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Everything You Need To Know About Baby Stool

Most of the new parents are often confused about what the baby stool should look like. They are unsure of how much they can expect, and often end up being surprised. Baby's stool has so many different textures, consistencies and colours that the parents might be overwhelmed by this.

This entire article aims to guide the parents through the various types of baby's poops and help them figure out what is or what is not normal for their precious ones.

Frequency Of Pooping

Babies display a variety of behaviours when it comes to pooping. Some poop every now and then, possibly after every meal. A few choose to poop twice or thrice in a week. However, it is much important that the stool comes out easily and should be of a soft texture. If the poop looks dry and a hard solid mass, the baby might be constipated and needs some change and help to improve the condition.

Initially, the babies that drink breastmilk poop very frequently, around six to ten times in the entire day. This usually happens post feeding. Nevertheless, they get accustomed to the diet for a duration of three to five weeks, and they reduce their bowel movement, much to the relief of new mothers.

There is nothing to worry about if the baby stays on the above track and stool pattern stays normal; the infant should appear lively and cheerful. If any weird change is seen in its behaviour, where it acts uncomfortable or grumpy or if the stool looks different than usual, the doctor should be called immediately.

Newborn's Stool Colour

The newborn's stool is called meconium. It has a greenish black, sticky, tar-like appearance. You might find its resemblance closer to motor oil. It usually comprises mucus, dead skin cells, amniotic fluid, lanugo, some bile and water[1] .It creates no smell at all, so it will be hard to realize it's time to change the diapers.

Stool In Transitional Stage

As the baby gets a few days older, the poop changes its colour to a lighter shade. The stool appears to be a little sticky and army greenish. This is a sign that the baby's intestinal system is working fine; it is properly digesting the breast milk and pooping normally.

Poop Colour In Case Of Regular Breastfeeding

The baby poops out a light yellowish- green shade, when it is regularly fed with breast milk. The poop might be mushy with a cream like texture. Also, it can be dilute and runny, so the mothers might assume their babies have diarrhoea. The poop can also have little seedy flakes; it looks somewhere between mustard and cottage cheese combination and smells very mild compared to the adult's stool.

Normal poop can range in various colour shades. If the poop is on the greener edge, it signifies that the mother consumed something different than her usual food. Otherwise, if all other symptoms are okay, she should not get worried.

Feeding Breastmilk With Fewer Calories

Sometimes the baby's stool looks bright green, a little like algae. There might also be froth formation; this indicates that the baby is not being fed enough of the high-calorie milk in mother's breasts. The foremilk from breast contains low calories and the hind part contains the thicker, richer and high-calorie milk. It is better to feed the baby on the same breast where it left off the last time, to give it access to hindmilk.

Poop Colour When The Baby Is Fed On Formula Milk

Babies that are fed on the donor or formula milk have peanut butter like the texture of the stool, which is also a little sticky. The colour can be yellow-brown, tan-brown or green-brown.[2] Also, the stool smells a little stronger compared to that of babies who are breastfed. However, the smell stays less pungent than the stool of babies being fed solid foods.

When Baby Is On Iron Supplements

If the baby is given iron-fortified milk, the stool can look dark green or sometimes black. It is not a regular occurrence but if it happens, it is totally normal. Nevertheless, if the baby is not being given any iron supplementation and still the poop is in black colour, it is good to consult a doctor. There stays a possibility of digested blood or melena.

When Baby Consumes Solid Foods

If the baby has always been breastfed, the mother will notice a considerable change in its poop once it starts feeding on solid foods like banana puree, infant cereals, etc. The stool colour changes to brown or dark brown with a mushy consistency. It is thicker than peanut butter and also smellier.

When The Food Has Been Partially Digested

There would be times when the mother could see small chunks of food that the baby ate the previous day. There might also be the presence of rainbow hue like shades of orange, blue, red, etc. Red could be either carrots, tomatoes or something similar. Pink could be because of beets, green due to some leafy veggies and blue because of blueberries.

This is not a matter of concern at all. Sometimes food reaches way too quickly to the intestine and does not get properly digested; hence they do not break down entirely. It can also occur if the baby swallows the food and does not chew the foods.

Nonetheless, the doctor should be consulted if the baby frequently poops out partially digested food. The doctor can check thoroughly to see if the baby's intestines are functioning well to absorb all nutrients.

