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Adventures in Cloth Diapering: The Poop Bomb

Posted by Becca on 3/27/2010 to Cloth Diaper How-To

My daughter was not even a month old when I started getting worried that she rarely pooped. She would go 1-3 days sometimes without pooping; I found this odd since she was exclusively breastfed.

I talked to my doctor, who gave me a few tips to get her digestive tract moving, but otherwise seemed unconcerned. In an attempt to help her out, I pumped some milk for her and added corn syrup to it in a bottle.

Later that day, when she started wiggling in her bouncer and fussing, I knew she probably needed a diaper change.

I crossed my fingers as I opened her bumGenius diaper and was delighted to see a little pool of mustard colored newborn poop awaiting me.

"Honey, she pooped!" I exclaimed excitedly, thrilled at our corn syrup success.
"A lot or a little?" he asked.
"A little…well, it's a good amount, but not a lot," I qualified.
"That's good!" he said with gusto.

I made quick work of cleaning off her tiny bottom and I had just gotten her down on an open, cloth diaper when I decided to take off the onesie. Newborns are just so cute naked and we rarely got to see her little shape since the bulk of a cloth diaper and clothing doesn't actually show her size. I stripped her of her clothing and let her lay there on the open diaper and I hollered for my husband to come and see how cute she looked.

"I've seen," he said, obviously not wanting to relinquish his post behind his computer doing his work.

It was then that the show began and it wasn't so cute any more.

Suddenly, her little bottom exploded into a glob of yellow goop that piled up at an alarming rate and started to overflow over the edge of the opened cloth diaper.

My first thought was, "Oh no! What a waste of a perfectly good cloth diaper!" because at that point we only had a couple of them.

My second thought was, "Oh no! I'm not quite sure how to clean this!"

"Sweetheart! Come here!" I yelled frantically through laughter and gagging as I watched the yellow liquid continue to flow like toothpaste.

"She's pooping and it caught me off guard! I don't know if I can handle it by myself!"

Quick Maneuvers

He came quickly and our first maneuver was to exchange the now uselessly full cloth diaper with a disposable one--still opened underneath her--to continue catching the mess that wasn't done coming out. Then I ran the cloth diaper into the bathroom because there was no way I was going to throw it into our washing machine thus soiled.

It didn't occur to me as I ran that liquid seeks the lowest level, so on my way to the bathroom with the overflowing diaper I wasn't able to figure out a way of holding the thing that would keep it from leaving a trail from her bedroom to the toilet on our hardwood floors.

"It's time to buy one of those diaper sprayers!"

"It's time to buy one of those diaper sprayers!" I thought to myself as I skirted the yellow spots of poop on the floor and walked to the toilet. I dunked the diaper in and flushed, hoping the flushing would do the trick of cleaning it, but we have a toilet that saves water and flushes fast so it didn't do much more than make the thing even more messy.

I had to get it to the bathtub. How to do that without leaving more, yellow spots of poop all over the floor? Hold it over the trash can! I did so, moving the trash can and the diaper together towards the bathtub like a choreographed dance, and then I threw the thing on the bottom of the bathtub and pulled the shower head off it's hook, spraying it frantically. The yellow water just kept flowing and flowing from the diaper but the amount of poop wasn't diminishing. Dave needed my help just then so I just left it there, soaked in the bottom of the tub with yellow water eeking out towards the drain.

I got to Dave to see that she had filled the second diaper and was in need of a third but since the poop was still flowing from her at a rapid rate, we weren't quite sure when to do the switch. Waiting wasn’t an option so we had to take the plunge and do it quickly because the diaper was already overflowing.

He held her bottom up and I got the second clean diaper ready and on three we switched them.

Then, I had to find a way to get the soupy disposable into the trash. Meanwhile, Dave closed the diaper on her and went to wash his hands and in so doing found my diapery mess in the bathtub so he took care of it.

I held our messy and happily oblivious daughter up in the air with one hand while cleaning off her feet, back, and legs, and the mat on the changing table from the mustardy mess. She started to fuss because she'd been sitting there nearly naked for awhile and was getting cold so I wrapped her in a towel from her dirty hamper, waiting for Dave to come back and to see if she'd poop any more.

"I want to bathe her, but I'm afraid she might not be done!" I said. I opened her diaper to check and she had, indeed pooped some more.

"Well, we're just going to have to risk it," he said. So I got a little container full of warm water, and three washcloths (one for washing, one for rinsing, one for her face) and proceeded to sponge bathe her.

Another five minutes of maneuvering a slippery, soapy baby up and down from the changing table, to make sure we got all sides, and she finally began to cry in protest. When she was done we wrapped her up nice and warm in a towel and put our last, clean cloth diaper on her. In typical newborn style, she fell asleep as if none of it had ever happened, snuggled happily against an exhausted daddy.

Since then, we’ve beefed up our cloth diaper stash and we did, indeed, buy a diaper sprayer—a gadget that my husband was very excited about!

Now, if she decides to pull a poopy bomb threat on us again, we’ll be prepared because we’ll never forget the day our daughter’s bottom exploded like a volcano and she used up three diapers in less than two minutes.