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What to Do in the Event of a Poopsplosion

A what?   Poopsplosion: A poop explosion, an eruption of poop   Is that really a word? It isn’t in the dictionary or on Wikipedia, but in the cloth diapering world, yes it is! This is not just a leak, or even a blowout, but an explosion that typically makes a lot of noise and a huge mess! There is no other word that describes it better, and when you have encountered one, you understand why it is called that. Sounds like something you want to deal with, right? Unfortunately, this may be an occurrence during the diapering stage, so please excuse the crudities and read on!   For those of you who have diapered for a while, I am sure you have your own story to tell. I remember one time in particular when this happened to me. We were on a road trip from Minnesota to Colorado. My smallest was less than a year old, still being breastfed, and had a huge explosion in her car seat. The explosion escaped the diaper at the legs and waist, went through her clothes, through the fleece I had between her and the car seat, and onto the fabric of her car seat. It was a mess!! This is one of those times that you stand there for a second to soak it all in, and to figure out where to start. I can’t imagine if I hadn’t had the fleece on the seat. The amount of poo that that child put out was phenomenal! It took a while to undress her (trying not to get the poo on her or anything else), and then to use my wipes to clean off what had made it through onto the car seat. After the cleaning was done, I layered the car seat with some more fleece fabric I had in the car (thanks sis!), and it was back on the road. Luckily, the odor was not noticeable, and we made it home without another mess. I can say that at least it was in the car seat, and not while co-sleeping in my bed!   So why did this poopsplosion happen? In my instance, I was breastfeeding, which makes the bowel movements more liquid. I was using eco-friendly disposables, which do not provide as much protection as cloth. I was also travelling, which can mess with digestion, and only checked the diaper at rest stops. Please see my list of possible reasons below:   Contributing Factors:
  • EBF (Exclusively Breast Fed) diet
  • Soft diets (usually until more substantial diets are introduced)
  • Changes in diet
  • Allergy/sensitivity to a certain food
  • Excess gas (newborns tend to produce a lot of gas)
  • Diarrhea
  • Bowel movement after constipation
  • Disposable diapers
  • Gaps at leg holes or waist of diaper
  • Not enough absorbency in diaper
  • Diapers are to small
  • Diapers are to large
  • Diaper is not checked often
  • Diaper does not meet absorbency needs
  • Medications/medical issues
  There are some things you may be able to do to avoid a poopsplosion:   Ways to avoid:  
  • Cloth diapers (correct size and absorbency)
  • Boost absorbency at nap/nighttime in the form of a doubler or insert.
  • Two piece systems tend to help, since there are two barriers to the leak (such as a fitted/cover and a fastened prefold/cover).
  • Leg and waist holes fit snuggly (Remember, when a child lies down, the stomach falls and there becomes a gap at the waist.)
  • Check diaper every 1.5 – 2 hours for babies
  • For travel, check diapers often, avoid foods that may affect digestion, and keep an extra layer on the car seat.
  • Place a waterproof pad on the bed at night.
  What do you do if it happens to you and your baby?   Remember, although you are the one cleaning it, your baby is the one sitting in it. Try not to make grimaces or expressions to show baby that changing their diaper is awful. Just start cleaning, and soon it will be done. Below are some ways that may make the cleanup easier.   To clean:  
  1. Give baby a full or sponge bath. If travelling, use wipes to clean baby as much as possible.
  2. Rinse everything affected with warm water as soon as you can (use warm water, as soil leaves the fabric at the temperature it was put in - do not use hot, as it will set the stain).
  3. Pretreat with a liquid detergent or stain remover (one with enzymes will help, but make sure to rinse well).
  4. Prewash on warm. You can check to see if the staining was removed. If not, feel free to treat again (hot water will set a stain).
  5. Wash on hot with a cloth diaper safe detergent.
  6. Add an extra rinse.
  Additionally, you can:   -Use a diaper sprayer to aid in cleaning the diaper -Use a stain remover and/or detergent with enzymes -Use a detergent with oxygen bleach, or add oxygen bleach to the load (not more than once a month is recommended) -When travelling, keep additional changes of diapers/wipes/clothes in the car   Although there are certain factors that can contribute, this could happen to anyone in the course of cloth diapering. We hope you find this post entertaining as well as educational. Please feel free to share your stories with us!   ~Sonya   Written by Sonya Choron 9/23/13
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  • We once had to leave a restaurant with baby in a diaper only and wrapped in a blanket because poopsplosion was so big!

    Stephanie on
  • I would love to try thirsties…it sounds like they can contain alot!

    Rebecca Abraham on
  • Love my cloth diapers for this- has way more issues in the short time we used disposables

    Erin on
  • I have only had explosive poops with sposies, cloth diapers are so much better at holding it all in! especially Thirsties covers leg gussets, those are life savers!

    kstamp on
  • Is there any cloth diapers that are better then others for avoiding this? Going to be cloth diapering my son as soon as he is born (hopefully this week)?

    Laura Kuckuck on

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