Baby Diaper Blowout: Tricks And Tips



Sep 27, 2021

Baby diaper blowouts are never fun, especially when you are out on the go or like me in the middle of a hike. However, there are some tricks to help you reduce chances of a diaper blowout or ways to deal with it.

diaper blowout while hiking

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What is a Diaper Blowout?

Diaper blowout is when a baby poops but the diaper doesn’t contain it. The poop exits up the back, down the legs or in the front. This is most common when a baby is on a liquid diet and subsides once a baby is on more solids. This happens to all parents, one of those things people might have not mentioned when they told you all the great things about having a baby. 

I breastfed both my boys. Breastfed babies have yellow poop and it has the distinct baby milky smell. When they have a blowout that yellow liquid gets everywhere, all over their onesies, pants and often the car seat or carrier.  If you are holding them it can even seep through to your clothing.  I swear babies know when the worst time to have a blowout!

There was something about the car seat for my second baby, maybe it was the position or maybe the constant light bumps from the car, but he found it the perfect time to let loose. It didn’t matter if it was an hour drive or just a three minute drive, the car seat was trouble!

As a mom I was frustrated, why, I always thought?! Just when I got to our destination I had to deal with changing him on the go, even when I had just put a new diaper on him before we left the house. 

The good thing is that there are signs to help prevent diaper blowouts and baby gear to help you better prepare for blowouts no matter where you are!

How To Prevent Diaper Blowouts

  • Change baby’s diaper often to not let a build up occur
  • Select the correct size diaper for your baby
  • Make sure diaper is fitted properly on your baby

These steps are the first things you should check when baby blowouts are occurring, as they are the simplest to fix. Babies go through a lot of diapers; make sure you change your baby’s diaper often enough to not let poop or excess pee build up. The build up might be the thing that causes the next poop to explode out of the diaper.

The easiest one to check is to make sure you have the right size diaper on your little one, both a diaper too big and too small can be the reason for blowouts. And, lastly, ensure you are putting on the diaper properly, because when put on incorrectly it leads to bad things.

When are Diaper Blowouts Most Common?

This is a great question to help diagnose what you can do. If your little one is having a blowout in a predictable pattern, such as mine in the car seat, you can start to understand ways to contain it better, or in some cases prevent it. Below are some scenarios and suggestions to prevent it.

Diaper Blowouts at Night:

The diaper might not be absorbent enough. Try switching to a nighttime diaper. Once my boys were sleeping longer stretches at night I switched them to overnight diapers.

Pampers Overnight diapers start in size 3, recommended for 15-31lbs. Huggies overnight also start at size 3 recommended for 16-28 lbs.

If you want an overnight diaper before your baby reaches size 3 many parents use a Pampers Dry baby size 2; stating it is more absorbent and works like a night time diaper. The reason nighttime diapers start at size 3 is because before a baby is in a size 3 that baby is waking up several times a night to feed, therefore you should be able to change your baby’s diaper often enough to not need overnight diaper protection.

Diaper Blowouts in the Car:

Diaper blowouts in the car tend to travel up the baby's back . To prevent diaper blowouts up the back try a diaper extension. A diaper extension is made to extend disposable diapers up the back, allowing the baby’s clothes to remain untouched in case of an accident.

If the blowouts are escaping out of the cuff legs try downsizing diaper size. You should only be able to fit one finger between the baby and the diaper and if there is more room the poop can more easily leak out.

If the blowouts are escaping in all directions try moving up a diaper size. Classic signs of a diaper being too small are red marks around the leg cuffs, the diaper not sitting right under the belly button and you cannot run two fingers around the waist when the diaper is fastened. These are sure tell signs that it is time to size up. For a general guideline you can look at the weight recommendations on diaper brand’s websites, although they do give a broad range.

How to Tell if a Diaper is Correctly Sized?

A diaper that is not the correct size or is put on incorrectly can and will cause a blowout. Below is the correct way to put on the diaper

  • Diapers have a back and front, make sure the back is going on the baby’s back side. The fastener straps should go from the back to the front. This sounds like an obvious one but I know grandparents that have changed my babies and got it wrong. 
  • When strapping the diaper it should fall right below the belly button. When secured you should be able to run two fingers around the waist band. 
  • The leg cuffs should be on the legs and pulled out. You should be able to fit one finger between baby and leg cuff and there should be no visible red marks around the legs.

Gear to Help with Diaper Blowout

The best thing a parent can do is to be prepared and take deep breaths; having a baby can be hard at times! As a parent you lose some control, but try to stay calm and not panic.  

Baby Diaper Blowout at home

  • Diaper Pail
  • Poop Bags
  • Desitin
  • Baby Wipes

This one is the easiest as you already have a changing table set up for your little one. Use a diaper pail and diaper poop bags. I have two Ubbi Steal Odor Locking Diaper pails, one for each of my two boys.

I love the pail, but find that if I don’t wrap the dirty diaper in a poop bag before placing it in the diaper pail I get a bad odor every time I open the diaper pail to put subsequent diapers in. The diaper pail does contain the smell as long as the diaper pail is closed. Wrapping the stinky diapers helps to reduce the strong smell you get when you continue to open the pail until you take the trash out. 

Make sure you have plenty of wipes in easy reach and baby butt cream such as Desitin. Blowouts have been known to irritate my little one and it is smart to add a protective barrier, especially if your little one’s butt is red.

How to Handle A Diaper Blowout on the Go

Baby Diaper Blowout while hiking

Never leave the house without the following when you have a baby: These are needed outdoor baby gear!

All the things you would need to have a blowout at home, but add an extra outfit or two. Blowouts get over baby’s clothes and you will need a complete outfit change.

The worst thing is for your little one to have a blowout and you forget a spare onesie and feel hopeless and have to return home ASAP with a naked baby. Also remember the hand sanitizer, once you change a blowout you will want to clean your hands!

Tips for Diaper Blowout On the Trails

My eldest son was famous for having a blowout half way through a hike when he was a baby. My husband and I would be many miles from our car and all of a sudden we got that whiff and knew it was one of those situations. You will need all the things mentioned in diaper blowouts on the go, but a couple other important things to note.

Baby Diaper Blowout on the trails
On the Go Diaper Blowout

  • Make sure to find a level soft spot to lay your portable changing mat on. This can be harder when on a mountainous hike, but spending the time to find a good spot is key to an easier change.
  • You have to carry your dirty diaper and clothes out. Designate a spot in your hiking backpack to put soiled items; for me I use the bottom segment of our hiking backpack because we put all our food and water in a different segment.
  • Speed matters. Out in the elements it might not be the ideal temperature to strip your baby down, but you must. Learning to be fast and efficient will ensure your baby doesn’t stay too cold for too long.

Curious on my advice for hiking with a baby, please see my article here. Nothing is better than getting out in nature with your baby, if you ask me!

Or if your baby is now a toddler, read tips for hiking with your toddler here.

How to Clean Blowouts from Baby’s Clothes

When a blowout occurs the baby’s clothes do not need to be thrown away, although you might be tempted to. Here are the steps I recommend:

  • Remove all excess poop from the clothes and put them in bag until you get home
  • Spray the clothes with stain remover or, my personal favorite, rub Dawn into the stains and massage it in
  • Rinse the clothes as you continue to massage
  • Let the clothes soak in warm water
  • Wash the clothes in your washer 
  • Check that the stain is removed before drying the clothes

Hope this helps you manage your blow out situations more effectively. It happens to all of us!