It’s All About the Poop (Unfortunately)
I don’t have too much time on my hands, I promise, but I do think of seriously weird things while spraying diapers, doing laundry, washing dishes; basically any time I’m working on some type of semi brainless activity. This time, it was poop. I’m pretty good at poop by now. I’m five years into this parenting thing with ten years of prior diaper changing experience up my sleeve from six younger siblings, so I’m not afraid of a little poop.
Okay, that’s not true. I am afraid of it. However, when you’re a parent, that’s a moot point.
Poop is always the thing that seems to be of most concern to people when they think of cloth diapers. It’s really the deal breaker for some. I sort of see why. Poop is gross. But face it, disposables or re-usables, you’re gonna be dealing with poop if you become a parent. A lot. At least with cloth diapers, most of the poop stays within the diaper so you deal with it on your terms. So, let’s just take a look at what we’re gonna be dealing with here:
The Newborn Poop
I’m not gonna lie, this is my favorite poop.—well if one could have a favorite when it comes to subject matter such as this. Anyway. I’ve only breastfed so I am not well- versed in the ways of formula poop, but in my experience, this poop doesn’t have such an offensive smell. I don’t know, though, maybe that’s just the euphoria and hormones that come with having a new baby. It could also be the lack of sleep which leads to occasionally wearing some of it for an hour or two before having the chance to look in the mirror. Scent aside, the best part about newborn breastmilk poop is that you don’t have to spray it. No, seriously, it doesn’t need to be sprayed. I know, gross right? With my daughter who pooped only once every three days, we sprayed the poop anyway because I was still thinking, “Yuck! Poop in my washer!” My son pooped at almost every diaper change so that got old quickly. It was more like, “Yay! The poop goes in the washer!” I know from experience that you can throw that baby— the poop, not the actual baby— into the washer and the mustardy stuff comes right out. Yes, this poop is prone to staining your diapers, but a little sun and repeated washes will take care of that over time once your baby outgrows this stage.
Well...then there’s the thing about soupy breastmilk poop that I hate because sometimes it leaks. My son pooped in 15 of his 17 daily diaper changes and he leaked 20% of the time, even in our best cloth diapers. That liquidy stuff can really find weak points so as to make itself known. Don’t shake your head at me! I know you have a couple of newborn and 03 month outfits with yellow spots that won’t come out. Mmhmm, thought so.
The Transitional Poop
Things start to solidify when your baby begins eating purees. The poop is still yellow as long as breastmilk is the main ingredient in your baby’s diet, but it’s starting to have a shape and form sort of like play dough. Introducing food other than breast milk means that you have to start spraying or dunking your diapers too. Unfortunately, this isn’t the stuff that you can just knock off into the toilet either. This type of feces cakes on and requires a bit of elbow grease, a double dunk n flush, or a nice strong spray to come off.
The Whole Food Poop
I know this sounds like a healthy meal plan, but unfortunately, it’s not. When your kid starts eating finger foods, say green beans, corn, or peas; the food often comes out whole in the diaper. For real, there will be whole, little, orange carrots peppering the muddy brown mush. This is the stage when babies haven’t grown accustomed to chewing yet so they swallow little pieces of food whole just the way they’ve always done with their milk or their purees. Also, their digestive systems must still be maturing because you’d think some of that stomach acid would help at least a little bit.
This poop can be soft or solid. What makes it stand out from the rest is that it hides at the back of the diaper. You know the deal. You open up the nappy and it looks like there’s just a tiny bit of poop. Then you pull the thing off and begin to wipe the front only to find that the majority of the feces are caked up at the back of your baby’s waist and have now spread to their changing pad cover and clothing. This sneaky, little poo requires not just a diaper change but a new outfit and changing pad cover. So, remember that things aren’t always as they appear and even if you’re tired or you were hoping for a quick change, don’t let your guard down. Always lift that little butt high, checking all the way up to the waistband.
