Baby Poop: What’s Normal & What’s Not
- Video: Baby Poop – What’s Normal & What’s Not?
- How Frequently Do Babies Pass Stool?
- Things You Should Know About Baby Stool
- What Will Your Baby’s Stool Be Like If You Are Breastfeeding?
- What Will Your Baby’s Stool Be Like If You Are Formula Feeding?
- Changes in Baby Stool When Switching From Breastfeeding to Bottle Feeding
- Baby Stool After Introducing Solids
- What Kind of Baby Stool Is Not Normal?
If you are a new parent, you will agree that one of the least exciting parts of being new parents is changing diapers! Nevertheless, it is an inevitable part of having a baby.
As is normal with all new parents, from the time you come across baby’s first stool, you may be wondering what is normal and what isn’t. Let us explore this subject in greater detail to analyse when you should be concerned about what passes out of your baby.
Video: Baby Poop – What’s Normal & What’s Not?
How Frequently Do Babies Pass Stool?
Babies pass stool in different frequencies after being born. Here’s a table that will help you understand the number of times your newborn would pass stool each day.
|Age of Baby
|Minimum Number of Bowel Movements aLL the numbers mentioned here are highly variable.
|Texture and Colour of Baby Stool
|1 day old
|Black and tarry in nature.
|2 days old
|Black and tarry in nature.
|3 days old
|Greenish in colour, transitional.
|4 days old
|Yellow or green in Colour.
|5 days old
|Loose in nature, yellowish in colour.
|6 days old
|Loose in nature, yellowish in colour.
|More than six weeks old
|May range from 1 every 7-10 days to 3-5 per day or even more
|Loose in nature, yellowish in colour
Many factors affect the frequency of baby stool, such as his age and his diet. Babies who are exclusively breastfed tend to have more bowel movements than those who are bottle-fed. The baby’s stool depends on the consistency and contents of what is going into his system.
While very young, babies pass stool after every feed, which is about six to ten times a day. However, after the baby is a month old, the frequency usually decreases. Your baby may pass as many as four stools a day, or not pass any stool for several days at a stretch. The same applies to bottle-fed and breastfed babies.
Things You Should Know About Baby Stool
As mentioned earlier, everything from the colour of the baby’s stool to its consistency and frequency of passage will depend on the diet, age and other factors pertaining to the baby. With different consistencies and colours, it is only normal for new parents to worry if everything is fine with their baby’s bowel movements. As long as it doesn’t deviate from the following conditions, you can consider your baby’s stool as normal. Read on to know more.
1. Consistency of Baby Stool
The first stool passed by your baby will be green, tar-like and sticky. This is called meconium. Once the baby starts digesting breast milk or formula, you will observe the transition from this sticky liquid to a lighter-coloured less sticky consistency. A mushy or creamy consistency of stool is considered to be normal once your baby is past the newborn stage. It is normal if the stool is slightly runny as well, especially if he is breastfed. It may also vary in colour, depending on what the mother has consumed. As your baby transitions to solids, it is usual to find the stool to vary according to the food he consumed. There may also be undigested food bits in it, which is also normal.
2. The Odour of Baby Stool
In breastfed babies, the odour of the poop will depend on what the mother has consumed. When you consume foods with strong odours, your baby’s stool will also have a similar smell.
3. Timing of Baby Stool
In the initial days, you cannot really determine a pattern for when your baby will pass stool. It will be an ongoing factor. However, as the baby’s digestive system develops, his body sets into a pattern. The regularity and frequency of poop will be more predictable. Some babies pass stool soon after a feed, while others have specific times of the day to empty their bowels. Over time, you can track this frequency and prepare yourself to expect it on time.
Now, let’s take a look at some questions that might cross your mind, especially if you are a new parent.
What Will Your Baby’s Stool Be Like If You Are Breastfeeding?
Breastfed babies usually pass soft stool that varies between green and yellow hues in general. The colour will vary depending on the mother’s food habits. The baby’s stool is semisolid since breast milk has large quantities of fluid in it.
You may sometimes observe frothy stool when your baby is being breastfed. This means that your baby has a milk or lactose intolerance. A frothy stool can also lead to severe diaper rashes and you must visit a paediatrician in case your little one is lactose intolerant.
