If you ask most parents about a diaper blowout, you’ll be met with a few horror stories about experiences. Every parent, no matter how lucky you think you are, will eventually have a diaper fail them, and you’ll have poop everywhere except where it should be – in the diaper.
When I say everywhere, I mean everywhere.
One time, my daughter had a diaper blowout that quite literally went up the entire length of her back into her hair. Some blowouts are stories you will remember for years to come and laugh about them later, but when they happen, the last thing you want to do is laugh.
Since no parent wants to deal with more blowouts than they must, let’s take a look at why they happen, how to handle a blowout, and how to prevent them – the most important thing!
Related: What to Put in a Diaper Bag For Your Baby
What is a Diaper Blowout?
As the name suggests, a baby diaper blowout is when the diaper fails as your baby poops. Instead of holding in the poop as it should, the poop leaks out of the diaper around the legs, up the back, or up the front.
Basically, if your baby has poop everywhere but instead of their diaper, you experienced a blowout.
A poop explosion happens anywhere; babies don’t seem to care that we are at the store. The next thing you know, there is poop everywhere – on their clothes, shoes, blanket, and possibly you.
I bet you never thought you’d deal with so much poo as a parent!
No parent enjoys these; who wants to spend time cleaning up poop? However, the reality is that they are a quite normal part of life with a baby. There are steps you can take to reduce their frequency, and that’s something we all agree needs to happen.
Why Does a Diaper Blowout Happen?
Diaper blowouts don’t just happen for no reason; the most common causes are related to the diaper itself. Improperly fitted diapers are more likely to experience leaks.
The second common reason for blowouts is related to your baby’s diet and their bowl movements. If you understand why your baby is having regular diaper blowouts, you’ll be able to stop them in their tracks.
Wrong Diaper Size or Type
The most common problem is parents putting their baby in the wrong diaper she, and diaper companies don’t always make it easy to pick.
Diapers come in a range of sizes and weight ranges, and it’s important to pay attention to the brand you are purchasing when you pick a size. For example, one brand may have their size one diapers for babies between 8 -14lbs, but another brand may have the weight range only to 12lbs.
If you buy a diaper that is too big for your baby, that is a problem, but it’s also a problem if the diaper is too small. Typically, diaper brands have size ranges, so if your baby is at the upper range, it may be time to get the next size up.
Diaper Isn’t on Properly
Another problem that could cause problems is that the diaper isn’t put on properly. It’s easy to accidentally not fasten one or both of the tabs snug enough around your baby’s waist.
If the diaper isn’t fastened snugly around your baby’s waist, blowouts will happen. Ideally, you’ll be able to slip one finger in between the diaper and your baby’s waist, and one finger between your baby’s legs and the cuff of the diaper.
Sometimes, the problem isn’t the snugness – or lack thereof – but rather the diaper cuffs. If the leg cuffs aren’t in the right position when you put on the diaper, then you risk blowouts.
Make sure the cuffs are always on the outside of your baby’s legs!
Diaper is Already Soaked
If your baby’s diaper is already saturated with urine, the chances of it holding in a massive bowel movement is slim.
Disposable vs. Cloth Diapers
Most parents opt for disposable diapers out of convenience, but the reality is blowouts are less frequent with cloth diapers. This is due to their design – with real elastic – and more absorbent materials. Parents often assume that disposable diapers are more absorbent, but that isn’t always true!
Diarrhea or Constipation
Sometimes, a change in bowel movements will lead to a blowout. At times, diarrhea will happen, whether it’s from sicknesses or a new food that upsets their belly. Likewise, constipation happens from time to time, and when it comes to an end, that diaper might not hold everything inside.
Cleaning Your Baby After a Diaper Blowout
Dealing with a baby diaper blowout is never fun, but you have to get your baby clean! The reality is you are going to need plenty of baby wipes, and you may want a few disposable diaper bags to contain the messy diaper and wipes.
Related: Best Natural Baby Wipes
Honestly, I suggest always having some disposable diaper bags on hand – even in your diaper bag – since you never know when you’ll have a major diaper disaster.
Before you can clean up your baby, you have to get your baby out of their clothes, and boy, that can be tricky. The last thing you want to do is smear poop anyplace else, especially in your baby’s hair.
What’s the solution?
Hopefully, you have your baby in a onesie, and you can slide it down your baby’s body rather than pulling it over their head.
Blow Outs Up Your Baby’s Back
This is the dreaded type of explosion, and you have to be careful not to spread the poop elsewhere.
- Ideally, you can slide down your baby’s shirt or onesie rather than pulling over their head.
