You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent!

The scoop on baby poop

New parents can have full conversations revolving around baby poop.  The color of the poop, the amount or lack there of, the smell, the consistency and the frequency all can be topics.   Who ever thought that we would talk about baby poop over dinner and actually put our nose up to our darling child’s behind to see if there is a surprise in that diaper for us?!  Yes, parenthood can result in most of us doing things, talking about things, and wondering about things that would never have crossed our minds in the past and poop is one of them!  So what is normal and what is not?  Here is the scoop on baby poop:

Baby’s first poops

  • Those first poops are usually black, tarry, and sticky.  These poops are meconium stools.  Your baby swallows amniotic fluid before birth and his little digestive system starts to work.  These first meconium stools are due to the intake of amniotic fluid.

Breast fed poops

  • After your baby passes the meconium stools and is taking breast milk, the stools will become mustard colored, runny and seedy.  Your baby can have “explosive” stools, but this is normal.  Many babies begin to have a stool every time you nurse!  That is a lot of diaper changes!  Breast fed stools are not smelly but have a distinct breast fed stool odor.
  • After a few weeks, most breast fed babies’ pooping will slow down.  Babies are using so much of the breast milk for growth, there is not a lot left to poop!  Some babies will not poop for a couple of days, some for nearly a week!  Very seldom are breast fed babies constipated.  Most of the time parents worry about the lack of pooping, but the baby feels just fine!  Believe me, there will be a poop, and usually it is a big one after a few days!

Formula fed poops

  • After your baby passes the meconium stools and is taking formula, the stools will become tannish in color and pasty like peanut butter.  Most formula fed babies will have about 4 or 5 poops a day the first few weeks.
  • After a few weeks formula fed babies will slow down with the number of poops per day.  Most babies will have one stool a day and it should still be soft and no harder than the consistency of peanut butter.  Formula fed babies will have more of a tendency for constipation, so if your baby has hard pellet or marble like stools or has gone longer than a couple of days without a poop, you might call your doctor for advice.

Red faced noisy poopers

  • If your baby gets red in the face and grunts or cries with a poop, don’t worry!  This is normal and is not a sign of constipation.  Your baby is NOT constipated unless his poop is hard pellets or marble like.  You can help your baby by bicycling his legs or “standing” him up with pressure on his feet, this will help the process.

The appearance of green poop

  • Many parents worry when they find green colored poop in the diaper, but most of the time there is no need to worry.
  • Some babies that are formula fed will have a greenish looking stool from the iron in the formula.  If your baby is acting fine, then don’t worry!
  • Breast fed babies will often have green stools when there is a foremilk/ hindmilk imbalance.  Simply put, the first milk your baby receives when he begins to nurse is foremilk and is lower in fat than the hindmilk.  Babies that don’t nurse long enough or don’t empty a breast before  switching breasts will sometimes have an imbalance that results in green frothy stools and tummy aches.  Be sure to empty a breast completely before switching!
  • Occasionally we will see a green mucousy stool in a breast fed baby when he is intolerant to a food Mom is eating.  Dairy is a big culprit.  If your baby is fussy, gassy, and has mucousy green stools you might eliminate dairy for a few weeks and see if there is improvement.  Babies that are formula fed can also have a dairy intolerance.  Call your doctor if you see green mucousy stools, a formula switch from cow’s milk based formula may be needed.
  • Some babies just have greenish colored poops!  Normal poop colors range from yellow, to tan, to green/yellow.  If your baby is gaining weight well and is happy, then don’t worry.

Black poop

  • If your baby is taking iron supplementation or is a formula fed baby he may have darker or blackish colored poop due to the iron.  If the stool is very black and tarry looking, then call your doctor.  This can be a sign of intestinal bleeding.

Blood  in poop

  • If a parent sees blood in poop, it usually causes alarm.  There are several harmless reasons that a baby can have blood in their poop, but usually a call to the doctor to check it out is a good idea.
  • If you see red jelly looking poop, it is important to call your doctor right away.
  • Some babies may develop a little tear near the rectum from straining with a poop.  Parents may notice a little streak of blood with a poop, and the baby may be uncomfortable.  This will heal and is not serious.
  • A severe diaper rash where the skin breaks down enough for some open areas may result in a small amount of blood on the diaper.
  • Some babies with a dairy allergy will develop green mucousy stools with streaks of blood, eliminating dairy from Mom’s diet if the child is breast fed or eliminating cow’s milk based formula if the baby is formula fed will usually solve the problem.

Watery poop

  • Poop that is very loose and watery and often greenish in color is diarrhea.  This most often is due to a viral illness.  Give your doctor a call if your baby is having diarrhea, dehydration can be a problem for babies!

Baby poop after solid foods

  • Once your baby starts eating solids, poop changes again!  Often poops will become more formed and stinkier!  Often a parent can’t believe that poop came from such a sweet little baby!  Sometimes the poop will take on the color of the last meal.  If your little one loves his carrots, don’t be surprised to see a bit of an orange poop!  Once your child starts to eat chunkier food, those peas, carrots, raisins and other foods may show up in the diaper undigested!

So…that is the scoop on poop!  You will be changing a lot of diapers, and often what you see may be a surprise!  So, start a conversation with a new parent and I guarantee poop will be brought up…it is a part of every parent’s conversation…before kids who would have thought, right?  🙂

Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.


1 Comment


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