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Not only is it SO frustrating that your baby wakes in the early morning and has a poopy diaper, but it’s even MORE difficult to share that there’s not a lot we can do to solve this. I know, I know!! That’s not what you were hoping to hear. Sleep training does actually change your baby’s bowel movements…for a time. But generally, things go back to normal after a few weeks. If you’re one of the unlucky ones whose baby ALWAYS poops in the early morning…I first want to offer my condolences, share a deep breath and give you a few ways we can try to help!!!
During the bedtime routine diapering, I want you to use a good quality diaper cream (this was always my fave!) and slather it on your baby’s bum like you’re icing a cake. Seriously- that thick!! This is peace of mind to know that in the morning (when we move to our next strategy) there won’t be any irritation on baby’s skin.
Have a newborn? Go change them! You guys know I’m all about helping your newborn out. They cannot self-soothe, they need your attention, and they for sure need to have their diaper changed! If your newborn is waking with a poopy diaper in the early morning hours (3-5AM) go change them, offer a feed and help them go back to sleep!
Have a baby 4 months and older? You’ve got to decide….
If your baby has an early morning poopy diaper that you can easily change and they fall back to sleep- that’s fine! Go change them and allow them to fall back to sleep independently.
If your baby tends to get MORE upset when you leave, it’s best to not change them. This interference is only causing them to get more stimulated and it’s not helpful for baby.
HOWEVER. If your baby uses props to fall asleep- like feeding to sleep, rocking to sleep, holding, bouncing, pacifier, ANYTHING that isn’t 100% them… it’s totally not fair to do this. Why? Because they’re waking looking for that prop!! If you don’t go in to change them and give them the prop, it’s totally unfair to what you did just a few hours before, and all the way back to bedtime. If your baby uses a prop to put themselves to sleep, that’s the problem. Not the poopy diaper. Or maybe, they just happen coincidentally. In order to solve this, we need to find the right sleep program for your baby to learn how to sleep independently, and make sleep a thing!
So your child had a poopy diaper and you’re not going to change them. Now what?
If your child is just rolling around, standing, sitting or whining on/off…let them be until it’s time to start the day. You can do visual checks on the monitor, but don’t go in there. You know what will happen! They’ll go from level 1 to level 20 upset! They’re convinced it’s time to start the day! But it’s 5AM.
If your child is protesting, you can go give them physical checks or visual checks. You may even need to experiment between you and a partner WHO gives the best checks. For example, if nursing mom does a check on a 9 month old at 5AM they might get a lot more upset when mom leaves vs. non-nursing dad! This is a gray area strategy because you’ll need to apply what works for YOUR child here. Physical checks? Monitor checks? Vocal checks via the monitor?
By NOT going to change your child, it doesn’t mean the poopy diapers will stop. But it does mean that we want to see them go back to sleep after 4-5 mornings of not going in. Early morning wakings are the hardest to work through, so know that it will take some time. Not much is instant success in sleep strategies!
You know I can’t do a blog on early morning wakings without addressing the darkness in your child’s room! Just last week I had 2 moms send in photos of their child’s room. It was a black picture but right in the middle was a white square. Sunlight pouring in through the tops/sides of the windows!!! I asked them to cover it with foil, get a better blackout curtain or check out Blackout EZ covers! And guess what? Two days later they both replied back that their kids slept past 6:30AM!!! It works people. It works! Check that darkness!
Find their space. Does your child have “a spot” they go poopy? My youngest loved playing at this activity table and typically always did her business! Before her nap I would give her 5-10 minutes of play intentionally at that spot while I cleaned up lunch, and viola! Poopy diaper. Think about a space for your child. Do they have a special spot? Consider giving them play time there 10-15 minutes before bedtime routine to see if they’ll go!
My final suggestion isn’t guaranteed, rather a try-and-see! Oatmeal and bananas have been thrown around as “binding agent” foods for kids, so hey! Might as well try and add some banana to dinner time and see if it helps?!
Have your own poopy diaper remedies?! I’d love to hear!! Share in the comments with us your experience and tips!
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