Your Baby�s Stool: What it Means

One concern new moms often have is whether their infant�s stool is normal. They might question the frequency of their baby�s bowel movements or wonder what the difference is between bottle feeding and breast feeing and how this impacts their baby�s stool.


Newborn Poop: What�s Normal

In the first few weeks of your baby�s life, the color, frequency and consistency of your newborn's poop will change.

The character of your baby�s poo depends on his age, whether he is breast or bottlefed and whether solids have been introduced. As a result, baby�s stool will change on a regular basis during the first year of her life.

When it comes to frequency, there isn�t a magic number. Depending on whether your baby is bottle or breast feed, she can have several bowel movements a day or not a pass a bowel movement for two or three days.

The color of your baby�s stool can be different on a day-to-day basis, ranging from yellow to green, a process that is natural.

As your baby grows, you will get to know what is normal for them.

And don�t worry if your baby grunts or cries when passing a bowel movement. Babies are vocal when they poo because they�re not used to the feeling of this process and generally isn�t a sign that they�re in any real distress.


What Does Baby Pass?

In the first couple of days, your baby will pass meconium, a sticky green-black substance made up of bile, mucus and amniotic fluid which builds up her system during pregnancy.

Babies usually start passing meconium 12 hours after birth; this is a sign that the bowel system is healthy and functioning properly. If your baby doesn�t pass meconium within the first 24 hours, it could be a sign of intestinal obstruction and you should contact your physician.

Once the meconium is expelled from the body, expect your baby�s poo to change in color to brown-green and loose and grainy in texture to increasingly yellow with the consistency of peanut butter.


Bottle Feeding and Baby's Stool

Stool patterns of formula-fed babies are different than the stool patterns of breastfed babies. If your baby is bottlefed, his stool will be yellow-brown in color and relatively sold in texture; bottlefed babies� stool also has a stronger smell that is similar to adult stool.

Bottlefed babies usually pass stool once daily.


Breast Feeding and Baby's Stool

Normal stool color for a breast fed baby is yellow; breastfed baby's poo is usually loose in grainy in texture; the poo of babies that are breastfed tends to have a sweeter, less pungent smell than the stool of bottlefed babies.

Breastfed babies can have a bowel movement as often as four or more times in a day or even one time every three days.


From Breast to Bottle, from Bottle to Breast

Thinking of changing your baby�s feeding habits but are unsure how it�ll affect baby�s bowel movements?

It�s important that when making the transition, that it is done slowly over the course of a couple of weeks. This wards off constipation and allows your baby�s digestive system to adapt.

Also, if you�re switching from bottle to breast, this slow transition also helps avoid tender and pain in the breasts for mom.


Baby�s First Solids

Introducing solids into your baby�s diet will have the greatest impact on her bowel movements.

Solid foods change the smell, consistency and color of your baby�s stool.

For example, the color of your baby�s stool will reflect what food she�s eaten; if your baby�s just had her first peas, expect to see some green in her stool.

Also solids high in fiber like raisins will usually be passed whole until your baby can properly digest them.

Solids make your baby�s stool thicker, darker and (you guessed it) smellier.


Warning Signs: What to Look out for in Your Baby's Poop

There are some things that aren�t normal when it comes to your baby�s bowel movements.

Streaks of blood in baby stool is usually a sign of constipation. Make sure to contact your physician right away if you find blood in your baby's stool.

If your baby�s stool is an unusual green color, they can be consuming too much milk. Contact your doctor to make sure they don�t have a milk allergy. Also, green baby stool is often caused by iron added to formula.

Constipation can be a sign of dehydration; mild dehydration often occurs when introducing your baby to solid foods. Breastfed babies are less likely to be constipated because breast milk has a natural balance of fat and protein which promotes soft stool. The symptoms of constipation include irritability when passing a bowel movement, blood in the stool, and pellets. Contact your doctor. Increasing your baby�s fiber intake can also help. Foods high in fiber include pureed prunes, pears and apricots.

While an occasional loose stool is nothing to fret over, a sudden, increased frequency of bowel movements and watery, looser stool are signs of diarrhea. Diarrhea can be a sign of infection or a milk allergy. Contact your doctor if you suspect your baby has diarrhea. Limit sweetened foods like undiluted fruit juices; feeding your baby yogurt containing live cultures (lactobacillus) can also help ward off infant constipation.

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