The complete guide to baby's poop for parents
Newborn or older baby? Breastfed or formula-fed? Here are important information you should know about your baby's poop.
Before you become a parent, talking about poop in every day conversations is unheard of. But the moment you have a child, poop permeates everything… including conversations. My baby hasn’t pooped in days. My baby pooped five times today. How to help baby poop? Why is my baby’s poop green? IS MY BABY’S POOP NORMAL?
These are just a few among the many poop-related questions and problems parents ask and face on a daily basis. That’s why we’re here to help with our super guide on everything baby poop related!
Unlike your regular theAsianparent article, this one follows a slightly different format. We present information on various concerns related to baby poop, in sections. Each section will contain links to in-depth theAsianparent articles pertaining to the topic.
Ready for all things baby-poop related?
Your baby’s poop: The only guide you need
Your brand-new baby’s first poop (usually within the first 24 hours of his birth) will look remarkably un-poopy. In fact, it resembles tar, both in color and consistency. There’s a name for this first poop too: meconium.
It’s important that meconium is passed because it is made up of everything your baby ingested while in your womb, like skin cells, mucus and amniotic fluid. After all the meconium leaves your baby’s body, his stools will become softer and lighter in color.
If you are worried about how to help baby poop out all that meconium (that is, if he hasn’t within 24 hours), then please speak to the hospital staff.
More poop-ular articles:
Your breastfed baby’s poop
If your baby is exclusively breastfed, don’t be surprised if his poop looks like cream cheese with seedy mustard mixed through! In fact, it may even look like diarrhea, but unless your baby is showing or experiencing other symptoms (e.g. fever, more cranky than usual), there’s no need to worry.
Breastfed baby poop looks disgusting but actually doesn’t smell terrible. It might also take on the shade of food you last ate, e.g. spinach = greenish-yellow poop. If you have cracked nipples, don’t be surprised if your breastfed baby’s poo is tinged with blood.
This can be easily sorted by speaking to a lactation consultant or doctor and you’ll notice the red in your baby’s poop fades away.
Sometimes, breastfed babies go for long stretches of time without pooping (even up to seven days). Now, before you get worried about how to help baby poop in this instance, remember that it’s quite normal. This is because breast milk is so beautifully digestible that there’s little waste that accumulates and passes out as stools.
However, if you notice that your baby is in a lot of discomfort or his tummy is badly distended, then you should show baby to a paediatrican without delay.
Your formula-fed baby’s poop
If your baby drinks formula milk, then his poop will be different in both smell and texture than a breastfed baby’s.
A formula-fed baby’s poop will be a brownish-yellow color, and have a pasty, almost peanut-butter-like texture. Their poop is also more formed and smellier than that of breastfed babies. You’ll also notice that they pass stools more frequently and regularly than a breastfed baby.
As with a breastfed baby, if you are worried that your baby hasn’t passed stools for a long time and are wondering how to help baby poop, it’s always good to consult a pediatrician.
An older baby’s poop
Once your baby starts solids at around six months of age, you’ll notice changes in his poop, whether breastfed or formula-fed.
Don’t be surprised if his stools take on the color of whatever he has been eating, whether that’s broccoli-green or beetroot-red! You may also notice pieces of undigested food in his poop (e.g. corn kernels). Nothing to fret about here – it’s normal.
Solid food intake may also herald constipation in your baby. In order to avoid this, offer your baby foods that are rich in fibre, such as avocado and papaya. You can also introduce water now. A few sips of water (or even breast milk) after a meal will help keep his poop nice and soft.
As much as possible, avoid constipating foods such as white bread, cheese, carrots and white rice.
Also read: Baby poop problems
Baby poop issues: How to help baby poop?
It’s a question all moms will ask themselves or someone else at some point: how to help baby poop? Usually, this is preceded by an extended bout of constipation or other tummy issues.
The good news is that these usually is a solution (or two) to most poopy problems, including constipation and flatulence. You can read about these in the many links you’ll find below.
However, there are red flagged baby poop problems that warrant an immediate trip to the doctor:
- There is bright, red blood or jelly-like mucous in your baby’s stools. These could indicate an infection.
- Your baby has severe constipation, indicated by tiny, hard, pebble-like bits of stool, stools staining baby’s diapers or underwear while he is still constipated (indicated watery stools that leak past the hard poop).
- Diarrhea in young babies. If left untreated, baby could get dehydrated very fast.
- Extreme bloating of the tummy. This could possibly indicate a food intolerance or could be a sign of another medical issue.
- White poop. Poop gets its color from bile, so an absence of bile literally drains it of its color, resulting in chalky white poop. White poop might be an indication of a problem with the gallbladder or liver, so it’s best to take your baby to the doctor if you notice poo this color, just to be on the safe side.
Read more on poop problems and solutions:
Featured image: YouTube screengrab