It may not be the most glamorous of topics to talk about, but it certainly is important. The topic is newborn baby poop. Something that every new mom has to pay attention to in order to determine if her baby is healthy or if there is cause for concern. But because there are so many variations of the stool that are considered healthy, it can be a bit confusing knowing what is considered normal poop for a newborn. Factor in how often newborns go and the odor that the diapers have as a result is also crucial to pay attention. All of which accounts for everything to know about newborns and poop.
For a society that is very concerned about what is in babies’ diapers, the same cannot be said about people as they age. The biggest thing that people pay attention to with their poop is if they are regular.
According to ScienceFocus, if more people did pay attention to their stool, they would be able to determine if their guts were healthy or not. And considering that is such a focus for newborn babies, it would make sense to make monitoring poop a lifelong thing. Not something that ends after the first days to weeks of life.
Here is everything you need to know about newborns and poop.
The Very First Poop
The very first poop that newborns have is called meconium. According to KidsHealthit is dark green in color.
Meconium is made up of “cells, proteins, fats, and intestinal secretions” that create thick and sticky substances, per publication. And while some babies will pass meconium in the days to hours leading up to delivery, which can make them sick, most will pass it in the hours after they are born.
How Often A Newborn Poops
Many little ones will poop several times per day after their initial poop. In fact, parents need to make sure that they have plenty of diapers on hand because they will be changing them often.
According to MyHealth.Alberta.ca, newborns will have one to two bowel movements on the first day of life. But, by the end of that first week, that number will increase to five to 10 times per week.
The reason that newborns go so often is a result of their immature digestive system. As the system matures, per publication, babies will gradually start going less often. To the point where some babies do not poop daily. And as long as little ones are not in any pain or discomfort, according to MyHealth.Alberta.cathen they are healthy.
Variety Of Poop Colors
The first poop, the meconium, is dark green in color. However, newborns’ poop does not stay that color for long. Instead, it will begin to transition. And Depending upon whether babies are breastfed or formula fed, the poop colors will vary.
According to Blank Children’s Hospital, the green color of the poop will begin to change around two days after birth. For those who are breastfed, the color will become “mustard yellow, green, or brown,” per the publication. Formula-fed babies will have a “yellow or brown” color to their poop.
In both instances, parents should not anticipate their babies’ poop being solid. It is going through the digestive tract too quickly to form anything substantial. As such, a runnier stool is the norm for babies for quite some time.
Why Newborn Poop Is Not Solid
Newborns will not have solid poop. Instead, a more solid consistency will begin, according to Today’s Parent around the time that babies begin to eat solids. This has to do with something other than the liquid being introduced to the system that in turn forms a more solid stool.
Until that time comes, according to the publication, newborns who are breastfed will have a “pasty and seedy” texture to their poop.
Formula-fed babies, on the other hand, are more solid. The texture is that of peanut butter for these little ones. However, both sets of babies will be waiting several months before the consistency of the poop changes to that of solid as adults know it.
Determining If Newborn Has Diarrhea
Because the stool is already loose, it can be hard to determine if newborns have diarrhea or if their stool is just runny.
According to Seattle Children’sthere is a difference between how diarrhea appears in breastfed babies versus formula-fed babies.
Breastfed newborn diarrhea
For breastfed babies, if they are having more than six bowel movements per day, and they appear waterier in nature, babies are likely to have diarrhea, according to the publication. And if the watery stools last longer than three bowel movements, seeking the advice of a healthcare professional is recommended.
Formula-fed newborn diarrhea
Those who are formula-fed will have a much waterier stool than normal. According to Seattle Children’s if the poop smells bad, has mucus in it, or even some blood, in most instances newborns have diarrhea and should be looked at by a healthcare professional.
What To Do If Constipated
Newborns may suddenly go from being completely regular to totally backed up. Fortunately, there are some solutions if little ones are constipated.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, if babies are fussier than normal, are excessively spitting up, are straining for 10 minutes or more, and not producing stool, it is likely that they are constipated.
If constipation is suspected, then parents should call their healthcare provider for further guidance.
Babies over one-month-old can also be given fruit juice to aid with constipation. The amount is one ounce of fruit juice daily for every month-old babies are, per the publication. This will help to draw water into the intestines and hopefully alleviate constipation.
Please contact your baby’s pediatrician because some will offer a different option. Some will say after a very small amount of water instead to avoid giving babies something with sugar, while others will discourage it.
The presence of blood in newborns’ stools is not always something to be concerned about but always something to consult with healthcare professionals about. It could have to do with little ones having an anal fissure, constipation, ingesting some blood from cracked nipples while breastfeeding, or having a cow’s milk allergyaccording to BabyCentre. However, it could be something more serious as well.
Per the publication, if blood in the stool is accompanied by vomiting, fever, dehydration, or pain, newborns need to be seen immediately. If this is the case, newborns likely have an infection and need treatment.
Newborn Poop Odor
Not only is the color important for parents to monitor, but the smell of the poop needs to be paid attention to as well.
According to Healthline, the first few poops that babies have will be nearly odorless. It is once their microbiome begins to form that the poop will begin to have an odor to it.
For those who are breastfed, per publication, even after the microbiome begins to form, the stool is not very smelly. But for Those who are formula fed, the odor will be more distinct and perhaps even very smelly.
With all the variations in newborn poop, knowing what is healthy versus what may need medical intervention can be hard to discern. But, by looking out for several things, it can be easier to see when it may be time to contact a healthcare professional for assistance.
According to What To Expectthe time that the advice of a healthcare professional is needed includes:
- Breastfed baby does not poop for more than three days
- Formula fed baby does not poop for more than five days
- Stools are the shape of pebbles
- Stool is red or black
- Stool is white or gray
If anything feels off to parents, healthcare professionals should be consulted. That way, even if nothing is wrong, moms and dads have peace of mind.
Source: ScienceFocus, KidsHealth, MyHealth.Alberta.ca, Blank Children’s Hospital, Today’s Parent, Seattle Children’s, American Academy of Pediatrics, BabyCentre, Healthline, What To Expect