When starting solids, all those new foods your baby tries will affect every aspect of your baby’s digestion, including what ends up in his cloth diapers.
So let’s dive into the dirty nitty-gritty of it all and talk about how your baby’s poop will change after starting solids, and what it will mean for your cloth diaper routine.
After Solids The Poop Changes
Before you start your baby on solid foods, cloth diaper laundry is a bit easier because both meconium and exclusively breastfed (EBF) poop is water-soluble meaning your washer can just wash it away.
But once you start solids (or even a little bit of formula implementation, but that’s another poop discussion), this is no longer the case because the poop changes in many ways! The poop will smell worse. The poop may be brightly colored. The poop may appear many times a day. Or, the poop may stop coming altogether.
Let’s take a look at each of the seven ways your baby’s poop can change after solids.
6 Ways Your Baby’s Poop May Change After Starting Solids
1. The Poop Will Smell Worse
Now, poop never smells great. But up until the time you start your baby on solids (and this is especially true if your baby has been exclusively breastfeeding), the poop probably didn’t stink to high heaven.
Unfortunately, once you start your baby on solids that’s going to change. Solid food produces stinkier poop, and as your baby eats more and more solid food, the poop will only get smellier.
If smells get to you, plan on doing lots of mouth-breathing during diaper changes, there’s just no way around it.
2. The Poop Will Be Colorful
Before starting solids, your baby’s poop was probably a predictable mustard or yellowish-brown color. After starting solids, though, that’ll change. Feed your baby plenty of tasty blueberries for lunch, and you’ll see blackish-purple poop at bedtime. Offer a big bowl of yummy steamed carrots for dinner, and you might wake up to a diaper full of bright orange poop the next morning.
This is nothing to be worried about biologically as the brightly-colored poop is normal at this stage. Your baby’s digestive system is still fairly immature and is learning how to process solid foods; as your baby grows, her poop will change to a more normal color, regardless of what she eats.
This rainbow will lead to more complicated staining of your cloth diapers, however. That blueberry poop is especially difficult and even more likely to stain than EBF poop! Luckily, it’s also easily removed by sunning your diapers (letting them dry in direct sunlight) amazingly enough.
3. The Poop *May* Get Firmer.
If your baby’s been on formula, this one may not apply to you. But if your baby’s been breastfeeding up to this point, you may discover that after starting solids, his poop is firmer and more “ploppable” meaning easier to dump into the toilet. Breastfed babies typically have runny, liquidy poop; once they start solids, however, it becomes firmer, more like paste.
This is only a possibility however, many babies, including my daughter, never get truly ploppable poops during their diaper years. For us with peanut-butter poop kiddos, a cloth diaper sprayer is well worth the investment.
4. The Poop May Look a Lot Like Undigested Food
While this isn’t really an issue if you’re choosing to feed your baby smooth purees, once you start adding some chopped table food into the mix, look out!
Often at the beginning stages of solid feeding, the contents of your baby’s diaper may look almost exactly like the contents of their plate the night before.
Again, there’s no need to be worried, this is just a sign that your baby’s digestive system is still figuring out how to handle pieces of table food. Over time, as your baby eats more and more solid food pieces, the poop will return to normal.
5. The Poop May Happen More Often
By the time you’re ready to start your baby on solid foods, it’s likely they will be pretty regular (as in pooping once or twice a day).
In fact, if your baby’s being breastfed exclusively, they may even be going a few days in between bowel movements, which is considered normal for breastfed babies. And how nice for you, right? Poop-free diapers most of the time, and when poops do happen you can just pop them in the washer!
But once you start your baby on solid foods that routine, sadly, comes to an end. For many babies, starting solids means pooping more frequently. This is again explained by their immature little digestive systems. As your baby’s body figures out how to process solid food more efficiently, you’ll find they return to more normal amounts of pooping (thank goodness!)
Important Note: Diarrhea can be a sign of a food allergy or sensitivity. If you suspect that your baby’s frequent pooping is actually diarrhea, or is causing a diaper rash each time they go, talk to your pediatrician about possible food allergies and sensitivities.
6. The Poop May Happen Less Often
Some babies poop a lot more after starting solids. Other babies, though, have the opposite problem —constipation.
Constipation can happen after offering your baby lots of “binding foods,” like bananas rice, and dairy.
More information about the signs, treatment, and prevention of constipation after introducing solids, can be found here.
7. The Poop is No Longer Water-Soluable
Perhaps the most regrettable change for many cloth diapering parents who were EBF before their babies began eating solids is that their baby’s poop is no longer water-soluble and therefore they can’t just pop soiled diapers into the washer and expect them to come out clean.
Unfortunately, once solids are introduced you must remove cleaning your cloth diapers requires a few more steps, so let’s quickly cover the new routine below.
How Do You Clean Cloth Diapers After Starting Solids?
To clean your cloth diapers once your baby starts solids, you must start by removing the poop and flushing it down the toilet after changing your baby.
There are many methods to help make removing the waste easier, like a diaper sprayer, diaper liners, or even a dedicated spatula kept by the toilet, here’s a full list of options to help you clean cloth diapers with poop.
After you remove as much of the poop as you possibly can put the diaper in your dirty diaper storage container to wait for wash day. If you use a Measure Method cloth diaper laundry routine you’ll be starting your diaper laundry with an initial rinse and spin, this is to help remove any trace bits of soil and urine from your diapers so that your cloth diaper detergent can get down to those inside layers during your actual wash cycle.
As we discussed above, the new foods your baby tries may also lead to new stains on your cloth diapers. It sounds hokey, but the absolute best method to remove all of the new food stains you’ll be battling at this stage is the sun!
After you remove your diapers from the washer, hang them to dry in direct sunlight (which can be in a window if you live in a northern climate like me) and the stains should come out after a “sunning” or two.
That’s pretty much the only changes you’ll need to make to your wash routine after introducing solids. For more information on the Measure Method and how to wash cloth diapers, click here.