This too shall pass: a guide to your new baby’s poop
It is important to know what to expect each time you open up your infant’s nappy, as changes in the appearance of your baby’s poop can also indicate some serious health concerns.
As your infant grows older and their digestive tract develops, this can cause changes in the colour and texture of their poop. These changes should generally be no cause for alarm, but to err on the safe side, we’ve compiled this guide to your baby’s poop – what to expect and when to start worrying.
Meconium is the greenish-black tar-like poop that you expect to find in your newborn’s nappy the very first time you have to change them after birth. This sticky poop is a combination of amniotic fluid, mucus and other matter ingested by the foetus while still in the womb. This particular type of baby poop usually has no smell and is usually seen for the first two days after birth.
Transitional poop (Newborn poop)
Two days after birth your baby’s poop will start to lighten and become dark green in colour. The texture of their poop also changes and it becomes less sticky. This poop is known as transitional or newborn poop and it is a sign that your infant’s digestive system is beginning to work. Depending on whether your infant is breastfed or formula fed will determine how your child’s poop develops from here on.
In infants who are being exclusively breastfed, the colour of their poop can be anywhere from bright yellow to mustard in appearance. Breastfed babies’ stools also have a creamy texture and have a slightly sweet smell.
When a baby is formula fed, on the other hand, the appearance of their poop is completely different to that of breastfed babies. Usually healthy formula-fed poop is tan to brown in colour and is similar to the appearance of peanut butter. The smell of formula-fed babies’ poop is also often more pungent than exclusively breastfed babies’ poop.
Drastic deviations in the colour of your child’s poop can also represent various health conditions in the body, which you should be aware of.
Dark green poop
If your child is taking an iron supplement, very often their poop will be dark green to blackish in colour. This is nothing to be alarmed about and it will often pass in a few days.
If your baby’s poop appears to be lime green and frothy, this can indicate a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. Moms produce two different kinds of milk: foremilk, which is released first, followed by the hindmilk. The foremilk is the sweeter of the two and also contains fewer nutrients, while the hindmilk is richer and contains more of the vital nutrients that a baby needs to grow and develop. If a baby is getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk, their poop will turn lime green in colour. To remedy this, just allow your child to stay on each breast for longer before detaching, to ensure that they take in as much hindmilk as they can.
If your child has specks of red blood in their stool this can indicate a number of conditions. Blood in the stool can mean that your baby might have a milk protein allergy. Alternatively if your baby is suffering from constipation, the blood in their stool might be from tears in the anus, or tiny haemorrhoids. Although this will often pass in time, if the blood in the stool persists, you should consult your doctor.
Under very rare circumstances, your child can produce chalky white or grey poop. This can be an indication of problems with your baby’s digestive system and you should consult your doctor immediately.
Mucus in the poop
If you find that your baby’s poop is slimy and appears to have mucus in it, it is important to consult a doctor as it could indicate an infection or an allergic reaction.
Runny poop, whether it is yellow, green or brown, can be indication that your infant has diarrhoea. Diarrhoea over a long period of time can cause your infant to become dehydrated, which can result in serious medical complications. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if your child is suffering from diarrohea.
Just like adults, babies can also become constipated. When your baby is constipated, their poop will be hard and pebble-like. You might also notice that your child looks uncomfortable when they are pooping, which can also be a sign of constipation.
Poop with partially digested food
As you introduce your child to solid food, their poop will also change. In certain cases, your baby will not be able to digest all the food that enters their digestive tract, in which case their poop will have chunks of food in it. This is perfectly normal. However, if this happens quite regularly, you should take your infant to the doctor, as there might be a problem with their digestive tract.
During the first year of your baby’s life, you will see an array of different colours and textures of poop. Knowing what to expect every time you open your baby’s nappy can be extremely helpful in ensuring that you don’t panic when your child’s poop is suddenly a different colour. Keep track of these changes and if you have any doubts or concerns, speak to your child’s doctor.