Baby Poop: Whats Normal And Whats Not
Everyone poops, but your babys poop is particularly fascinatingespecially in the first few months of life. You havent changed enough diapers, if you havent gasped or said, Woah! at least once while opening up your babys diaper. The range of colors, consistency, size and smells, its no wonder it becomes a common topic of discussion between parents and with a childs primary care provider.
Theres good reason to care a lot about your babys poop though. Thats because your babys poop can tell you a lot about their health and development.
Its important to keep track of the number of poops and color during the first few days and weeks of life as that helps your pediatrician understand how your baby is eating and growing, said Helene Felman, MD, a pediatrician with Diamond Childrens Multispecialty Services Clinic in Tucson, AZ. If a baby is pooping regularly, we know they are eating regularly, and growing normally.
While every diaper change may uncover a new surprise, you may wonder what is normal and whats not in the baby poop department. Dr. Feldman helped breakdown what to expect.
How Much Poop Is Normal
“A lot,” says Kenneth Wible, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri and pediatrics medical director at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo.
“It depends somewhat on diet,” Wible says. “Babies who are breastfed generally have more and thinner stools than babies who are formula fed. But five to six stools per day is pretty normal.”
While it’s a good idea to expect a lot of poop in the early stages of a baby’s life, the frequency of bowel movements among children varies widely, notes Barry Steinmetz, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach in Long Beach, Calif.
“Some kids will go up to seven or eight times a day,” he says. Other infants may go every other day.
Many parents become concerned when an infant’s bowel movements suddenly drop in frequency. But particularly for breastfed babies, this is a common occurrence as a mother’s milk becomes more mature.
“The mother’s milk is so well balanced and the baby’s digestive processes are so good, there’s not a lot of residue,” Wible says.
The key, Steinmetz says, is that the stool is soft and the child is eating well and gaining weight.
Let’s Face Facts There Are A Lot Of Questions About Baby Poop
Youre in for a surprise when it comes to the colour, texture and smell of baby poop! Become an expert in one of the most talked about subjects for new parents on whats normal and what isnt.
Poop. Something you hardly thought about and certainly didnt talk about before becoming a parent. And now its not only a hot topic of conversation but wondering whether the colour, texture, smell or frequency is normal is starting to drive you a little crazy!
Baby poop comes in all sorts of shades and forms and can keep even the most experienced parent guessing. Let us help demystify that nappy for you.
Babys First Poop
Among the most unusual baby poop is babys first poop. This is because it is made up of something called meconium, which is made up of everything mom ingested while baby was in the womb. This poop is a dark greeny-black and very, very sticky which can make it quite difficult to wipe away. Yes, it does look and feel like something they tarmac the roads with, this is normal and will likely last for a few days at least.
Baby Poop when Breastfeeding
After the meconium has passed your babys poop will start to change to a lighter greeny-black and then on to a yellow. It is often quite bright. The texture will change too, from sticky to grainy, even loose. It should be soft and easy to pass. The biggest surprise for new parents is often the smell as it is far sweeter than you might anticipate – a breastfeeding bonus!
Baby Poop when Bottle Feeding
Jet propelled Poop
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Why Is My Baby’s Poo Green
Parents sometimes find varying shades of green in their babys nappy.
Breast-fed babies can produce bright, frothy green poo, usually because they are getting too much foremilk or because mum is swapping from breast to breast during feeds. Try feeding from just one breast at a time until the breast is drained to make sure your baby is also getting the rich hindmilk.
If your formula-fed babys poo is green, it could just mean they are getting a lot of iron in their feed. Check the formula to see if it contains an iron supplement and speak to your child health nurse or doctor about possibly adjusting which formula you use.
What Causes Changes To Stool
You may notice changes to your infants stool anytime theres a change to their diet, such as when they start eating solid foods. If your baby switches from breast milk to formula or vice versa, youll also notice a difference in the color and texture of their stool.
Formula-fed infants typically have a more solid stool and it may be more yellow-green or tan in color.
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What The Colors Of Baby Poop May Mean
You might be surprised by a change in the color of your babyâs poop, which can range from the mustardy hues of breast-milk poop and the yellow-tan of formula-fed baby poop to various other shades of yellow, brown, and even green. You might also find mucus in baby poop, which can create a translucent or milky coloring.
Green poop can be alarming the first time you see it, but itâs usually harmless. All sorts of things can cause it, from certain medicines to green foods eaten by your baby directly or passed on through your breast milk. Sometimes, what you see is simply a product of your little oneâs normal digestion.
