What the colour of poo can tell us.
New parents are in for a surprise when it comes to the colour, texture and smell of baby poop! Even experienced parents may not have seen them all! After all, baby poop comes in all sorts of colours, textures and smells. Our guide helps you determine what is normal and what isn’t. Who would ever have thought you are about to do research on poop.
One of the first questions many parents ask is “how often should my baby poop?” You may be asking this because you are amazed at the frequency – or lack thereof – of baby bowel movements. The simple fact is some babies poop several times a day, at or around every feed, while some babies can go several days without pooping once. Both are normal – it depends on the baby.
Newborn babies tend to go more often than older babies, averaging about 12 changes in a 24 hour period. This is why we offer unlimited diapers for a flat rate.
Be advised that there are some differences between breastfed and bottle fed babies. Breastfed babies can go for long periods without a bowel movement, while bottle fed babies have a tendency to go every day as formula is harder for baby to digest.
You should also be aware that it is normal for babies to strain and cry when passing a poop. This does not mean that baby is constipated. As long as the poop is soft, everything is fine.
Baby’s First Poop
Among the most unusual baby poop is baby’s 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 will likely be greeny-black and very sticky, even difficult to wipe away. This is normal and will likely last for a few days at least. After that, baby poop can vary depending on your feeding method. HAPPY NAPPY Tip… use some hand lotion or skin lotion (the best is the types from a pump), put some on a wipe or even a paper towel. The lotion lifts the sticky poop right off and prevents you from rubbing this new delicate skin.
Baby Poop when Breastfeeding
After baby has passed all meconium through their system, their poop will start to change from greeny-black 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. The biggest surprise is the smell, which is sweeter than most would expect. This is totally normal as long as baby’s poop remains soft and passes easily.
Baby Poop when Bottle Feeding
There are some slight differences between bottle fed baby food compared to breast fed baby food. The most obvious difference will be that bottle fed baby poop will most likely be bulkier than breast fed baby poop as it is more difficult for baby to digest formula than breast milk. Compared to breast fed baby poop, bottle fed baby poop is also a paler yellow or yellowish brown and stronger smelling.
Baby Poop while Transitioning to Solid Foods
When your baby starts to move on to solid food, you will notice that the different foods they try will have an impact on their poop – especially the colour, which will often mirror the colour of the food. Baby’s poop will also become larger and thicker, more like an adults. You may also notice certain hard to digest foods pass straight through. This will change in time, as baby gets used to different food types. As they do, baby’s poop will also become smellier.
Baby Poop – Warning Signs
As already mentioned, baby poop comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes (not to mention smells and colours). Because of this, it is sometimes hard to tell when something is wrong. Nevertheless, there are a few signs you should watch out for that could be symptomatic of a greater problem.
- Diarrhoea – runny or even explosive diarrhoea could be a symptom of teething or an allergy, but you should check with your doctor in case of infection or other medical problem. Keep in mind that a baby does not have the reserves like an adult has when it comes to dehydration. If the diarrhoea continues longer than 24 hours you should get your little one in to be seen by someone.
- Constipation – Some babies don’t poop as often as others (especially if they are bottle fed), but if your baby is really struggling, crying and their poos are like rabbit droppings, you should contact your doctor. This is especially true if there is blood in baby’s poop. If you are breast feeding, the poo is usually soft. If it starts to become more like peanut butter it can be a sign of constipation.
- Blood – Blood is baby’s stool is usually a symptom of constipation and can normally be remedied quite easily. Nevertheless, you should always consult your doctor to be on the safe side.
If you see a raspberry baby poop colour that looks like mucus (think congealed fat), you need to call your doctor immediately.That could be a sign of a serious intestinal problem.
- Green Poop – green poop is normal in newborns but could be a sign of infection in older babies. A common cause is baby is breast feeding often but not getting the rich milk at the end of the feed. This milk will appear more lime green.
- Pale Poop – very pale poop is a sign of jaundice, which is common in newborns. If it lasts longer than a couple of weeks you should consult your doctor. The basic rule is that if the poop is a shade of brown or yellow everything is ok. Great work mom.