Among new parents the baby poo is a hot topic. Though you may speed through diaper changes with eyes and nose averted, even working at top speed, it’s hard not to notice how much baby poo varies with each diaper you change.
Babies’ developing digestive systems are very sensitive. This means that any changes to your baby’s diet affect baby poo. If baby’s breastfeeding and you start using breast milk substitutes, expect to see changes. When baby starts eating first foods, you’ll notice major changes in baby’s poo too.
All babies have the same very first poo, a black, tar-like substance called the meconium. After this passes out of your new baby’s system, here’s what to expect:
Mustard colored or yellow-green poo containing small, white granules is normal for breastfed babies. As breast milk changes, babies may have dark green or even greenish black poo temporarily. Changes to Mom’s diet can affect baby’s poo, too.
Breastfed babies’ poo is normally runny, and baby will likely poop after every feeding. What seems like symptoms of diarrhea are actually very normal while your baby is breastfeeding.
Formula Fed Babies:
Formula fed baby’s poo is usually yellow-green or tan in color. The Iron in fortified formulas can turn poo green or greenish black.
Formula fed babies may have firmer poo than breastfed babies, but it should still be very soft (about the consistency of peanut butter). Although breastfed babies go more often than formula fed babies, all babies poo a lot, especially in the first month.
Starting on Solid Food:
Once your baby starts taking solid foods, you’ll notice baby’s poo changes dramatically: it will be firmer, darker and a lot stinkier, too.
What goes in, comes out looking very similar. If you feed strained carrots, baby’s poo turns orange. Textured foods or foods that are high in fiber (such as peas or raisins) may pass right through into baby’s diaper in tact. This is normal as your baby’s digestive tract develops and adjusts to new foods.
What’s NOT Normal?
Although baby poo varies a lot, sometimes what’s in baby’s diaper can be cause for concern and a call to your baby’s healthcare practitioner:
- Chalky white poo can indicate a lack of bile to aid in digestion.
- Bright red in baby’s poo may indicate bleeding near or around the anus, or a dairy allergy.
- Frothy green poo that lasts more than 24 hours could indicate a stomach bug, insufficient lactose intake, or another digestive problem.
- Hard, dry, pellet-like stools your baby has trouble passing signal constipation.
- Baby poo that’s looser than normal isn’t cause for concern, but a sudden change to very watery stools indicates diarrhea.
- Colic might not be evident in your baby’s diaper, but you’ll notice signs of discomfort that may interfere with your baby’s ability to feed as well as poop normally. Read more about colic here.
Changing diapers might not be the most cherished highlight of parenthood, but when you understand the mysteries of baby poo, at least you’ll be prepared for any surprises on the changing table. Need a visual guide? Check out this link.