The Clingy One
This is the one that clings to the inner surface of your diaper no matter how hard you spray or how much you dunk. You’re gonna have to take your time getting this baby loose. Don’t worry, it will come off, but if you’re little one is mobile, you might consider putting him in the pack n play for a few minutes.
Here’s where you’re glad you use cloth diapers. They’re not always completely leak-proof for many reasons that have been discussed in other posts, but they’re so much more reliable than their throwaway counter parts. When you open up this poopy present, you’ll see that it has filled every available inch of the diaper from tummy to back. Sometimes, my husband and I don’t even attempt to wipe the baby down. We just skip straight to the bathtub, holding him at arms length like he’s radioactive while he happily flails his arms and kicks his legs, eagerly spreading his poopy artwork on the walls and floors as we go.
If both parents are home, one takes care of the diaper and the other takes care of the kid. If you’re home alone, well good luck with that.
This one’s not so great for the kid, but not so bad for diaper cleanup because it’s usually mostly solid. I don’t think I really have to describe it to you but I will. It’s that poop that travels up your baby’s butt crack and settles in, molding itself to your baby’s creases. I can’t imagine it’s comfortable for the little one, but my kids never complained. A good shake and it comes off the diaper easily. If it clung to the baby rather than the diaper, you’ll have to go shake those wipes over the toilet, or worse, spray them.
The Escape Artist
This one baffles me. It usually comes in the shape of a little pea or hush puppy and it rolls out either during a diaper change or even before, if you’re like me and like to let your kiddos run around in a pinned prefold with no cover, or your little girl has discovered how to open her diapers all by herself. The worst is that sometimes it leaves no trace in the diaper: no skid marks, and no stains. You open her up and think it’s just pee and then find something warm and gooey squishing up through your toes and realize that it rolled right out before you’d even realized it was there, and is now smashed into the pile of your carpet.
The Forgotten One
This one’s the worst. It’s either the poop in the wetbag you accidentally left in your diaper bag or the diaper you left on your kid for too long. Whether on the child or on the diaper, this poop likes to hang on because it’s made it’s home there and gotten dry and comfy. A bit of scrubbing on the bum and a good bit of spraying or dunking over the toilet should clean up most of this. A bath for the baby and a trip through the wash should take care of the rest.
The Smelly One
This one comes in all shapes, textures, and colors. Sometimes, it’s not even a real poop, just a nasty fart designed to send fear into the heart of even the toughest parent. It’s main characteristic is its ability to clear a room.
The Rainbow One
Maybe it was the blueberries. Or the green beans. But suddenly your kid’s part unicorn because you’re sure you’ve never seen poop this color before. Go ahead and ease your mind by calling the pediatrician, but chances are it’s normal. Whether or not it stains your diaper, waits to be seen...
The Solid One
This is the poop every parent dreams of: a nice, solid poop that requires little wiping on the bum and little to no spraying/dunking over the toilet. It’s cohesive but not adhesive and slides nicely into the porcelain bowl without much fuss. You won’t be able to look for this kind of poop in your baby’s diaper until they’re at least a year old, if not later, because this one comes when your kid’s nutrition is derived mainly from solid foods. Once you graduate to this level of poop, you’re usually here to stay unless your little one experiences a bad bout of diarrhea. Of course, if you’re not careful, the solid one can become an escape artist, so be vigilant.
Poop happens. Everyone does it. Adults can forget about it and never mention it like the big, pink elephant in the room and those without kids are able to avoid the topic of conversation altogether unless they’re seeking it out. Babies change all that. They poop pretty publicly, so parents spend much of their first parenting days dealing with the brown (or green, or yellow) stuff, and talking about it maybe for the first time ever. I mean, what’s more romantic than discussing the color and viscosity of your son’s poop with your husband after putting him to bed? Yeah, we’ve done it and I know you have too. We deal with it so often that we might as well look for the humor in it. Sometimes, I console myself with the fact that one day, my kids might have to change my diapers. Of course, by then they’ll probably have kids of their own which means they will have paid their dues.