Generally, all the earth tones are OK, but if you ever need reassurance about the color of your babyâs poop, donât be shy about reaching out to your babyâs healthcare provider for advice.
Can Your Baby Make Too Much Poop
The amount of poop your baby makes each time can vary. As long as their weight gain is on track, and the stools are soft, all is probably fine.
If your babyâs poop seems watery or is filled with mucus, and they are pooping much more frequently than usual or has other symptoms, like a high temperature , this could be diarrhea.
See your babyâs healthcare provider if you think your little one might have diarrhea, especially if theyâre under 3 months.
Itâs worth knowing that newborns and younger babies are more likely to produce lots of little poops one after the other. If you notice that your baby has just had a bowel movement, you might be able to save yourself an extra diaper change by waiting just a little longer in case thereâs more to come.
Each one of those diaper changes could be earning you Pampers Cash that you can use toward gifts, coupons, and discounts. Download the Pampers Club app to get started right now!
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If Youre Formula Feeding
If your little one is getting all or most of their daily nutrition through formula feeding, after the first few days they may start filling their diaper at least once a day, but itâs not out of the ordinary for them to sometimes go a day or two without a bowel movement. This is OK, provided their stools are soft when they do materialize.
If youâre ever concerned about how many poops your little one is passing, consult your babyâs healthcare provider.
Undigested Food In Stool
Seeing undigested food and pills in your stool on occasion typically isn’t anything to worry about. Certain plant foods, such as corn and grape skins, are often recognizable in stool. That’s because the human body lacks the enzymes needed to digest certain parts of plant cell walls.
Eating more slowly and chewing each bite thoroughly can help. If you see undigested food in your stool regularly and you also have other changes in your bowel habits, like diarrhea or stomach cramps, it’s a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider.
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How To Help Baby Poop
Before having a baby, you probably never imagined youd wish for a dirty diaper. But a poop can provide sweet relief for an uncomfortable baby and a worried parent. There are a few common reasons why baby is not pooping: Dehydration, eating starchy foods like bananas, a time shift due to traveling or occasionally an allergy or intolerance. In older babies, especially those on the cusp of potty training, withholding poop can be psychologicalthey may be afraid of the potty or upset over an external issue, like a caregiver change or thrown-off schedule.
Luckily, many at-home remedies to help baby poop are simple, effective and recommended by pediatriciansbut its best to use them only occasionally. I warn parents not to become dependent on a trick to make a baby poop, Swanson says. If its a persistent problem, its something I like to see in the office.
Here are some ideas on how to get a newborn to poop, as well as what to do when an older baby is not pooping .
Bicycle legs. Peddling an infants legs to and from their chest, as if theyre riding a bicycle, can be a gentle way to stimulate your childs digestive system, Swanson says. Older babies generally dont need this trick, since crawling, climbing and pulling up to stand help keep things moving.
Warm bath. The warmth and stimulation of the water can relax muscles and help baby poop.
Veggies. The high-fiber content in vegetables makes them all-stars when it comes to dealing with constipation.
How Often Should A Formula
Formula-fed babies tend to have poop thats a bit darker and firmer than breastfed baby poop. Their poop may be the consistency of hummus and color can range from yellow to greenish-brown or tan. Formula-fed babies will likely poop at least once a day if they dont poop for two or more days, it could signal constipation. Equally important is the consistency of babys poop. Log or pellet-like shapes could indicate constipation, Swanson says. Its important to address this with your pediatrician, since constipation could mean an allergy or be a sign that its time to try another brand of baby formula.
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Why Color Matters When It Comes To Your Babys Poop
While colors like green, dark brown or yellow poops are peculiar, there are really only three colors Dr. Feldman said you should worry about: black, white and red.
Green, orange, yellow, brown and everything in between are typical for babies, Dr. Felman said. Brown and orange are more typical for formula-fed babies, but can occur in breastfed babies as well. The colors of stool for a breastfed baby can also change based on their mothers diet. But if you see red, black or white stools, call your babys doctor right away.
- Black poops: It could indicate older blood in stool.
- White poops: It could be a sign your babys liver isnt working as it should.
- Red poops: Many times, it could indicate bleeding. It may appear stringy or mucous-like and could be a result of a milk allergy or anal fissures.
If you see any of these three colors, snap a few photos to show the doctor and hold onto the diaper in case the doctor wants to test the stool, Dr. Felman said.
