Baby Diaper Blowout: How to Deal with Diaper Explosions

No matter how prepared you are, you will, at the very least, suffer from one encounter of a diaper blowout per child you have.

That’s a low estimate, of course. For I have stories about both my daughters and diaper explosions that my husband and I plan on revealing every time a new suitor appears at the door once they’re old enough to date.

Here is my story what exactly happened to my husband.

With a diaper leaking, you have seconds to act. It doesn’t matter if you are breastfeeding or formula feeding…all babies will have an epic baby poop explosion. I mean, not to be gross, but how many times have you run to the bathroom and just barely made it before you exploded all over the toilet? Exactly. Good thing you weren’t wearing a diaper!

What is a diaper blowout?

In the most simplistic terms, a baby diaper blowout is when your baby makes a poop, but that poop escapes the confines of the diaper. Whether it leaks out the baby diaper leg or the diaper leaks at night, this diaper overflow is never a welcome sight.

baby on a basket

It’s all part of the job you sign up for as a parent, though. And if you learn to laugh about it, you’ll feel a lot better. Besides, that’s just what hot showers and lots of soap are for. Oh, and the garden hose because you will want to take everything and hose it down before trying to wash it, I promise you this.

Both of my daughters had baby poop explosions. Sometimes we were out and about in China, while other times, we were lucky enough to be home. This is why every mom before you tells you to NEVER forget a change of baby clothes in the diaper bag. The day you do, you WILL get one of those massive diaper explosions.

This is interesting:

My youngest was probably the funniest poop explosion I can recall. She was just wiggling around in her crib, cooing at the mobile above and at us, gazing at her lovingly. When we heard PTHLLLLPPPPPTHHHHPLLLLLLLLOOOOOOPPPPP.

It sounded like that old expression involving the fan. You know the one.

We went to change her, but as soon as we picked her up, we could see that the poop exploded up and out the back of the diaper. It was all over her onesie, her hair, and the crib. My husband and I split the work…one of us took that poopy baby to clean her and change her (me) while my husband had to clean the crib, stripping the sheets for washing and all that good stuff.

baby cleaning

Gross as it was, it’s so funny to laugh at now. We still can’t forget that horrid sound or how joyous she seemed to be during the whole incident. And her older sister? She remembers it too and just howls when you bring it up.

Why do diaper blowouts happen?

Diaper blowouts will happen to you at some point, even if you do things right. But if you have a few things off, you will notice them happening with greater frequency. The biggest cause is that you have a diaper that doesn’t fit right. Size is very important when choosing the right diaper.

Additionally, fastening it improperly, even if the size is right, can also do you in. Just ask my mother-in-law, who seemed to have a devil of a time fastening those simple Velcro tabs.

A good rule of thumb for diaper blowout prevention is to be able to slip one finger between the waist of your baby and the diaper. The same goes for the leg cuffs.

Incidentally, the baby diaper leg can be the source of the diaper leaking too. If you keep having poop oozing out of the leg openings (ugh!) then you will want to make sure the cuffs of the diaper are on the outside of the diaper going around the legs of your baby.

But if you are using the right size, securing the diaper properly, and making sure the cuffs are positioned correctly, the diaper brand you’re using might not be the right one for you. Keep reading, and I’ll list some of the best ones toward the end.

How do you deal with a diaper blowout?

So you’ve heard the poop heard ’round the world. Now what? Short of getting a baby blowout blocker, you’ll have to clean up the mess that’s been made.

baby poops on diaper

First things first…if the baby is screaming and crying, remain calm and try to distract her as you get her cleaned up. She’s likely upset that she has diaper overflow in her hair. I mean, ew, right?

If your spouse or another adult is with you, it would be great if they can help. But if you’re on your own, grab up a bunch of wipes and the garbage can. Wipe up what you can with the wipes and toss them promptly into the trash. We had a diaper pail that you stepped on to open, which made baby poop explosions easier to clean in our home.

Once you wipe off what you can, it’s time to strip the baby of the poopy clothes. Onesies are the best for newborns and babies under 12 months because you can roll them down baby’s body rather than pulling it over her head to spread more poop joy.

If you’re at home when this happens, you should then go bathe the baby. The clothes can be tossed into the water to soak. If those clothes are covered in chunky grossness, you may want to hand them off to your husband to hose down outside first. And should you be home alone at the time, chuck them right out the back door and take care of the baby first. The clothes can wait until she’s clean and comfy again.

Once the baby is fresh and clean, you can rinse the clothes, spray with stain remover, and then wash them. Hydrogen peroxide can get out the toughest of stains, but make sure you wash it until the stains are gone. Once you add it to the dryer, the stains are there to stay.

What if the diaper blowout happens while I’m out with the baby?

This is why your diaper bag should be prepped for this exact reason. A diaper blowout can strike at any time. If you have enough diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes, it should be no big deal. Don’t forget to carry disposable plastic bags to contain the mess as well. While you can throw out the diaper and the wipes, you probably don’t want to throw out baby clothes.

