It sounds gross, but checking your child's poop is a good way to know about their health! Read on to find out more!
Your child's poop isn't exactly something that you look forward to but as a parent, it's important for you to carefully observe your child's poop since it's a good indicator of their overall health.
Getting down and dirty
First off, you need to look at the color of your baby's stool. The color of your baby's stool can help you see at a glance if there might be something wrong. Generally, the color of your baby's stool varies from day to day, and what you need to watch out for are any dark or red spots, as those can be a sign of bleeding.
Second, you need to look at the consistency of your child's poop. Baby and toddler poop should have a consistency similar to peanut butter, or yogurt. If your child's stool is pebble-like, or log-like, then there's a good chance that they might be constipated.
Third would be the smell of your child's poop. The longer poop stays inside your child's intestines, then the smellier it'll be. Breastfed baby poop generally doesn't stink, and formula-fed babies have a slight odor, but not too strong. Once your child starts eating solid food, then the smell will get stinkier. If you think that your child's poop is too smelly, then you can consult your pediatrician about it.
Your baby's poop as they're growing up
During the first 4 months, your child's stool is very watery. Around the first 2 months, they can usually go through 10 diapers a day, and around 2-4 times a day during the 4th month. For formula-fed babies, they typically need to poop less, since the formula goes through their tummies at a slower pace.
At around 5-12 months, your baby's poop will start to thicken since you're giving them more solids. Pooping will also happen at least once a day.
From 1-3 years, your child's stool will be thicker than what it used to be. You can also sometimes find pieces of undigested food, particularly leafy vegetables which can be difficult to digest. Don't worry, since your child's colon is still learning to process food, and it's normal at this stage.
At 3-5 years, your child usually poops once a day, and they can already poop on their own. Around this age, constipation can be a common problem, so make sure that your child drinks enough water, and has enough fiber in their diet in order to have good bowel movement. Ideally, their poop should look like a long snake.
If your child's stool is white, black, or contains red streaks, then it can mean that your child isn't producing enough bile or they have blood being digested from their stomach, or they might have blood from their colon or rectum. These are signs that you need to take your child to a doctor to get checked out.