Baby Poop – What an exciting topic!
Prior to having babies, never did I think that poop could mean so much! Never did I think that I would be congratulating my newborn on farting and telling him what a clever boy he was to be filling his nappy.
A baby that is pooping regularly and without trouble is a sign that the digestive system is working well. They are getting enough intake to produce healthy bowel motions.
Baby poop comes in a wide variety of colours and textures (and smells!) and these can mean different things.
Let’s start with newborns.
The very first poop is meconium. This is a sticky, tar like poop. Very dark green/black. It is different to the poops that will follow as it is made up of components digested while in the womb, being the amniotic fluid it was swallowing, mucus and skin cells.
As your baby starts to digest colostrum and breastmilk, the poop will start to develop and become a lighter green. When this change happens, you can rest assured that you are doing a great job and your baby is digesting their food (be it colostrum, breast milk, or formula) correctly. Phew!
Breast fed babies’ poop
As far as baby poop smelling goes, this is as good as it gets! Exclusively breast fed babies have relatively sweet smelling poop, not too offensive at all.
It develops in to a yellow, creamy, runny consistency. It can vary to have little seed-looking dots through it. The shades may vary depending on what Mom is eating. It can also vary depending on the amount and type of milk baby is taking in, by this I mean foremilk and hindmilk.
Formula fed babies’ poop
This is where things start to get a bit more on the stinky side!
Formula poop is more brown than the yellow breastfed poop, you’ll know when it’s nappy change time!
Blood in poop.
Blood specks in poop can be serious but also mean that nothing is wrong, so how to tell?
If the blood is very dark, almost black, then this can be a sign that the blood has been digested and will be from taking in some blood from Mom’s cracked nipples (ouch!)
If it is fresh, red looking blood, then this can be a few things.
It can mean your baby has a milk protein allergy, uncommon, but possible.
If the poop is runnier than usual, it can be a sign of diarrhoea and an infection caused by bacteria in the gut. It could be that your baby is slightly constipated and the straining to push the poop out is causing fissures, little sores in the anus.
Any of these concerns should be talked through with a doctor.
Exclusively breast fed babies should not be constipated. If your baby is exclusively breast fed and you suspect constipation due to straining, it is more like that your little one is having wind issues. Try lying them on their back, hold their legs up so their knees are up to their chest and move their legs up and down in a cycle motion.
A change in diet can upset a baby’s digestive system. It can take a few days for the body to get used to the change. If your baby is pooping rabbit poops, that is small round hard poops this can be a sign of constipation. If this carries on for more than a day or two then you may need to help it along.
A baby straining to poop, and then having nothing come out, or having it come out slightly and then go back in! means that your little one is constipated. Constipation is very common at one stage or another in the first couple of years.
If you notice your baby really concentrating and straining to push out a poop, you can quickly get them on the floor, nappy off and push their legs up to their chest. If you can see the poop there but not coming out you can even get clean hands and push on either side of the anus to help guide it out (very glamourous!)
If the constipation continues, you can try giving prunes or pears (if they are able to take solids) or just give them a little warm water or pear or prune juice.
Your doctor may need to prescribe something a little stronger if the issue continues for more than 3-4 days if the remedies above don’t improve the situation.
Has your baby been given antibiotics?
I have found that babies that have been given antibiotics in the early days, weeks and months of life can have ongoing gut and constipation issues.
If a baby is born prematurely or has some infection issues at birth, or has ear infections they are often given a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics are great to treat the problems they are prescribed for, but the issue is that they kill the good bacteria in the gut also.
I highly recommend giving your baby pro-biotics every time antibiotics are prescribed, as well as during any bouts of constipation.
Keep that little tummy happy and healthy.