What do I do with diaper leaks at night?

Now, should you find yourself with diaper leaks at night, you might want to get overnight diapers that can help sop up more of the mess. Again, I’ll have some diaper brand suggestions following at the end of all this.

Another option is to get a cloth diaper to add on top of the disposable diaper. However, be forewarned that some babies might find this makes them too warm, and they’ll often wake with major crankiness. For others, though, it might be just the solution you’re looking for!

Relevant: Here is how to fix baby’s rotten egg like smelly poop!

Are diaper blowouts normal?

Oh, Mama, yes they are. They are as much a part of parenthood as the sun is part of the sky!

But if diaper overflow keeps happening to you with regular persistence, it’s time to reexamine how you’re diapering your baby.

Once, I recall being so tired with my eldest that I’d completely forgotten to fasten one side of the diaper. It really does happen to the best of us, so live and learn!

How do I stop my baby diaper from leaking?

I’m so glad you asked! Here are the diaper blowout solutions you need!

  • Pick the right size

If you didn’t have a problem with diaper leaks before, it might be because the baby has grown. Check your baby’s weight to the size you’re using. If the baby is coming close to that upper weight limit on that particular size, it’s time to go up a size. Some moms even use a larger size just for bedtime to ensure that nothing escapes during sleep.

  • Be proactive

There’s likely a pattern you’re missing here with these diaper overflow situations. If you keep having them and can correlate them to feeding times, it might be wise to prepare for blowouts before they happen by using a bigger diaper after feeding time. Then when that telltale splat happens, it will all be contained.

  • Go for overnight diapers or booster pads

As I mentioned earlier on, overnight diapers are more absorbent and can help sop up a lot so it doesn’t leak out the legs or up the back. You can also look for diaper booster pads if this doesn’t work, which can give an extra measure of protection in the event of a nighttime diaper explosion.

newborn lying on bed
  • Make sure you’re putting it on right

And yes, check and check again. The first few weeks of putting a baby in a diaper is very confusing to new parents. I know this firsthand because I’d never once put a baby in a diaper before I had my eldest.

But if I can do it, you can too.

Sometimes, the back of the diaper gets folded down, or those leg cuffs get tucked in. Make sure everything is opened up correctly before putting the baby in the diaper and securing the tabs. This should take care of most diaper blowout situations.

Choosing the Best Overnight Diapers

Now, you might be happy with the brand of diapers you use by day, but if you keep having diaper explosions at night, you need a baby blowout blocker in the form of overnight diapers.

The key is looking for natural fibers in these products that include things like cotton and bamboo. I’ve found several options for you that can make your nights go more smoothly, so you’re not up until 4 am scrubbing poop out of everything.

Huggies Overnites Nighttime Diapers

Let’s start with Huggies. The brand is known for having really absorbent diapers though the nighttime version is even more absorbent. It has double leak guards and can keep the baby safe from all kinds of leaks for up to 12 hours.

Before you put them on your baby, you can feel how soft and strong these things are if you touch the inside. Think of that one time you cheaped out and bought the crappy maxi pads (be honest…we’ve all done it). Remember how sorry you were? Exactly! This is the same thing only a baby can’t change herself, so don’t forget that.

Anyway, these diapers are designed to fit snug at the waist and legs without being oppressive. They’re also hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. In fact, there’s no lotion, parabens, or elemental chlorine either, so I feel perfect about recommending these to you.

Honest Overnight Baby Diapers

Lots of mamas love the Honest brand. I must admit I’ve never used it myself (Pampers was all we could find of foreign brands while in China, and I stuck with them when we came back to the states). But I do have plenty of friends that sing the praises of these overnight diapers and the Honest brand in general.

My friend Melanie used these on all 5 of her kids and said they never let her down. She said they’re super soft, and the stretchy soft side panels ensure a perfect fit without irritating baby skin.

The diapers are made with sustainably harvested filling and plant-derived materials without any gross chemicals. That means no lotions, latex, fragrances, or chlorine in these natural materials that quickly wick moisture away for a happy, dry baby.

Pampers Swaddlers Overnights

And finally, I’ll list my personal favorite. Pampers Swaddlers Overnights was what I could find in China. It cost far more than the Chinese brands, but we had tried those Chinese brands and forget poop explosions…even the smallest pee leaked out. Needless to say, my husband decided it was time to pony up the dough for good diapers from America.

They’re incredibly soft and very absorbent, plus they have a wetness indicator so you can sneak a peek and see if you need to go to the trouble of waking the baby or not for a diaper change. With air channels to move moisture away and a quilted liner that draws mess from the skin, it leaves the baby comfy and protects from those big poop explosions.

That should do it for you. Of course, like everything else, we have our preferences, so see which one works best for you and your baby!

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