The Scoop on Poop

The first bowel movements your newborn will have are thick, greenish black and very sticky, this is called meconium. Once this is passed, transition stools begin which look brown to greenish yellow. There are many variations in color and consistency from day to day and from baby to baby, and usually these changes are completely normal.

An exclusively breast fed baby will have mustard yellow, seedy looking stools, while a formula fed baby will have a more formed tan colored stool.

Frequency will also vary from one baby to another. Some babies pass stool after every feeding, and some breastfed babies by 1 month of age, may have only 1 bowel movement a week. Since breast milk is completely digested it leaves behind very little waste. As long as the stools are not firmer than peanut butter, the baby is feeding frequently and gaining weight normally, your baby isn’t constipated.

Diarrhea can be difficult to determine since babies often have frequent loose bowel movements. Diarrhea can be caused by an intestinal infection, a change in baby’s diet, or if breastfed, a change in mothers diet. Signs of diarrhea include:

   -Sudden increase in frequency – more than 1 BM per feeding
   -Unusually high liquid content in the stool

If your baby is passing very hard or very dry stools, they may not be getting enough fluids, or they may be using up too much fluid due to a fever, illness, or the heat. A change in diet, such as starting cereal can also cause constipation.

Discuss treatment options with your pediatrician if you think your baby is constipated or has diarrhea.

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