Luckily, once baby gets her days and nights figured out the pooping at night slows down. And once baby eats less at night and sleeps for longer stretches the pooping drops down even more and usually goes away.
The same thing kind of happens once babies get into a nap routine. Their body gets used to when they sleep and they stop pooping during these times. The eat/wake/sleep cycle also helps because by the time baby is ready for a nap he has usually already done his poop.
But sometimes their little bodies don't get it.
My youngest Jacob was like this. His body has never been one to pick up on and keep to patterns very easily. What can I say, he likes a little variety. He was like this with sleep (which left me excited, then let down, then excited, repeat) and he was like this with poop. He liked to poop during naps and he liked to poop during the middle of the night--mainly during the early morning hours which meant it was hard to get him to go back to sleep. The naps improved all by themselves over time but with the night I ended up using wake to sleep to get him out of the habit. Right now he's 20 months old and he still occasionally poops at night time. What the what?! At least it isn't very often.
Here are some pointers if you've got a little overly excited pooper on your hands:
- Wait it out. If you have a newborn, it'll probably go away on its own. If you have an older child, still wait it out. More likely than not it'll pass before you know it. If not....
- Try good old wake to sleep like I did. I know. I mention wake to sleep a lot but it is such a nifty sleep tool.
- Evaluate your child's diet. Have you recently started to give solids or new foods? Time may fix things and possibly even more solids (though too much at once may make things worse). Maybe you can change around the timing of when you give solids or just change the type of food you give at certain times. If you are having night poop problems, high fiber early on in the day may help your child poop then and not later.
- Evaluate your diet if you are nursing. Some moms swear their babies poop shortly after eating or drinking certain things.
- Look at the timing. Maybe she is pooping right upon waking in the morning and not actually in the middle of the night.
- Are you potty training? Some kids will hold in their poop during the day then go during sleep times because they relax and/or because they are put in diapers/trainers.
- With a younger child doing the eat/wake sleep cycle can help avoid a poop during naps. With an older child, letting her run around for a few minutes before a nap, often in private, helps to get out the poop, if there is one, before the nap.
One extra thing. Whenever my kids have taken longer than usual to fall asleep and they are playing like nobody's business, it is often a poop. So make sure to check this out. You'll probably figure out exactly what your child does in this situation after some time.
Wait, I just thought of another thing. If you've got a child that likes to sneakily poop during sleep (as in they wake, poop, then drift off to dreamland again) then make sure you put some diaper ointment on their little bums. You don't want to wake up to some sore red bum cheeks in the morning. Ouch! While we're on the subject, I suggest lansinoh or aquaphor or really, anything that doesn't reek and stain everything white or brown or any other color.
And that's enough about poop!