Tuesday, August 3, 2010

DDT6 -- The Scoop on Poop

I know the biggest turn off to cloth diapering is probably the poop factor.  The fact of the matter is that your baby may not even poop as often or as copiously as you imagine.  In addition to your infant or toddler's age, diet (down to the brand of milk) will also affect the quantity, consistency, and frequency of the bowel movements.

The Good News

While it is ideal for a newborn to poop 4-8 times a day, it is not uncommon for it to be quite less.  The nurses at the hospital told me that any decent size "mark" could be considered a bowel movement.  Once my son got into a routine, he only had 1-2 dirty diapers a day and often went up to 3 days at a time between poops.  This is normal and should not be thought of as constipation unless it is coming out hard and/or dry.  Breastfed babies can go up to a week without pooping because breast milk is so perfectly made for an infant's digestive system that almost 100% of it can be absorbed with no waste material.  Even formula fed babies can go up to 3 days between bowel movements without concern, and there are a handful of formulas that compare with the digestibility of breast milk.

More Good News

As your infant ages, the consistent of the bowel movements will change and become easier and easier to remove from the diaper.  If you are blessed with a little bundle of joy who happens to be a prolific pooper, the frequency will also decrease to about 4 times a day at 4 months and down to one time a day by 6-8 months.  In many cases, this could happen sooner.  My son has been making well-formed stools since around 4 months.  It might be hard at first to deal with, but it does get better!

The Bad News

Newborn poop is very sticky and can have an almost liquid-like texture.  This will make it messy to prewash out of the diapers until they start having more solid bowel movements at about 4 months.  If you have to, the good old fashioned washing in a basin works, but it's not the most palatable way to deal with poopy diapers.  The easiest way is with a sprayer (even later on).  It knocks off the poop without mashing it into the cloth for the least amount of residue on the diaper.  You don't have to get an official diaper sprayer.  If you have a mud room with a shower stall or a sink with a built in sprayer, that will save you money and the trouble of installing an extra gadget.  Once you rinse it, wring out as much water as you can and put in the diaper bucket until you're ready to launder.

So there you have it.  That's the scoop on poop.  It's not as scary as it seems, so get to it!