In the last few months of pregnancy, you’re probably looking forward to meeting your newborn and getting excited about all the fun things that you’ll get to do together. Changing diapers probably isn’t one of them! Yet, dirty diapers are going to be a fact of life for the next couple of years, and you’re going to need to know what to expect from your baby’s poop.
You may not realize it yet, but your newborn’s poop will tell you a lot about their health and well-being. Loose or firm, brown or yellow, odorless or stinky, your baby’s stools will give you a wealth of information. Are you ready to find out more about your little one’s bowel habits? Then read on and discover this newborn baby poop guide for new parents!
- What will my Newborn’s First Poop Look Like?
- When will my Newborn Baby’s Poop Look Normal?
- What Does Normal Newborn Baby Poop Look Like?
- Does my Newborn Baby Poop Enough?
- How do I Know if my Baby is Pooping?
- What Does the Color of my Baby’s Poop Mean?
- Why Does my Baby’s Poop Have Blood in It?
- Melena – What is It?
- What do I do if my Baby Isn’t Pooping?
- What Should I Know About Constipation and Babies?
- Easing Constipation in Babies
- My Baby has Diarrhea, What Should I Do?
- Should I Take my Baby to the Doctor?
What will my Newborn’s First Poop Look Like?
The very first poop that your newborn produces will look very different from those they produce later on. If you’ve just changed your baby’s first dirty diaper and noticed that the contents were greenish-black, sticky and tar-like, don’t worry, there’s no cause for concern.
This is meconium and it’s completely normal. This substance fills up your little one’s intestines while they’re inside the uterus. While it looks disgusting and nothing like what you’d expect your baby to produce from their body, in fact seeing this when you change that first diaper is a good sign that your baby’s bowels are working properly.
When will my Newborn Baby’s Poop Look Normal?
Meconium looks nothing like regular poop, but over the next couple of days, you’ll begin to notice your baby’s stools changing texture and color. These are transitional stools. They will be a dark greenish-yellow color and will be loosely formed. Sometimes, they may even have a seedy texture. This is especially common in breastfed babies.
It may also contain mucus, and in some cases, you may spot traces of blood. Usually, this isn’t anything to worry about. The blood is typically due to your baby having swallowed some blood during delivery. You should still save diapers that contain blood so you can show them to a doctor or nurse, though, just in case it’s a sign of something else.
Transitional stools will continue for three to four days. After that, the way you decide to feed your little one will determine the consistency and color of their poop. Bear in mind, though, that it can change between bowel movements and from day to day. While this may be confusing, remember that your own poop doesn’t look identical every single day!
What Does Normal Newborn Baby Poop Look Like?
When it comes to normal newborn baby poop, the appearance will depend on if you choose to formula feed or breastfeed. Breastfed babies have bowel movements that are usually a mustard-like consistency and color. They will often be loose and sometimes even watery. You may also notice that sometimes they are curdy, mushy or seedy.
On the other hand, formula-fed babies tend to have soft stools that are more formed than those of breastfed babies. In color, they could be anything from yellowish-brown to pale yellow, or from brownish-green to light brown.
Does my Newborn Baby Poop Enough?
Two common questions asked by new parents everywhere are “does my newborn baby poop enough?” and “is my newborn pooping too much?” It’s something that many new moms and dads get hung up on. There can be some variation in how frequently babies poop depending on whether they’re breastfed or formula-fed.
In the early days, a breastfed baby will usually produce one dirty diaper for each day of their life. So, when your baby is one day old, he’ll poop once, then twice on the second day. Don’t panic though – when your baby is two weeks old, you won’t have to worry about changing 14 dirty diapers a day!
This pattern usually stops at around five days. After the fifth day of life, the average breastfed baby will produce around 5 dirty diapers each day, but you shouldn’t worry too much if your baby produces more or less than this. Anywhere from a single poopy diaper every couple of days up to several per day can be considered to be normal.
By six weeks of age, you may notice that your breastfed baby’s pattern of pooping may begin changing. You may start to notice your baby skips a couple of days between bowel movements. However, this isn’t guaranteed. Some babies carry on pooping multiple times each day throughout their entire first year. Others go for a few days between poops. After six weeks, you don’t need to carry on counting how often your baby poops so long as they’re gaining weight and seem happy and healthy. The number will probably vary between days, and that’s completely normal too.
If your baby is formula-fed, you can typically expect them to poop around 3 to 4 times each day. But, some will go for 3 to 4 days without pooping at all. Again, so long as your baby’s bowel movements are easy to pass and soft, there’s no cause for concern. You should only call your doctor if your baby doesn’t produce a bowel movement for over 5 days.
How do I Know if my Baby is Pooping?
You will probably soon be able to tell if your baby is pooping. Many babies grimace, strain, groan and grunt when pooping. This happens even if they are passing a soft stool, since their bottom isn’t coordinated or strong enough to allow easy elimination.
What Does the Color of my Baby’s Poop Mean?
The odor, texture, and color of your newborn’s poop will often change. Since your little one’s diaper contents can be a clue as to any possible health issues you should pay attention to these things and call your doctor if you notice anything that seems to be unusual.
Why Does my Baby’s Poop Have Blood in It?
As we’ve already mentioned, newborn babies sometimes have a little blood in their stool in the early days of life due to having swallowed some blood during delivery. However, if blood appears in your baby’s poop after those early days, it could be due to something else.
