Baby Poo – A Parents Guide
One of the most surprising things about becoming a new parent is just how interested you’ll become in the contents of your baby’s nappy. After all, babies can’t tell us how they’re feeling, so we have to rely on non-verbal clues such as their temperament, the noises they make, their body’s appearance and temperature, and – sometimes very telling in matters of health – the state of their poo.
From the day your baby is born, his poo will undergo many changes in texture, colour, and smell as he grows, matures, and changes what he’s eating. Here’s a guide to your baby’s poo and what it means.
Black, tarlike, and sticky: For your baby’s first few bowel movements, he may pass what’s known as meconium, which is very dark green or brown-black in colour, sticky, and tarlike. Meconium is made up of everything your baby ingested while in the womb, and his passing it is a good thing – it means his bowels are working.
Mustard-yellow and seedy: After your baby’s meconium poo has finished, if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll notice his stools soon lighten in colour to a mustard-yellow, and sometimes appear seedy or curdled. It may be quite loose, but is not diahhroea. It may also smell slightly yeasty or sweet. In the early days, your baby may poo after every feed, but this may taper off so that he is pooing every few days or even once a week.
Brown and pastelike: Newborns who are formula-fed will have poos that are darker than breastfed babies, and also quite smelly. Formula-fed babies usually poo more often than breastfed babies, but may also seem to “store up” their poo for a few days before letting go. So long as your baby’s poo is soft and smooth (a bit like toothpaste in consistency), they’re not constipated.
Greenish-brown: Once your baby begins to eat solid foods at around six months of age, his poos will change again to be more solid and darker-coloured. Often he will have a few “transitional” poos when he begins solid foods that are greenish-brown.
Brown pellets: Sometimes parents refer to these poos as “rabbit plops”, as they appear to be firm, brown pellets that are quite hard and formed in your baby’s nappy. Unfortunately, firm, dark poos are a sign of constipation and may mean your baby is having trouble passing stools.
Bright orange: Has your solids-fed baby been eating carrots? Once babies begin to eat solids, you’ll see all variety of colours pass through their nappy, and sometimes you’ll find a multi-coloured poo in there (if they’ve had carrots for one meal, bananas for the next, and broccoli following that, you’ll get a veritable rainbow!). If your baby’s poo is rainbow-coloured and he is not yet on solids, contact your GP as there may be something amiss.
You may get quite a surprise the first time your baby eats banana….
Red–streaked: If you notice red streaks or threads in your baby’s poo, this could be a number of things. If their poo is otherwise hard and brown, it is possible they are constipated and the red streaks blood coming from small anal fissures that happen when your baby strains to pass faeces. If there is more than a few drops of blood, or if the bleeding is bright red and fresh, or if you notice your baby’s bottom bleeding, see your GP immediately.
Brown and watery: If your baby’s nappy has a very loose, watery brown poo, he has diahhroea. They can come in other colours too, depending on what he’s been eating, and are often chunky and accompanied by a sore bottom. Occasional diahhroea isn’t worrisome in itself, as sometimes the foods babies eat can cause their stools to be loose, but diahhroea can lead to dehydration, which is serious for your baby. If your baby seems unwell or has diahhroea for more than a day, or if your newborn has diahhroea, see your GP immediately.