For a quick cheat sheet, check out our Baby Poop Guide below:
How Often Should Babies Poop
Its OK if your baby doesnt pass stool every day. This does not necessarily mean theres a concern. A newborn can have few bowel movements early on.
If youre breastfeeding or chestfeeding, your baby may poop only once per week when they get to the 3- to 6-week mark. If your baby is formula-fed, then you should see bowel movements occurring around once per day. Anything less than this could indicate constipation, though some formula-fed babies dont poop every day, either.
Your baby will likely have a daily bowel movement once theyre on solids. Pooping more than once after each feeding at any stage could indicate diarrhea.
Know that changes in color and even consistency are expected during your babys first year of life. But its also important to monitor these changes in case you need to call your childs pediatrician.
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During The First Few Days Of Life Watch For A Tar
The stool that babies pass during their first few days of life is unique. Its black, thick, gooey and mucus-y. Doctors often describe this poop, called meconium, as tar-like others describe it as looking like motor oil. Since the baby hasnt been eating foods yet, it doesnt look like a normal stool that we think of, said Dr. Lockwood. But its the digestive tract cleaning out.
What exactly, then, is it cleaning out? Cells, amniotic fluid and other material the baby has swallowed in the womb as well as mucus that the babys bowels are producing. It also contains bile produced by her liver, which is largely where the black hue comes from.
Newborns typically start excreting meconium within the first 24 hours of life your infant may even pass it during delivery. Dr. Lockwood said that while some babies may just have one bowel movement per day, others will have small amounts throughout the day at this stage. Meconium can last for a few days and will become more of a black-ish green as it transitions to a more typical baby poop.
Baby Poop Color Guide
- Green Baby Poop – Green baby poop does not mean anything bad. Typically babies have green poop if they are given iron supplements, or at 4 to 6 months when they are introduced to solid green foods such as pureed peas and spinach.
- Orange, Yellow and Brown Baby Poop – Orange, yellow and brown baby poop is common in breastfed and bottle fed babies.
- Black Blood in Baby Poop – If your babys poop has specks of black blood in it, then it means your baby has digested blood while breastfeeding. This is not a cause for alarm, however, you may want to check with your doctor to make sure the blood is not a symptom of something more serious.
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When To Contact A Doctor
As a baby grows, their poop often changes color. For example, as an infant starts to eat solid foods, what they eat may affect the color of their poop. Undigested food in stool can also cause a change in color.
Unusual colors, such as green, may not signal a health issue. Stool color may vary for a short time and then return to its regular shade.
White, red, or black are the exceptions these colors can indicate a health problem.
Also, if a lot of mucus is present or it appears in stool on an ongoing basis, this could signal an illness.
Parents or caregivers should contact a doctor if they have any
How To Tell If Your Baby Has Pooped
Your babyâs poop may not always smell much, especially in the first few weeks, so how can you tell when a diaper change is needed?
One tell-tale sign is straining: Passing a stool is hard work for small babies. You might notice your little one getting red in the face with the effort of pushing out that poop.
Youâll soon get to know your babyâs facial expression when theyâre having a bowel movement, orâwhen theyâre old enough to stand and walkâthe squatting pose that they adopt when they need to go.
Use our handy Diaper Size and Weight Chart to make sure your baby’s diapers always fit properly.
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What Should Baby Poop Look Like Anyway
A range of colors, textures, frequencies and volumes are considered normal. But there are some things to watch out for.
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Baby poop is a source of great mystery and often, concern for many parents. Sometimes its green and mushy other times its yellow and seedy. What does it all mean? Baby poop is not like adult poop, said Dr. Katie Lockwood,M.D.,an attending physician at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. So there are lots of questions about it.
Thankfully, unraveling the meaning behind all those bizarre colors, textures and sizes is pretty straightforward. And most of the time, everything you see is perfectly normal .
For this guide, I spoke with three experts about what to expect from your babys stool from birth until she starts eating solids including whats normal, whats not and when to call the doctor.
Seedy Yellow Baby Poop
Sometime around the third or fourth day of your newborns life, after all the meconium passes, youll start to see whats known as transitional stools. This is a sign that baby’s starting to digest breast milk or formula and transitioning to normal baby poop. These stools are lighter in color greenish-yellow or brown and loose and grainy in texture.
In breastfed babies, poop will often look mustard-like. The color is usually yellow, green or light brown in color. The consistency will be loose, even watery, and sometimes seedy, mushy, curdy, creamy, pasty or lumpy. It smells sweet not your usual bowel-movement odor.
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