If you are breastfeeding your little one, blood in his stool may show that they are allergic or sensitive to something that you’ve been eating or drinking. Your doctor might suggest that you eliminate foods containing common allergens that could be potentially be causing the problem, such as soy, dairy, wheat, peanuts or nuts for a couple of weeks to see if there’s any difference and to pinpoint and cause.
If you’re formula-feeding your baby, blood in his stool might suggest he’s allergic to the formula, however, this isn’t as common as many people think. Still, you should discuss the possibility of switching formulas with your doctor.
In some cases, no link between allergic symptoms and foods can be found. In such cases, it’s possible that your little one has small fissures or cracks in their anus that has caused bleeding to occur. If you’re breastfeeding, another possibility is that your baby has swallowed some blood if you have cracked nipples and it came out in their stool. Your pediatrician can monitor the situation, and this should pinpoint the cause eventually.
Melena – What is It?
You may never have heard of the term “melena” but it is used to describe tarry, black or thick stools in a baby aged three months or older. It can indicate that bleeding is occurring in your baby’s digestive tract and this could be dangerous for your little one. It isn’t the same as the early meconium stools, and you should consult your pediatrician straight away if you notice this in your baby’s diaper.
What do I do if my Baby Isn’t Pooping?
It’s quite rare to see constipation in a breastfed baby, but if your little one produces less than one poop per day in their early weeks of life, it may mean your baby isn’t eating enough. At a later stage, between 6 weeks and 3 months, your baby may start to poop less and may only have a bowel movement once every 2 or 3 days. If your baby doesn’t poop for over 3 consecutive days, you should call the doctor just to put your mind at rest.
Typically, babies who are formula-fed go longer between poops. If your formula-fed baby hasn’t pooped for over 5 consecutive days, call your doctor since it could indicate that your little one is suffering from constipation.
What Should I Know About Constipation and Babies?
Even babies who are eating healthily can suffer from constipation however, you needn’t worry too much since it can easily be treated.
There are several reasons why your baby may be constipated. If you have a breastfed baby who hasn’t pooped, it may simply be because breast milk is highly digestible and therefore they’ll naturally pass fewer stools. You will probably find that your baby decides to produce an enormous poop at the worst possible moment!
On the other hand, if your formula-fed baby hasn’t pooped for more than 24 hours but has no other obvious symptoms, it could be due to having switched from breast milk to formula or because you’ve introduced solid foods into their diet.
If your baby, regardless of the method of feeding, hasn’t pooped for more than 24 hours and is showing other symptoms such as having a distended stomach, appearing to be dehydrated or projectile vomiting, you should call your doctor straight away.
Easing Constipation in Babies
There are a few things you can try to ease constipation in your baby. Moving your baby’s legs as they lie on their back with cycling movements can help to stimulate the bowels. Putting your baby in a warm bath may help to relax their stomach muscles to help them not strain. It also relieves some discomfort that relates to constipation.
If you’re breastfeeding, you could try eliminating some foods, like dairy products, from your diet. This may help to relieve constipation too, although dietary changes don’t always help. If you’re formula feeding, it may help to try another type of formula, although you should switch to dairy-free formulas without talking to your doctor first.
If your baby is constipated, you may find that giving them a little extra liquid on top of their formula or breast milk may help. If your baby is over two months, your pediatrician may recommend adding a little water or even diluted fruit juice into his diet if he is constipated. It’s best to take medical advice on this, though, so refrain from attempting these strategies until you’ve discussed them with a doctor.
Massaging your baby’s stomach may also help to relieve constipation. You can use your fingertip in a clockwise movement to make circular motions on his stomach or walk your fingers around his belly button in a clockwise movement. Holding your baby’s feet and knees together then pushing upwards towards their belly can also help, as can stroking down from the rib bags past the naval with your finger edge.
Another tried and tested solution for baby constipation is to take their temperature rectally with a lubricated, clean thermometer. Don’t use that method frequently, since it may worsen constipation, but as a one-off to relieve a distressed baby it could be helpful.
My Baby has Diarrhea, What Should I Do?
If your baby’s stools are greenish, watery and more frequent than usual, this is possibly a sign of diarrhea. Diarrhea isn’t just messy, it can also make your baby dehydrated. Also, pooping very frequently can make him uncomfortable and may result in diaper rash. There are several possible reasons why your baby is suffering from diarrhea.
Changes in your diet if you’re breastfeeding your little one could be the reason, especially if you’ve started eating more fiber recently. If you’re using antibiotics, this could also cause a breastfed baby to suffer from diarrhea. Although most doctors don’t officially acknowledge that teething can cause diarrhea, many parents report this side-effect.
If your little one is suffering from diarrhea and has other symptoms such as vomiting, diaper rash, crankiness, fever and signs of dehydration such as sunken eyes and increased thirst he could be suffering from an infection such as rotavirus. Babies suffering from vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches and stomach cramps as well as diarrhea should be seen by a doctor quickly. If your child is also suffering from hives, itching, swelling, rashes or vomiting as well as diarrhea, this could be a sign of a food allergy or intolerance. Again, you should see your pediatrician for advice if any of these symptoms occur.
Should I Take my Baby to the Doctor?
Although many new parents worry about the contents of their newborn’s diaper, very often there is no cause for concern. Remember that poop varies dramatically between individuals, even when they are adults, and the odd bout of diarrhea or constipation is rarely anything serious. However, as with everything, if you’re worried about your little one’s health and well-being, you should always consult with your pediatrician just to put your mind at rest.