I can't believe I failed to address the whole BM (bowel movement) issue in my post on the care and cleaning of cloth diapers last night. It's probably because I was writing at midnight and well on my way to getting sick.
So what DO you do when your kiddo poops in a cloth diaper? You don't just throw that into your washing machine, do you? Gross! The answer is, it depends on your baby's age and eating habits.
If it's meconium that's in the diaper (that's baby's 1st poop - warning on that link: there's a picture!), this should be rinsed out before the diaper is tossed into the diaper pail. You can rinse one of two ways. (1) Swish it in the toilet, wring it out and flush the contents down. Then wash your hands WELL. The second option (2) is to buy and install a diaper sprayer onto your toilet and use this to rinse the diaper before wringing it out and depositing it into the diaper laundry. Again, wash your hands WELL.
Neither of these options sound super appealing, but it's really not as bad as it sounds.
Once meconium passes, your little one's poop will become much lighter in color and will resemble batter in consistency. This "breast milk poop" is completely water soluble and it washes right out in the pre-wash. No rinsing needed. Just toss that dirty diaper right into the laundry as is.
When your baby starts to eat solid foods, the BMs will become more solid and will resemble the consistency of playdough. At this point, dumping the BM right into the toilet will be easy and will usually require no rinsing at all. Just dump and toss the diaper into the laundry.
For the intermittent times when you sweet one is sick or teething or whatever the case may be and the BMs are less than easy to dump, I recommend using disposable diaper liners. They're around $6 or $7 for 100. They are flushable and biodegradable and make dumping easy. These liners go inside the cloth diaper, right against baby's bum. Essentially, they catch the mess, letting wet go through and absorb into the cloth diaper and make the mess easy to dump into the toilet. I discovered these liners just this week and they've made diaper changes SO much easier!
There you go. More than you ever wanted to know - and probably more - about poopy cloth diapers.
**Picture of diaper sprayer graciously provided by babycottonbottoms.com (my favorite cloth diaper store).