Beatrixemerald Sun 26-Apr-15 16:34:53

I also have a teenage sd who adores her baby sister and she often smells of perfume after cuddles. Personally I am just happy about how much they love each other but I would make a joke of it to sd if it was really bothering me and she wouldn't mind

velourvoyageur Mon 27-Apr-15 09:18:00

Maybe you could buy her a bottle of nice perfume (nicer than DSD could afford herself) as a goodwill gesture for compromising on this?

AlwaysDancing1234 Mon 27-Apr-15 09:25:04

Maybe you could say to her that you all need to take it easy with perfume and aftershave as it irritates the baby's skin or something. Or buy her a bottle of nice perfume to use as a present for being so good helping out with the baby (although I guess you'd have to get the other kids gifts too!) Sounds like she's a lovely step-sister.

ScathingContempt Mon 27-Apr-15 09:56:46

Thanks for not all just saying IABU, I was kind of expecting to be told that.

The sensitive skin thing would only be partly a lie, she is quite reactive to things so I might go down that route. It would just be more of an exaggeration than anything as I do keep skin product use to a minimum, including my own perfume use.

TipTap, that's a good point about the baby's sense of smell too. I hadn't thought of that.

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Mon 27-Apr-15 21:15:47

I think the sensitive skin route is a good one. Esp if you put it as "you would be really helping me if" etc and maybe get her to look at baby washing powder as well to check it's unscented and you know buy some if needs must grin but try to get her "bought in" to getting perfumed things away from the baby to help with skin.

That's far kinder than saying her perfume mings grin and if played right she will feel good that she is making a small sacrifice for the greater good smile

Karma1981 Mon 27-Apr-15 21:20:28

My 6 month old smells of puke most of the time, I'd rather perfume tbh.
But the sensitive skin sounds the safe bet, you don't really want to upset her.

Dorisdolalee Mon 27-Apr-15 21:26:38

I know what you mean- after my MIL has my DS he smells so strongly of her extremely expensive perfume so how awful that it's stinky cheap stuff. I totally see your dilemma and agree a white lie is maybe best. Say you've been advised that all family members have to lay off strong smells. Maybe ask her to spray her wrists and not her neck?! I hope you manage to talk to her without it being awkward

CookPassBabtrigde Mon 27-Apr-15 21:29:39

YANBU at all but as you know you have to bring it up delicately as you don't want her to feel put out or told off. It's really great that the kids are close with the baby.
Noel's suggestion is great.

TipTapWentTheCrab Sat 02-May-15 21:35:42

If you wanted to start by asking her to make a small concession then she could hold off putting on perfume in the morning until she left the house. That way she'd only give it to the baby in the evening, not the morning.

Also, might a quiet word come better from her actual father rather than just stepmother?

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