Diarrhoea Symptoms

Babies tend to have very dilute stool during diarrhoea. The colour can be yellow, brown or green and the excess watery poop can cause severe leakage in a diaper. The causes of diarrhoea can be allergic reactions or infections. If it is not treated timely and lasts for a few days, the baby can become dehydrated.

Whether the baby is older or younger than 3 months, and it continues to soil its diapers with diarrhoeic poop for more than one or two days, it is advisable to immediately consult a doctor. It might be serious if the poop contains traces of blood and mucus.

When The Baby Feels Constipated

If the baby's stool looks like small stones and is hard in texture, it might be constipated. Constipation can make your baby look uncomfortable when pooping. Sometimes straining too hard can even cause some blood in stool, because of irritation in the soft skin of anus.[3]

If this happens once or twice, it is fine but beyond three times, it is wise to consult the doctor. When the babies are fed solid foods, they might have some sensitivity to certain food items. They can also be intolerant to some ingredient in formula milk.

Mucus In Stool

If the baby's poop looks slimy, with green shiny streaks, mucus could be present in the stool. This mostly happens if the baby drools a lot and the saliva which contains mucus, gets digested. But, this can also be a symptom of allergy or infections.[5]

So, it is better to ask the opinion of the doctor, if mucus appears in poop for more than two days.

Bright Red Or Blood In Stool

There can be multiple reasons for the red colour in the poop. Regardless, it is important to call the doctor.[4]

• Sometimes protein allergies from milk can cause a tinge of red blood in poop.

• If the baby has been constipated, tears and irritation in the anus or small haemorrhoids can cause blood.

• If the diarrhoea stool has hue of red in it, it can signify bacterial infection.

Blackish Red Blood In The Stool

The blood, when digested by the baby, can make its poop look black. The black colour can appear flaky, more like sesame or poppy seeds. The black blood can be attributed to the baby feeding on breastmilk; it might have bit the nipples a too hard and would have caused mother's breasts to crack and bleed.

While this situation might call for some pain relief for moms, it may not be a threatening situation for the infants. However, just to keep the track clear of any problems, the doctor must be asked to see if it's related to intestinal infection.

When The Baby's Poop Look Beyond Usual

If the poop looks completely different than ordinary days, it can be an alarming situation. There can be some rare, however possible symptoms present in baby's poop, which the mother needs to keep an eye on.

• If the stool comes out as a thick black mass, with little stickiness and firmness to it, it can be a serious threat. The poop would comprise of ingested blood and look tar-like, just in meconium. This is termed as melena.

• If the poop is entirely bloody with jelly-like texture, it can suggest some intensified intestinal problem.

• Chalk coloured or pale, white clay like poop can be a sign of liver or gallbladder dysfunction.

The colour, texture of poop can vary gradually over time for babies, but it is important to keep a watchful eye. Monitoring them on a daily basis gives a better idea about their health problems, which they cannot convey otherwise. A paediatrician should be consulted whenever the mother is doubtful about some situation.

View Article References
  1. [1] Okoro, P. E., & Enyindah, C. E. (2013). Time of passage of First Stool in Newborns in a Tertiary Health Facility in Southern Nigeria.Nigerian journal of surgery : official publication of the Nigerian Surgical Research Society,19(1), 20-22.
  2. [2] Malacaman, E. E., Abbousy, F. K., Crooke, D., & Nauyok, J. G. (1985). Effect of protein source and iron content of infant formula on stool characteristics. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, 4(5), 771-773.
  3. [3] Ali, S. R., Ahmed, S., Qadir, M., Humayun, K. N., & Ahmad, K. (2011). Fecal incontinence and constipation in children: a clinical conundrum.Oman medical journal,26(5), 376-378.
  4. [4] Arvola, T., Ruuska, T., Keränen, J., Hyöty, H., Salminen, S., & Isolauri, E. (2006). Rectal bleeding in infancy: clinical, allergological, and microbiological examination. Pediatrics, 117(4), e760-e768.
  5. [5] Czerwionka-Szaflarska, M., Łoś-Rycharska, E., & Gawryjołek, J. (2017). Allergic enteritis in children.Przeglad gastroenterologiczny,12(1), 1-5.
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