Diaper blowouts, also known as a poop blowout or a diaper explosion, are certainly dreaded by all parents. If you are regularly changing diapers you are likely to experience a blowout at least once in your life! So it’s helpful to know how to prevent diaper blowouts, even though they are inevitable to some degree.
Babies are super cute, cuddly and loveable. But they also often make a lot of mess, which may come as a big surprise to new parents. Imagine the surprise when you come to pick up your smiling baby, just to discover a huge poop blowout has ruined not just their clothes but everything around them. Predictably a lot of new parents probably wouldn’t even have considered how to prevent diaper blowouts until they face their first one.
While it is a dirty business, you know that you’re the one that has to do it. Bare in mind, diaper blowouts are something that can happen no matter what type of diapers you use. Still, there are a few things you can do to hopefully keep the risk of creating a big mess to the minimum. If you want to learn more, keep on reading!
What Is a Diaper Blowout?
Diaper blowout is when a baby’s poop leaks from around the diaper. That may be over the front, sides or back edges or around the legs. It can even spill out from all these areas combined! Usually you’ll likely just see a small bit of poop leakage. However, sometimes it can look like a poop bomb has gone off. In the worst cases, the poop can find its way all the way up to your baby’s neck, creating a truly disastrous blowout!
However, there’s usually a good reason behind this mishap. Diaper blowouts are most commonly due to:
- Inappropriate diaper size – often using too large a diaper.
- Wrong clothing size.
- Pooping after constipation.
- Improperly holding a baby that has already pooped in a diaper.
To learn how to prevent diaper blowouts, you have to understand what caused them and to see whether you’re making a mistake.
Understanding the Cause
First-time parents might struggle to identify the reason behind a diaper blowout. Your best option is to try to see how, where, and when the blowout occurred.
For example, if the poop is leaking from the leg openings, you likely have a diaper that is wrongly sized. Look at the leg cuffs or the snap buttons. If leg cuffs are too tight or too loose, or if the snap button isn’t in the middle, the diaper is likely the incorrect size.
Maybe you don’t actually know how to put a diaper on a baby correctly – especially if you are new to the job. Or perhaps you’ve had some confusing boys and girls diaper changing tips and are now dealing with the consequences.
However, if it seems like your baby had a blowout ‘out of nowhere’, then perhaps they were constipated and now they are ‘making up’ for the hours they went without pooping. This larger than normal poop volume would explain this belated sudden explosion.
Diagnosing why your poop explosion occurred will help you better prevent a future diaper blowout.
How to Prevent Diaper Blowouts?
Unfortunately, the odd diaper blowout is bound to happen at some point to all babies. However if they are becoming a regular occurence, then it’s probably time to find out what you can do to stop this from happening.
Here are our 10 top tips on how to prevent diaper blowouts:
1. Choose the Right Brand of Diapers for Your Baby
You’ve no doubt noticed there are many brands of diaper on the market. While most will do a decent job, you’ll likely find some may work better for your baby than others. You’ll probably notice differences in how they fit to your baby’s legs and waist.
When making your diaper brand choice, here are a few things you want to make sure are in order:
- Good even coverage.
- Proper thigh elastic fit.
- Proper back elastic fit.
- If present, snap buttons should close at the center, not on the sides.
If you’ve made sure all of these features are fitting, you know you have a proper brand for your little one.
2. Don’t Tuck Leg Cuffs
This is a common mistake many parents make without ever realizing. Diaper leg cuffs should never be tucked in. While it might seem like your baby is more comfortable this way, this really isn’t the case. Tucked leg cuffs are the most common cause of poop blowouts.
To make sure the leg cuffs are sitting properly, run your finger along them ensuring they always pulled outwards. You should be able to see the frilly cuff sticking out all the way around the leg.
3. Change Diaper Size
Another common cause of a diaper blowout is using the wrong diaper size. Recurring blowouts are a sign that you need to increase the diaper size, as it’s very likely your baby has outgrown it. As time passes, the dimensions of a smaller diaper have a less absorbent surface area, and will no longer be suitable to hold all the extra pee and poop produced by your rapidly growing little one. This will result in leakages.
Diaper sizes are chosen by baby weight, not age, so keep this in mind. If your baby is on the higher end of the weight percentile for their age, it is to be expected that they may outgrow their diaper more quickly than babies of a similar age but with a low, or average, weight.
If you’re unsure whether your baby’s diaper is too small, here are some signs to look at:
- If present, the snap buttons are going towards the sides of the baby instead of being close to center.
- Waist elastic looks too tight.
- The diaper cannot cover the entire baby’s bottom.
- Your baby is close to the upper end of the weight range.
Keep in mind that if the diaper is too big then this can also lead to leaks. A baggy diaper will have excess space, so it won’t hold the poop tightly in place. Instead, it will be allowed to roll to all corners of the diaper and spill out from the loose fitting legs cuffs and waist fitting.
