Looking at your baby’s poop diaper is like viewing a weather report. What’s in the diaper will spell out what you can expect until the next diaper change. And yes, I know the time between weather reports can be very short but you should be thankful for each one so you can keep tabs on your baby’s progress.
At some point, a mother who exclusively breastfeeds her baby may begin worrying because their little one has not presented a report for days on end. No need to worry as this is considered normal in the bigger picture of “baby poop weather reports”.
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Your newborns first poop
Your newborn baby’s first poop will be dark green to blackish in color. This is a good sign as it indicates that your baby’s intestines are working as they should. This dark unsightly colour is from a substance called meconium that fills your baby’s intestines while still in your womb. Once this has been flushed out of your baby’s system the color will change, but mostly to different hues of mustard yellow.
What to expect from breastfed babies?
Breastfed babies will normally have a fairly consistent texture to their poop. The colour may vary depending on what’s in mom’s diet and gets transferred to her milk, and also if your baby is feeding well.
Over the first few days, your baby’s poop will be sticky, dark green to black in color, but will gradually change to lighter shades of green and the consistency will become less sticky and softer.
As mom’s breastmilk fills up her baby’s system the little one’s poop will change to soft and watery shades of mustard yellow, with a seedy texture and a sweet scent. The yellow colour may lighten or darken to a tan or light brown colour but it is still considered normal.
Your baby will normally poop after every feed for the first few weeks; about 5 to 12 times per day! So have a good supply of diapers on hand.
This rate will drop to 3 or 4 times a day, and by 6 weeks old your baby may poop even less, going a few days at a time without pooping. This is considered normal for as long as your baby is picking up weight and feeding well.
Only once your baby starts eating solids at about 6 months old will you see and smell a change. Your baby’s poop will darken in colour and become firmer, resembling adult poop. The smell will vary, depending on the food they eat. Don’t avoid foods your baby can eat just because it may end up as a smelly poop. Babies need a balanced diet.
Because breastmilk includes a laxative, it is highly unlikely that your exclusively breastfed, healthy baby will have problems with constipation. But this does not mean that your baby will never get constipated! Dehydration causes poop to get harder and may result in constipation.
Green poop warning signs in breastfed babies
- Iron supplements can cause green poop at times.
- It could also be caused by mom’s diet not agreeing with the little one’s system. Oftentimes it can be traced back to dairy products in mom’s diet.
- A common reason for green poop is that your baby is not drinking enough breastmilk. There could be poor milk flow, latching problems, or underlying problems that cause your baby not to feed enough.
- Babies should get the full spectrum of mom’s milk as the breastmilk your baby gets at the beginning is high in sugar and the end part contains necessary fats to balance your baby’s diet. If your baby feeds for short periods of time they may only be getting the sugar-rich foremilk that will cause green frothy poop. The fatty milk that baby gets towards the end of his or her feed will solve this problem.
Other breastfed baby poop issues
After the initial black poop start to your baby’s life you should not see black poop if your baby is healthy and developing normally. You may spot a blackish-red poop in your baby’s diaper that can mean a number of different things from the colour of food that your baby is eating to your baby swallowing blood from moms cracked nipple.
Any time you see or suspect there is blood in your baby’s poop it’s best to see your doctor as soon as possible because it could also be caused by internal injury or an illness.
What to expect from formula-fed babies?
Formula-fed babies go through the same process as breastfed babies except that their poop is normally tan to brown in colour and takes on a peanut butter consistency which is a bit firmer than breastfed babies. They can also go for several days without pooping.
Baby poop differs from baby to baby and each baby will have their own unique poop signature as far as colour, texture, smell and consistency is concerned. They will even have their own odd way of doing the deed. Some will clench their fists and go red in the face as they push, others may make funny noises while some will even cry from time to time.
Every mother will get to know what is normal for their baby and will soon realize when things turn pear-shaped.
Consistency and color
- Diarrhea can be caused by different things like teething which is a normal process your baby goes through. It could also be caused by an allergic reaction so it is always best to get advice from your doctor on the possible cause. If untreated it could lead to dehydration and other complications. Diarrhea is often a symptom of an infection and your baby may also have a fever, If there are signs besides diarrhea that your baby is not feeling well then it’s best to pay your doctor an urgent visit.
- Constipation can also be spurred on by dehydration and if you suspect that your baby wants to poop but can’t then it’s best to consult your doctor. There are suppositories for babies that will help clear the blockage in no time at all but only use what your doctor recommends or prescribes. Although blood in your baby’s poop is common with constipation, you should still mention this to your doctor if you notice it. Constipation becomes common when your baby begins eating solids and also when they begin drinking cows’ milk. This will come and go as they get used to their new diet.
- Pale poop is a sign of jaundice. If you have picked up the other tell-tale signs of jaundice then pale poop will confirm your suspicion. Monitor your baby’s poop and if it stays pale in color for longer than two weeks then pay your doctor another visit.
A serious warning when it comes to hydrating your newborn
As adults, we know dehydration is caused by a lack of liquids and we will tend to drink water to remedy the situation. For your infant this a definite no, no.
Do not give your baby pure water unless your doctor tells you it’s fine to do so. The reason is that pure water may upset your baby’s electrolyte balance and this can lead to serious health issues that may even be fatal.
By giving your baby water you put a lot of stress on their kidneys that may not be able to deal with the sudden and drastic change in electrolyte levels. A very small amount of water may not be too serious but you certainly don’t want to take the chance.
Rather feed your baby with breastmilk or formula and discuss the effects of water with your doctor.
Sticky green-black poop is normal for the first few days of your baby’s life but as soon as this is flushed you will see a more “normal” poop range with different colours, textures and consistency.
For the first few weeks, there will be a lot of poop diapers that will normally happen after a feed. This will balance out to about 3 or 4 poops per day and there may be times that your baby will not poop for a week or longer. This is all normal but you should still monitor your baby’s poop for any signs that may indicate underlying problems with feeding or their general health.
After your baby’s poop has normalized and is either soft mustard yellow for breastfed babies or shades of brown with a peanut butter consistency for formula fed babies you should be cautious of green and black poop. Look for signs of blood in your baby’s poop as well. When you notice these colour changes it is best to chat to your doctor about what could be causing the change.
Always take diarrhoea and constipation seriously and note other symptoms your baby might have that suggests an underlying health issue. Share this information with your doctor.
Enjoy reading your baby’s poop weather reports!