- Run a bath after you strip off their clothes and give your baby a thorough bath, making sure to scrub their backs, legs, and any creases.
- Change into new clothing and diaper.
- Make sure you check any surfaces your baby may have been on that could have poop on it now. Also, don’t forget to stain treat the clothing!
Pooping Out the Sides and Down The Legs
Typically, poop coming out the sides of the diaper tends to be easier to clean up and won’t always warrant a complete bath. Sometimes, if you catch it soon, it’s just a small amount that leaks out of their diaper.
If your baby is wearing a onesie, you will still need to – hopefully – pull it down their body rather than over their heads.
- Remove the clothing and be prepared to stain treat them afterwards.
- If the poop managed to stay in a small area, grab a bunch of wipes and clean up your baby’s legs. Typically, these explosions aren’t as bad as he back ones!
- Get your baby into a new diaper and clothing.
Dealing with Blowouts at Night
Waking up in the middle of the night to change a diaper won’t top anyone’s favorite things to do list, but when a poop explosion happens at night, it’s even worse.
The problem is you are going to fully wake your baby up to clean them AND you’ll be fully awake. It’s best to try to try to avoid this at all possible by using overnight diapers with extra absorbency or using a cloth diaper cover to contain everything.
If an explosion happens at night, here are some tips.
- Keep the lights as low as possible and use quiet as possible to hopefully soothe your infant back to sleep ASAP.
- Lay a towel down in their crib so your baby won’t get their sheets messy, and grab a few wash cloths that are warm.
- Put your baby wherever you change their diapers and remove the clothing. Hopefully, you have them in a sleeper, and you can pull all the clothing down and off.
- Use the warm wash cloths – rather than a cold wipe – to clean off your baby’s back, stomach, and bottom.
- Put on a new diaper and new pajamas.
7 Tips to Prevent a Baby Diaper Blowout
The most important thing to remember, when it comes to preventing a diaper blowout, is that you cannot escape all of them. They’re an inevitable part of caring for infants, and you aren’t alone in your experience.
However, there are some things you can do to help reduce the frequency and likelihood that it will happen, especially while you’re out and about.
1. Pick the Right Diaper Size
The first thing I suggest you to do to prevent a diaper blowout is check the sizing of your diaper. Read the weight recommendations for the brand you buy; it may be time to size up. It’s okay to play around with the diaper size to see if it makes a difference!
2. Make Sure the Diaper Fits Well
Blowouts happen when diapers are too tight and too loose; any bad fitting increases the likelihood of a leak. Pay attention to the fit, and if it isn’t fitting right, change sizes or brands.
Also, always pull out the leg ruffles! They need to be pulled out, or you risk a blowout.
3. Change Your Baby’s Diaper More
This might seem like an obvious tip, but if you notice your baby has multiple poop leaks, you may need to change your baby’s diaper more often. The recommended time frame is every two hours or more often.
Diapers can’t absorb anything if it’s full!
Related Post: What to put in a diaper bag for baby
4. Consider a Different Diaper Brand
Have you ever wondered why there are so many different diaper brands – both cloth diapers and disposable diapers? It’s because not all diapers work for every baby.
I’ve tried a multitude of brands. Some are more expensive than others; some use natural ingredients. Others left red marks on my baby’s legs, while some led to more leaks.
Different diapers for different babies is a thing, so don’t be afraid to try a different brand if you notice regular blowouts even once following the above ways to prevent a diaper blowout.
5. Buy Diapers for Back Pockets
Did you know some disposable diapers have a back pocket? It’s true!
These little pockets help stop the poop coming up his back, but not all brands have these little pockets. One of the most popular picks is Huggies Little Snugglers with a pocketed back waistband!
6. Try Diapers for Active Babies
If your baby is crawling around or cruising, you may want to consider a disposable diaper brand that works for more active babies. These diapers move and shift with your baby better than other brands.
Pampers Cruisers and Huggies Little Movers are two brands meant for babies on the go, available in sizes 3 and up.
Another option is the new Pampers Cruisers 360 that doesn’t even have tabs. The diapers have elastic that goes around the top, creating an awesome fit around your baby’s waist.
7. Look at Your Diet or Your Baby’s Diet
Breastfed babies are known for having liquid poops for quite awhile, but nursing moms should take a look at their diet. If you consume large amounts of fiber, it may be that your baby’s belly isn’t ready to handle that.
I suggest keeping a food diary to discern if a certain type of food may be related to the blowouts.
On the other hand, formula moms may need to think about switching brands if their baby has frequent blowouts and diarrhea. It could be that their bellies aren’t handling it well.