Although it is recommended that babies be fed breast milk until they are weaned out, sometimes, it is not possible to stick to breast milk only. If your baby has been on formula, here’s what you should expect.
What Will Your Baby’s Stool Be Like If You Are Formula Feeding?
Formula-fed babies have harder consistencies of stool when compared to breastfed babies. Their stools are stickier and are more brown/ tan than the usual green or yellow colour seen in babies on breast milk. It has a stronger pungent odour as well.
Changes in Baby Stool When Switching From Breastfeeding to Bottle Feeding
If you transition your baby from breast milk to bottle, expect significant changes in the frequency, appearance, texture and odour of his stool. The colour will become darker and more intense, and it also smells stronger.
Baby Stool After Introducing Solids
Once your baby starts solids, there will be drastic changes in his bowel movements. With more variety of food being introduced into his diet, the type of stool he passes will also change.
Babies on solid food usually pass thicker and dark-coloured stool than those fed on breast milk or formula feed. The consistency resembles peanut butter. The colour may vary depending on the actual food that is being eaten. So, don’t be surprised if you find the stool to be stained red when your baby has beets or green if you fed him spinach.
Since your baby’s digestive system is still developing, it is also possible that there will be bits of undigested food in his stool. Partially digested food that is occasionally present in your baby’s stool is normal. However, you should consult a doctor if this is a regular occurrence, and there are significant quantities of undigested food in his stool.
What Kind of Baby Stool Is Not Normal?
With the introduction of new foods and babies undergoing significant growth spurts in short periods, it is rather difficult for parents to recognise if their baby’s stools are normal. The good news is that more often than not, baby stools that are different from normal do not present any cause for concern. Except when you find something unusual like baby poop with mucus or blood in the stool, most other conditions are normal or resolve on their own. Let us look at the likely changes that may occur and what you can do about it.
Hard stool in babies isn’t unusual for the first six months. Your baby’s stool may resemble hard rocks, and he may find it very uncomfortable or painful when passing it. When this is the case, it is likely that your baby is constipated. Constipation is normal if it is a one-off incident. However, if this is a continuing concern and your baby is continuously constipated, and cries while passing stool it should be investigated further. It could be caused by sensitivity to something in the baby’s diet and may require treatment. Consult a paediatrician if you need more guidance on dealing with constipation in babies.
Babies who feed on breast milk have runny stools, and this isn’t concerning. However, if the stool is so runny that it cannot be contained in a diaper, your child may have an infection or an allergy. This type of diarrhoea is dangerous, as it can cause your dehydration in your baby and lead to loss of valuable nutrients. If loose stools continue several times a day and for more than a day, visit the doctor. You should also not delay medical treatments if there is blood in the stool when your baby is suffering from diarrhoea.
3. Green-Coloured Baby Stool
Your baby will usually pass green-coloured stool if you’ve eaten something green and are breastfeeding him, or if his meals contain something green-coloured (when he is on solids). However, if you see bright green poop, it means that your baby’s experiencing short intestinal transit time.
4. Black-Coloured Baby Stool
Black stools are normal if your baby is on an iron supplement. If you aren’t giving your baby an iron supplement, this could be concerning as it could denote digested blood. It could be something as simple as your baby swallowing blood off your cracked nipples, or something more serious like an upper intestinal tract infection.
5. Blood in Baby Stool
The presence of blood in your baby’s stool can be a one-time occurrence or may even happen due to infections in the digestive tract or due to milk allergies. In some cases, the discolouration could be the result of something your child ate, like beets or tomato juice. A bloody stool can also have dark or bright coloured traces of blood. The colour of the blood can indicate the type of issue. Therefore, any time you see blood in your baby’s stool, get it checked immediately.
6. Very Pale Baby Stool
Pale stools indicate improper operation of the liver since it is the bile pigment that colours the stool. If your child’s stool is continuously very pale in colour, it is wise to seek medical opinion.
Chalky, white stools are also considered abnormal and require immediate medical care. They are usually associated with a liver or gall bladder problem and must be addressed promptly to prevent a medical emergency. If you see this, do not delay visiting the paediatrician.
So, now you know what kind of baby stool is normal and what is not. The colour, texture, odour, consistency, and frequency of the baby stool is dependent on what is fed to him. Either way, keep a close watch on your baby’s bowels movements and seek medical attention if you observe abnormalities.