After work yesterday I held my love close, enjoying the contact after a long day of separation. I inhaled--and recoiled. "You smell like...another woman!" I accused.
There are apparently studies that show that a baby can identify her mother's breastpad and will ignore other women's, and that women can identify their babies by smell alone. I wasn't so sure I believed that, since humans hardly ever use their sense of smell compared to other mammals, but now I think I do. Yesterday was Chloë's first day at daycare proper, and when I picked her up after work she did, in fact, smell like another woman. Actually, she must have smelled like at least three of them, since different teachers were there when I dropped her off, nursed her at lunch, and picked her up; and the smell might have been partly the place itself--and it was mixed in with the milk that collects in her neck when she gets bottles. But it all added up to Someone Else Has Been Handling My Baby, and I didn't like it at all. She got a bath last night. It was time for it, but I might have insisted on it anyway, just so she'd smell right again. We'll see whether I can handle the residual scent tonight, or whether her two- or three-times-weekly bath will become a nightly ritual.