What you need to know about your baby's bowel movements

Read on to know what to expect when it comes to your baby's bowel movements.

Baby's diaper

What’s normal or not when it comes to your baby’s bowel movements? Read this article to find out.

As a new parent it is normal to wonder about your baby’s stool: “Are his bowel movements OK? Should I be concerned that his poop is green in color?”

To answer these and other questions you might have, here is a guide that explains what’s okay and what to worry about when it comes to baby’s bowel movements.

The first few days:

In the first few days after delivery your baby will pass a sticky, greenish-black tar-like substance called meconium. It is pretty difficult to wipe off, and can seem a little scary to new parents, but it’s really nothing to worry about.

Passing meconium shows that your baby’s excretory system is working normally. Once all the meconium is out of your baby’s system, his stools will change in color and texture.

Breast-fed stools:

Normally, breast-fed babies have stools that are soft, loose and light mustard in color with very tiny seed-like pieces. This is because breastmilk is very easy to digest and contains all the nutrients necessary for a baby’s growth.

Due to the ease of digestibility of breastmilk, there is also very little solid waste. The odor of the stool should also be mild and not very unpleasant.

Formula-fed stools:

Babies who are fed formula generally have stools that are a little more firm than breast-fed babies. Stool color can vary from yellow to green to brown — all of which are considered normal.

In the first 2 months of life, formula-fed babies often have less frequent stools than breast-fed ones — usually it is about 4 to 5 bowel movements a day.

Formula-fed babies also have thicker and bulkier stools than breast-fed babies. It is believed that the type of fat blend in formula milk influences the stool consistency.

Diarrhea:

A baby is said to have diarrhea when he or she has frequent unformed, watery stools. If the diarrhea continues for more than a few days or your baby is also vomiting , contact your doctor immediately for advice.

Also, while there are many reasons why a child may get diarrhea, do note that bottle hygiene is very important. Milk bottles need to be sterilized either by boiling, steaming or with the use of sterilizing tablets.

Constipation:

For babies between 0 to 3 months, constipation is rare, even if your baby is formula-fed. Some babies may make grunting noises and/or strain every time they have a bowel movement, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are constipated.

However, if your baby cries or looks uncomfortable, it may be best to consult your doctor.

Ultimately though, do not be too concerned about the color or frequency of your baby’s bowel movements — as long as your baby looks well and does not show any signs of illness, there is most probably nothing to worry about.

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