Baby lying on changing table getting a fresh diaper put on

How To Handle Your First Baby Diaper Blowout Like A Pro

As a first time parent, you probably did as much research as you could to prep for your little ones arrival (I sure did). However, not one book, doctor, or even seasoned parent I knew taught me how to deal with my baby’s first diaper blowout.

Sure, explosive poop isn’t exactly the best convo starter. Yet, it’s these little unspoken events which every parent goes through, that needs to be told to unexpecting rookies.

If no one has told you about the dreaded diaper blowout, let me be the first. Read this guide to help you prep and get through your first diaper explosion like a pro.

What Exactly Is A Diaper Blowout?

Just as the name suggests, a diaper blowout is when your baby’s poop has escaped and blown right through the diaper. This can result in poop leaking out onto each leg, up the belly, and up the back (sometimes even getting into your baby’s hair!).

Since newborns are on a milk-only diet, their poop is very liquid. This makes it incredibly easy for poop to escape past their diaper and soil baby’s clothes and any items they may be on such as their crib or car seat.

Dad in white shirt holds nose and grimaces while changing baby's smelly diaper

Why Do Diaper Blowouts Happen?

There are several reasons diaper blowouts occur, including:

  • Wearing the wrong size diaper. If your baby’s diaper is too small, it won’t cover the legs and waist all the way. This means less surface area and less material to actually catch and hold the poop. Similarly, if your baby’s diaper is too big, it leaves huge gaps where poop can easily escape through.
  • You’re holding your baby in the wrong position. This has been the cause of 2 of my daughter’s diaper blowouts. I was holding her not realizing that my arm was actually lifting the diaper too far up her leg, creating a pocket just under her thigh. And of course the timing of her next poop couldn’t have been more perfect. (Yay me).
  • Baby’s diaper is already too full. Newborns pee roughly 5-6 times each day, and should poop around that same amount too. If you’re not changing your baby enough, their diaper is going to get full quickly. When that happens and another bowel movement is approaching, the diaper won’t be able to handle the volume of waste, resulting in a blowout.
  • Diaper is on incorrectly. With disposable diapers, tabs that are put on too loosely and diapers that sit too low on their body can result in a messy poop situation.

How To Handle Your First Diaper Blowout (Step-By-Step Guide)

Follow these steps and you won’t be caught in a messy, stinky, panic like I was dealing with my baby’s first diaper blowout.

Diaper Blowouts That Occur At Home

Step 1: Don’t panic

Probably the most important advice I can give you is to stay calm. Yes, a diaper blowout is incredibly messy (and stinky); no doubt your first one can be an initial shock especially when your baby is covered in their own poop. But it’s important you don’t panic so you can swiftly and correctly get your baby cleaned.

Step 2: Wipe up what you can

If this diaper blowout is a particularly bad one—escaping up the back and covering their legs—grab some wipes and clean up what you can. This applies to babies wearing a onesie or other outfit. Clean up their legs and back of their neck if poop has reached that far up.

Step 3: Take off their onesie

If the poop has soiled their outfit, exploding all over their belly and back, it’s important you take off their onesie as soon as you can. Always remember to slide the onesie down and not up over their head as this can get poop onto their face, including eyes and mouth.

Step 4: Give your baby a bath

If you have a removable shower head, put it on the gentlest setting and quickly rinse your baby over the shower while holding them. From there, put them in their baby bathtub for a normal bath. Make sure all poop has been cleaned off checking their belly button, hair, and inner thighs.

Step 5: Use a disinfectant cleaner on poop-stained surfaces

If your baby had a blowout on their changing table or any other hard surface, wipe up the poop promptly and then finish off with a disinfectant spray, wipe, or bleach. This prevents any harmful bacteria from hanging around. If the blowout was on soft surfaces such as your sofa or car seat cushion, mix warm water and laundry detergent to spot clean.

Diaper Blowouts That Occur In Public

Step 1: Don’t panic (okay maybe a little)

Diaper blowouts at home are 100% easier to clean up and handle then when you’re in public. However, if you find yourself in this situation try to not freak out completely (a little bit is understandable).

Step 2: Find the closest restroom

If you’re in a restaurant or retail store, find the closest public restroom with a changing table. If you packed a changing pad or extra blanket, lay it down on the changing table to prevent a further mess.

Step 3: Wipe, wipe, wipe

Try and wipe your baby as clean as possible. If you have to go through your whole package, so be it. The key is to get as much poop off their body as possible until you can take them home for a proper bath.

Step 4: Change their outfit

If you packed a spare outfit (as you should always do with a newborn), change them into it as quickly as possible. Remove the soiled onesie, remembering to pull it down their body, rather than up over their head. Pack the onesie away in a plastic bag until you can wash it at home.

Step 5: Bathe baby once home

Even if you wiped your baby pretty well, it’s best to give them a bath once you get back home. Poop can be in crevices that you may have missed like behind ears and in their belly button. Besides, your baby will smell much better.

How Do You Prevent Diaper Explosions?

While you’re going to inevitably experience a diaper blowout at least once in your baby’s life, they’re mostly preventable. Here are a few ways to ensure poops stays in their diaper:

  • Put their diaper on correctly. The diaper should be snug and sit properly around their waist. Ensure the tabs are touching, the waistband isn’t folded or creating a gap, and the frills around the legs are out rather than in.
  • Get the right size diaper. Frequent diaper blowouts were the tell-tale sign that it was time to go up a diaper size for my daughter. If diapers are too small or large, they won’t work as intended.
  • Change your baby’s diaper frequently. It’s never good to let your baby’s diaper get too full as this can lead to a diaper rash and potentially other infections. Newborns typically go through 8-12 diapers a day, so anticipate this is how frequently you should be changing them. This guarantees there’s enough room in the diaper to hold all waste.
  • If you’re breastfeeding, check your diet. Sometimes diaper blowouts occur not due to a diaper malfunction, rather it could be what you’re eating. If you’re on a high fiber diet, your baby may not be able to handle it, creating more frequent, explosive bowel movements. If you notice diaper blowouts occur every time you eat a particular food and nurse, it might be worth it to avoid that food until your baby is weaned off breastmilk.

How did you handle your baby’s first diaper blowout? Was it at home or in public? Let me know in the comments below!

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