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Baby Poo: What's Normal, What's Not?

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 26 Jul 2012 | comments*Discuss
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Prior to being a parent, you may have considered baby poo as being a straightforward subject – it’s what naturally comes out and surely it’s all the same? Well, not quite so. Once you are a parent, the issue of baby poo becomes more of a fascination and it’s normal for parents to wonder whether the poo their baby is producing is normal or not.

What Does Newborn Baby Poo Look Like?

When you first see your baby’s poo after birth, the colour can be a surprise to some new parents. It’s normal for newborn baby poo to be a greeny black colour, which is often quite sticky and takes some wiping to clear it completely from your baby’s bottom. This is because your baby is passing meconium – the substance that has been in their intestines during pregnancy.

After a few days, the meconium should all have passed through and, when feeding is established, their poo should turn to being a greeny brown colour. It may at first have a slightly grainy texture or be quite loose. Subsequently it will turn yellowy.

What Does Breast Fed Baby Poo Look Like?

The poo of breastfed and bottle fed babies can differ slightly. If your baby is being breastfed then, after the meconium has gone through their system and they’ve settled into breastfeeding, their poo should become a yellow colour – often quite bright. Their stools may well be loose, but can sometimes be a bit grainy in texture too. The smell of baby poo from breastfed babies may be surprisingly sweet.

In the first few weeks of establishing a feeding routine, it’s normal for your baby to poo regularly – often after every feed – but they should soon get into a routine and poo daily, often at the same time. Their habits may change if they are unwell and can be a good way of your noticing changes to their health.

If you decide to switch from breastfeeding to bottle feeding, it’s a good idea to do it slowly, to help your baby’s digestive system adapt.

What Does Bottle Fed Baby Poo Look Like?

The poo of bottle fed babies are usually light yellow or yellowy brown I colour. Compared to breast fed babies, the stools are also likely to be bigger and better formed; they’re likely to smell more like adult poo too.

It’s normal for bottle fed babies to poo once a day. As their poo is likely to be a bit bulkier than breast fed babies, it’s important that they do develop a regular pooing routine, as if it stays in their bowels, it can become harder to pass and develop into constipation.

Baby Poo When Starting Solids

It’s only natural for your baby’s poo to undergo changes when you start them on solids. In the early stages of weaning, you’ll notice that foods you’ve tried will affect the colour of their poo. For example, it will be noticeable at nappy changes if you’ve fed your baby a mix of carrot or mango puree, as their poo will be orangey in colour. Likewise broccoli can produce a greeny poo!

Expect to encounter the unexpected for a while and expect poos to be smellier than they have been up to now. When your baby is eating a wider variety of solids, then their poo will gradually become thicker and darker. Foods rich in fibre may initially be hard for her to digest, almost passing straight through, but the ability to digest them properly should follow.

What Baby Poo Isn’t Normal?

All parents worry that perhaps their baby’s poo isn’t normal, but usually you’ll find it is okay.

If your baby experiences sudden diarrhoea, especially runny poo, or poo that seems to explode from your baby’s nappy, then you should get your baby checked by a doctor. In many cases it may well be nothing major, and this type of poo problem can often be caused by changes such as teething, but it’s always wise to get them checked just in case they have an infection or medical problem.

Some constipation is common with bottle fed babies, but if your baby seems to be constipated, is irritable and has blood in their stools, then do see a doctor. Sometimes it can be easily solved with minor adaptations to their diet, such as giving babies more water or those on solids more fibre-rich fruits, such as apricots or prunes.

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