4. Switch to Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers are becoming increasingly popular due to the many benefits they offer, such as reducing the risk of possible skin irritation. Many brands of cloth diapers use gussets at not just the legs but also the back, preventing diaper blowouts.
5. Use Diaper Extenders
Diaper extenders are a fairly recent solution to help parents prevent diaper blowouts. It may be worth investing in a pack of extenders when you’re preparing for the arrival of your little one and making your baby checklist.
There are several types of diaper extenders. Some are disposable, while others have to be washed. Let’s be honest, washing a small dirty diaper extender is a far better option than having to clean a big poopy mess from your baby’s clothes, bed, car seat, or floor.
6. Don’t Change Diapers the Moment Your Baby Poops
Babies tend to poop with lots of sound effects. Not just that, but they also tend to be very expressive about this activity. Some go red in the face, others just prefer to stand still and make a weird face. Oh and don’t forget the loud gassy noises and of course that unforgettable smell. So it’s quite hard not to notice that your baby is pooping!.
When it seems like your little one has done their business, don’t rush to change their diaper. Wait for a few minutes instead. This short time sitting in a poopy diaper won’t harm your baby, but it can help you keep everything clean.
Just like you might take some time on a toilet, your baby might not be done pooping after a first attempt. If you rush to change the diaper, you might be in the eye of a poop blowout storm – and we certainly wouldn’t recommend this.
7. Use an Envelope Onesie
An amazing blowout hack is to use an envelope onesie. They can be of great help when it comes to preventing poop from spreading everywhere.
Envelope onesies have folds over the shoulder area. These can be used to help roll the onesie/vest down the baby’s body and legs … rather than trying to take a messy onesie off over the baby’s head. This ensures the mess doesn’t spread to the top half – and often, keep the poop enclosed and away from your bed or seat.
8. Monitor Your Baby’s Poop
Babies poop more often than adults, and infants poop more than toddlers. It isn’t unheard of for infants to poop up to 10 times a day! This might happen after each feeding session.
If you don’t know how to prevent diaper blowouts, there is one thing you can do, and that is to stay alert. When you notice your baby hasn’t had a bowel movement for a while, it’s time to get those diaper bags ready. The next one is likely to be big!
9. Have Your Diaper Bag Ready
While we’re at diaper bags, you have to have them prepared at all times. Not all blowouts can be stopped or even predicted.
Sure, while you’re at home, you’ll have all the necessary supplies to deal with a poopy incident. Emergency situations aren’t as bad when you have a solution nearby. However, you also have to be prepared for when you’re out and about.
If you’re on a long journey traveling or even just out for a stroll, diaper blowouts can have dire consequences. They can ruin your baby’s clothes, your stroller, your car seat, or even a random passenger that is sitting right next to you on the plane or bus!
Your best option is to always have a diaper bag full of necessities close to you. Some things you simply have to carry with you include:
- Extra diapers.
- Spare clothes (including vest/onesie)
- Hand sanitiser.
- A wet and dry bag.
A wet and dry bag is a great solution as it is odor and leak proof. If you don’t know where to dispose of that dirty diaper, this bag can be an excellent temporary solution.
10. Change Diapers Regularly
Diapers have a limit of how much liquid they can take in before they leak. If they are too full, the blowout is likely to happen the next time your baby poops. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so make sure to stay one step ahead.
Keep an eye on the full diaper. While you’ll know to change a diaper when your little one poops, change the diaper even if it is full from the pee. While a moderately wet diaper can handle a potential diaper blowout rather efficiently, the same cannot be said for the diaper that is too full.
If you don’t want to disturb your baby by changing their diaper at night, a good idea is to try diaper booster pads. They can help the diapers hold some extra liquid, so they should keep things in place till morning.
Cleaning Diaper Blowout
Despite all the lengths you may go to, diaper blowouts can still unfortunately happen. And when they do, you’ll have to get ready for the big clean up mission. Here are some helpful tips:
- Ask your partner or a friend to help you. Two pairs of hands can deal with this faster, and this can prevent the mess from spreading further as your little one wriggles around.
- Before attempting to deal with the consequences of a blowout, make sure you have prepared everything you need. The last thing you want to do is open the nappy and then have to leave it open in place while you run off to get the wipes.
- Remove your baby’s clothes in the shower. This can keep you from spreading the mess around by accident.
- Rinse the clothes in the shower before properly washing them.
- If your baby loves to wriggle around on their changing mat, give them some toys to keep them busy while you’re cleaning everything up.
Babies and messes go together, but knowing how to prevent baby blowouts helps a lot. Remember, you should never shout at or punish your baby after a blow out … it isn’t your little one’s fault that they don’t know how to control their bowels. It’s a perfectly normal thing that happens with all babies and just comes with the job of being a parent. However, you’ll still be the one who has to clean up the mess, so why don’t you make sure you help yourself as much as you can.
Washing poop from clothes is a common activity when you have babies, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn some tips and tricks to make things easier. With these ten tips, you can reduce blowouts to a minimum.