To your baby it’s sweet relief – to you it’s a disaster.
Here’s how to handle your baby’s next big poopy blowout.
Almost every new parent will at some point experience that moment: the baby hasn’t pooped in three days and suddenly his bottom starts rumbling like a truck engine and you suddenly realize that his output is outpacing his diaper’s capacity to contain it. And it may just be a coincidence, but babies seem to have a way of pulling the most spectacular surprise blowouts while you’re stuck in traffic, on a two-hour hike or after you’ve just dressed them in aunt Selma’s white heirloom christening gown. What do you do next? Here’s a five-point plan for diaper disasters:
Prepare. It never hurts to keep a stash of paper towels or rags, a few plastic trash bags and a change of clothes wherever you and baby spend a lot of time: the car, the stroller and/or the diaper bag. While you’re at it, it’s also not a bad idea to have on hand at home at least a couple of cloth diapers and dark or old washcloths, just in case you unexpectedly run out of diapers or wipes in the middle of the night or during a snowstorm.
Grab the wipes. First, grab at least two plastic bags; strip the baby and put soiled clothes you want to save in one plastic bag, dispose of the diaper and wipes in the other, and using wipes or a washcloth you don’t like very much, start with baby’s hands and remove as much poop as you can and work your way down. Remove soiled clothes and diaper and do a full body wipe-down.
Bottom bath. After a wiping, sit baby in warm water in the bathroom sink or bathtub. Soap up and rinse his hands (and yours) first, then use plain, clear water to rinse off his bum. Dry, diaper and dress him. Put him in a safe place like a car carrier on the floor or in his crib if you need to shower yourself. (The huge poop probably put him in a great mood, but most babies will be less happy about the bath part.) For more on baby bathing techniques, see this article.
Spray cleaning. Using a plant sprayer or bowl filled warm water and a half teaspoon of dishwashing detergent along with paper towels to damp mop soiled washable surfaces like dressers, carpets, changing pads and your car’s seats of any poop, then blot spots with clear water to remove the soap film. For sinks and bathtubs spray and rinse with a few squirts of bleach spray, which you can buy in a store, or you can make your own in a spray bottle with 10% bleach and the rest water. (Just be careful to keep bleach spray away from clothes and other fabrics.)
Run the machine. Launder soiled clothes immediately in warm water, or if you don’t have time to wash a load of laundry, rinse clothes in cold water and leave them to soak in a pan of cold water with a stain remover like Oxiclean. Drying the clothes in the sun (if possible) will also help stains fade. Don’t dry stained clothes in the dryer until you’re sure the stain is gone, or the heat may bake the stain in.
In better news, baby poop won’t stain fabrics if you treat spots quickly.
Good luck, and remember, it’ll make a great story for your baby’s prom date someday.