Baby’s Poop 101… What parents should know!

“Did they poop? How much they poop? What’s the poop look like ? Is this normal ? ” Those are the thoughts process always going through new parents’ mind on a daily basis when taking care of their babies.

Well, what does nutrition has to do with it ?? The answer is EVERYTHING ! Food consumption, digestion and defecation is an important indicator for healthy gut, digestion and food tolerance. A healthy gut and healthy poop means your baby will be absorbing the nutrients he/she is needing and grow without major problem.

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Baby’s stool frequency,  color, and consistency tells me a lot about their diet and whether if there’s something the parent should be concerned about. Whether it be allergies, intolerance, dehydration, constipation, malabsorptions, irritable bowel etc – poops are usually the first tell tale signs of something has gone awry or it is completely normal.

FREQUENCY:
What’s normal?? There really isn’t a concrete answer. Some baby goes everyday with 2-3 soiled diapers  or more and some only goes once per day. As long as they don’t look uncomfortable with harden belly or straining too hard when they have to go, there’s nothing to worry about. Exclusive breastfeeding baby sometimes can go several days and up to 7 days without having a bowel movement and this is completely normal as well.

COLOR & CONSISTENCY

NORMAL POOP WHAT IT MEANS
Black, Sticky, Tarry (First  1-3 days of life) Meconium (the first poop from the intestine of newborn)
 
Yellow, Seedy, Curds like Breast feeding poop (Breast milk is very easily digested and move through the intestine quickly. Therefore, it’s yellow/mustard yellow color most of the time).
 
Darker Yellow/brown Combination of breast milk and formula feeding
 
Dark brown/Tan/Light Tan Formula feeding or sometimes when your baby is on goat’s formula or goat’s milk.
 
Yellow  with Mucus Sometimes this is normal, usually when baby is teething and is swallowing more of their saliva. But it can also means some intolerance to milk (check the frequency and when in doubt-call the doctor)
 
Green frothy Imbalance of foremilk (watery clear)and hindmilk (rich creamy milk) Note: Just make sure to feed baby long enough on one breast to empty the rich creamy hindmilk before switching to the other breast.
 
Darker Yellow/ Dark brown soft solid with undigested food–It could be orange, dark blue, dark green Transition between milk to solids, and when they start eating more solids food, undigested food chunks will be identified in their soft formed poop. Colored poop as long as is not black and dark red is normal based on the type of foods they are eating. If it is darker red (make sure baby hasn’t been eating beets or cherries the day prior).

NOTE: Remember the faster the food goes through the intestine tract, it will be yellow, when it’s a slower digestion, it will change to green, brown then dark brown to black (which will lead to constipation)

Green If your baby are those select few that were solely on amino-acid based formula such as Elecare® or Neocate® or Alfamino®. Don’t be alarmed if their poop is green.
ABNORMAL POOP WHAT IT MEANS
Diarrhea Food/milk intolerance, malabsorption, or it could be viral illness as well.  Note: Make sure baby is well hydrated. If it lasted more than 2 days, contact your baby’s pediatrician.
 
Very dark brown/black, hard small pellets, marbles like size Constipation.  This could mean they have extra iron in their diet, not enough fiber or not getting enough liquids. Note:  Offer prunes, peaches, pears and massage their belly gently if they are older than 6 months old. Making sure baby (6 months and older) getting enough liquids (breastmilk or formula and 1-2 oz water daily). You can also look into probiotic drops or formula that contains probiotics for your baby if he/she is prone to constipation.
 
Bloody tint/streak in yellow stool Sign of food allergies. Usually milk protein allergies. Note: Remove cow’s milk formula and use an semi-elemental formula (Alimentum®, Nutramigen®Gerber® Extensive HA®
or Pregestimil®). If you are breastfeeding, you’ll need to eliminate all dairy from your diet.  Check with your baby’s pediatrician to complete a milk protein allergy testing to get a better picture.
 
Bloody stool Milk, allergies, intestinal infections, or gastrointestinal bleeding.  Call the pediatrician right away!
 
Chalky White Liver or gallbladder problem because of bile malabsorption. Call pediatrician right away!

There’s several parenting sites that has visual I like that decipher the baby’s poop mystery for mothers (and fathers) to look at.  First one is from Parents: Baby Poop Guide they also have a very nice pdf file to download and keep it handy at home. All you have to do is simply becoming a member with no fees or obligations. Here’s their PDF Parents_Baby_Poop_Guide to save you a trip to sign up if you don’t want to subscribe.  Second site is  Baby poop: A complete guide | BabyCenter and the third one is from Similac Diaper Decoder. I quite like the Similac decoder page because it tells you the reason why the poop is the way it is and if you should be worried.

Again, this is all just a guidance for the first time parents. A proper diagnosis from your child’s pediatrician is highly recommended if your child is experiencing any abnormal signs and symptoms of their bowel movement!

 

 

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