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We’d heard of mothers dealing with it on planes, in restaurants, at a gathering, or even on a walk, and feared it would happen to us.
Yes, it’s the Poonami. It’s messy and stinky, and it’s the perfect combo for a funny story. So, for all the parents out there, let me explain, “what is a Poonami?”
What Is a Poonami?
There’s no nice way to put it, but it’s this abnormally large wave of “poo” that hits unexpectedly, just like a “tsunami.” When I say abnormal, I mean it; the amount of poo that comes out of this little creature surprises everyone, including his poor nappy.
At one point, the nappy will fail you and will no longer be able to contain the situation. This is when you’ll see the poo making its way to your baby’s arms and legs. Even the best changing mats will struggle to keep all the contents in.
However, if you think about it, Poonami is a blessing in disguise, as your baby’s tummy is much more relieved afterward, and his bowel movement returns to normal. You will also be relieved, knowing that your baby has gotten these two days’ worth of poop out of his system.
Dealing with a momentary mess is better than dealing with something much worse, constipation.
Luckily, this unpleasant phenomenon usually happens in the baby’s first six months. After that, it becomes much less common.
What Causes a Poonami?
We can’t pin it down to a couple of points and say they’re the cause. Every baby will go through it, regardless of how they were fed (breastfed or bottle-fed). Yet, some theories might explain a Poonami:
- Their stomach is going through a growth spurt of some kind. Which causes…
- Their digestive system takes longer to digest. This means that some poop will be stored in their colon for longer.
- Holding it in and not pooping on a regular schedule can trigger it.
There are also several factors that can affect the consistency, colour, and frequency of their poop. Some of these factors are:
- Breast milk (goes darker) or UK baby formula
- Solid food introduction
- Changing formulas
- Bacteria found in their stomach (microbiome)
- Virus in the stomach
We’re fine as long as the poops are in safe shades ranging from yellow to brown. However, if your baby’s poop shows worrying signs, you should call your doctor.
Can You Prevent a Poonami?
Here, your guess is as good as mine. I know you were hoping for a magical solution, but unfortunately, there is no way out of Poonamis. Just make peace with the fact that it’s completely normal.
However, you should keep your baby hydrated because it causes them to lose a lot of fluids. By hydrating them, I mean feeding them rather than giving them water.
Giving your baby a bottle of water between feedings will not prevent dehydration. In fact, it is not recommended unless your doctor says otherwise.
Water gives the baby a false sense of fullness and provides no nutrients. Breast milk and baby formula, on the other hand, provide your child with both fluid and nutrition.
How to Deal With a Poonami?
Just as there are five stages of grief, there are five stages of dealing with a Poonami. With the exception that in Poonami, we start with acceptance:
To begin, you must accept that some of this poo may end up in your hands or clothes. I wish you a strong stomach for when that happens. Use a changing mat or a towel you don’t mind throwing away or cleaning straight away.
To clean up this mess, you should first remove the baby’s clothes from his leg, if possible. This is to avoid having a poo face and hair.
Remember to remove the socks as well because those tiny legs will almost certainly reach their bum. That leaves you with an extra item to wash poop from.
Then, lay your baby on a towel or a disposable change mat and wait for about five minutes. Yes, wait, as the magician may have more tricks up his sleeve. Next, go in there with baby wipes after you’ve made sure there aren’t any more tricks.
Finally, bring your baby to the sink for a quick bath to remove any poo residues. Take one for yourself; you’ve earned it!
Always plan ahead of time, especially if you’re going out. Have a nappy bag at all times, and it should always include spare clothes for the baby and yourself.
Normally, if you notice your baby hasn’t pooped in a while, a poonami may be brewing.
Above all, keep a sense of humour about it. Don’t take it too seriously or get upset because it will probably happen again, so find the funny side of it.
In the End
Kids are meant to be messy, so learn to embrace it. I hope by learning about a Poonami and how common it is, you won’t freak out as much.
That’s unless you’re holding the baby and wearing your favorite pair of jeans; if that’s the case, freak out; I won’t judge!