When becoming a parent, you probably expected that there would also be less glamorous sides like all those filled diapers. On the other hand, you probably didn’t know how different baby poops could be from one time to the next.
In the rest of this article, we explain what the frequency, consistency, or color of your baby’s poops can tell you about their health and development.
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What Do Normal Baby Poops Look Like?
If the consistency and color of your baby’s poops can change depending on the weather or their diet, it is legitimate to ask the question of what is considered normal.
Here, in general terms, are the types of baby poops you can expect to find in their diapers during the first days, weeks, and months after birth.
Your newborn baby’s poop will most likely contain a slightly sticky, viscous substance that is very dark green and may look a bit like tar. This is called meconium.
These baby’s first poops are very special: they contain skin cells, mucus, lanugo (fetal hair), and other particles that your newborn may have ingested with amniotic fluid while he was still in his mother’s womb.
It will take a few days for your newborn to pass the meconium completely, but once it does, his or her poops will begin to look the “normal” look you might have expected. The color of your baby’s poops will then change from almost black to greenish yellow.
[NOTE: If your newborn still hasn’t had a bowel movement 24 hours after birth, report this to a healthcare provider.]
Normal Baby Poops
Your baby’s poops, which could be described as “normal,” appear once the meconium has been evacuated. However, the texture and color of your baby’s poops can change enormously depending on their diet. Here are some examples of what you may find in your newborn’s diapers:
- Breastfed babies. If you are breastfeeding, your baby’s poops may, during the first months, remind you a little of mustard, but slightly liquid and possibly with small whitish “grains” of fat. The color of your baby’s poops may also vary depending on what his mother eats: if, for example, she eats green vegetables like spinach, your baby’s poops may be green.
- Babies breastfed with artificial milk. The poops of babies fed formula are generally less liquid than those of those fed breast milk. They will a priori be thicker (but generally less than spread) and a color closer to dark yellow or bronze.
- Babies being weaned. When you begin to introduce solid foods into your little one’s diet, which is recommended only from the age of 6 months, you will notice (and feel) big changes in your baby’s poop. Their poops will thicken, and their appearance will diversify. For example, if you regularly give your child healthy snacks, you may find bits of undigested raw vegetables in his diapers, such as the skin of tomatoes or peas. This is because your baby’s digestive system is not yet used to all these new foods. Additionally, the weaning period also means an increase in fats and sugars in your baby’s poop, making it smell better.
Baby Poops of All Colors
You may be surprised to see that the color of your baby’s poops changes, from mustard color from breast milk to darker yellow from formula to other shades of yellow, brown, or even white and Green.
You may panic the first time your baby has green poops, but rest assured, most of the time, it’s nothing serious. There can be many mundane explanations ranging from taking medication (by your baby or by his mother if she is breastfeeding) to simply eating green foods (directly by your baby or, again, by his mother and transmitted by Milk). What you find in his diaper is sometimes the result of perfectly normal digestion.
Generally speaking, “earth” colors (yellow, green, brown) are harmless, but if you are ever concerned about the color of your baby’s poops, do not hesitate to talk to your healthcare professional: they will be able to help you. Advice.
Colors to be Wary Of
However, there are poop colors that can signal a possible health problem in your child. Seek the advice of your healthcare professional if your baby’s poops are:
- Reds. If your baby’s poops are red, it may be due to the presence of blood, so it is important that your healthcare professional looks into the problem. However, red baby poops can also be completely benign, for example, if your newborn swallowed some blood during delivery or if your nipples are bleeding slightly and you are breastfeeding. If you have started weaning, this red coloring may also be due to a particular food, such as beets.
- Black. A black color in your baby’s poops may be the result of blood in the intestine. Very green baby poops can also sometimes appear black: however, the green color is most often not synonymous with problems. Meconium may also be almost black, but this is also not abnormal.
- White or gray. Very white or clay-colored baby poops are very rare but can signal a liver problem. It is therefore highly recommended that you call your healthcare professional.
The Frequency of Baby Poops
Your baby’s poops will be more or less frequent depending on his age, the development of his digestive system, and his diet.
If You are Breastfeeding
Generally speaking, breastfed babies have more frequent bowel movements than formula-fed babies. Except for the first few days, a newborn fills his diaper on average at least 3 times a day for the first 6 weeks after birth.
Keep in mind that from the age of 3 or 6 weeks, a breastfed baby may sometimes not have a bowel movement for several days. Indeed, its digestive system can metabolize breast milk very efficiently, leaving very little solid waste to evacuate.
After about 6 weeks, your baby’s number of daily poops may decrease, particularly because your breast milk generally no longer contains colostrum after this time, and it has laxative properties.
If You Give Artificial Milk
If your newborn’s diet consists mostly or entirely of formula, he will likely fill his diaper at least once daily. However, it will also not be uncommon for him not to poop for a day or two. As long as your baby’s poops are soft when he fills his diaper, there is no reason to worry.
If you are concerned about your baby’s number of bowel movements, talk to your healthcare professional.
A Baby Who Poops Too Much, Is It Possible?
Your baby’s poops may be larger or smaller with each bowel movement. Generally speaking, as long as he gains weight normally and his poops are soft, everything is fine.
If your baby’s poops seem particularly watery and especially if he fills his diaper much more often than usual or if he has other symptoms such as fever (38°C or more), he may act as diarrhea.
See your healthcare provider if you think your baby has diarrhea, especially if he or she is younger than 3 months.
You might not know this, but newborns and young babies tend to have bowel movements several times in short intervals. If you see that your child has filled his diaper, you can choose to wait for a little while before changing him so that you don’t have to start again immediately afterward.
Constipation or Lack of Baby Poops
You may wonder how you can tell if your child is constipated if his or her bowel movements vary so much.
Constipation is more common in babies who have started solid foods, but it can sometimes affect younger children. Here are some common symptoms:
- In the newborn. Your baby has solid poops less than once a day.
- In a baby or young child. Your baby has hard, compact poops but only every three or four days.
- In a baby or child of any age. Your baby has bulky, hard, and dry poops that are painful to pass. Your baby’s poops contain traces of blood. Your child pushes for more than 10 minutes without being able to defecate.
How to Cure Constipation
If you think your baby is suffering from constipation, seek advice from your healthcare professional. Do not give him any medications or laxatives unless specifically recommended by your healthcare professional.
If your child does not improve or has other symptoms, such as vomiting, fever, lethargy, less loss of appetite, or blood in their stools, consult your healthcare professional immediately.