7 Hacks for a Diaper Blowout Parents Should Know
While you may not be able to completely prevent your baby from having a large, liquid poop, you can be prepared with these helpful tips:
1. Make Sure You Have Laundry Stain Remover on Hand
One of the most important hacks for a diaper blowout is keeping stain remover on hand at all times. Diaper blowouts end up staining your baby’s clothes, and I hate that! I want to save the clothes either to consign later or pass down to my other kids.
No one wants stained baby clothes
As soon as your baby is cleaned up, make sure you rinse off the soiled clothing with cool water to remove the poop. Then, spray with a stain remover.
Wash as usual!
If the clothing still has stains after washing, use some hydrogen peroxide. One thing you can’t do is put the clothing into the dryer until the stains are gone. The heat will essentially set the stain, and after that, getting rid of the stains is nearly impossible.
2. Add More Absorbency
Believe it or not, you can add more absorbency to both cloth diapers and booster pads for disposable diapers. If you decide you want to add more absorbency inserts to your diapers, make sure you keep them all contained inside of the diaper with nothing sticking out the front or back.
3. Hang The Soiled Clothes Outside
If possible, I suggest hanging the soiled clothes outside in direct sunlight. The sun rays has a natural whitening effect, which is why parents often hang their cloth diapers to dry outside to get rid of stains.
4. Always Bring Extra Outfits!
This is an easy hack that is easy to forget – always have extra outfits in your diaper bag when you head out places. We always have extra diapers on hand when heading out, but make sure you have one or two outfits on hand as well.
5. Use Envelope Onesies
An envelope onesie has shoulders that let you pull the shirt down your baby’s body rather than over their face, risking getting poop other places.
Poop in hair is NEVER a good thing!
6. Try Diaper Extenders
If you’re struggle with poop explosions regularly, look at using diaper blockers or diaper extenders. They are either disposable or reusable pads that secure at the back of your baby’s diaper.
The goal of a diaper extender is to increase the overall absorbency and stop blowouts.
7. Try Cloth Diapers
Many people switch to cloth diapers when they have regular diaper blowouts. The elastic around the legs and waist tend to prevent poop from escaping the diaper.
If you’re having regular leaks, especially at night, cloth could be your solution. Some parents even put a cloth diaper cover over top of disposable diapers to contain the blowout and adding more security at night.
FAQs about Baby Blowouts
Are Diaper Blowouts Normal?
Yes! Diaper blowouts are completely normal, even if parents can’t stand them. Babies have liquid stools for months, combined with lack of control over their urine, it’s easy for diapers to fill up before parents realize.
Also, babies grow so fast, so your baby may outgrow his diapers quickly, or you may accidentally put the diaper on improperly. Accidents happen, so don’t sweat it.
Do Blowouts Mean Diarrhea?
You might worry that a diaper blowout is due to your baby having diarrhea, but that’s not always the case! While explosions are frustrating, they don’t necessarily mean your baby has diarrhea.
Newborns and infants have frequent bowel movements, and their stools are loose and liquid until they start to consume solid foods. This won’t happen until four to six months, so you have plenty of months with loose stools.
Typically, a poop explosion is more likely caused by other factors, like diaper problems, than sickness. However, if your baby is acting strange and sick like, it could be they have a tummy bug!
Young babies up to six to eight weeks old have three to four bowel movements per day. Breastfed babies may have up to 12!
As they get older, their bowel movements start to decrease in frequency down to one to three, and you may notice a predictable bowel movement schedule. My babies almost always passed stools in the morning after their first feeding after they were a few months old.
If you’re worried your baby has diarrhea, here are some signs of diarrhea in babies.
- A sudden change in frequency or consistency of bowel movements three or more times in a day.
- Blood or mucus in the stools
- Foul smelling stools
- Other signs of an illness, such as a fever.
This is a time to call your baby’s doctor for advice!
What Age Do Diaper Blowouts Happen?
Diaper blowouts are most common in your baby’s first year of life. At this time, your baby’s diet is primarily formula or breast milk, and their stools are loose and liquid.
A baby’s stool won’t develop form until they start eating solids around four to six months, but don’t expect blowouts to stop entirely until their diet is primarily solids after a year old.
Do Breastfed Babies Have Blowouts More Often?
In general, yes, breastfed babies experience more bowel movements and poop explosions than formula-fed babies, especially in their first months of life.
Changes in a mother’s diet, such as trying new foods or increasing their fiber, cause changes in bowel movements as well. Nursing mothers should pay attention to their baby’s stool to watch for any signs of belly troubles.
Unfortunately, a baby diaper blowout is something all parents will deal with a few times, but using the right tips will help decrease their frequency. You don’t have to experience them all the time thankfully!