A common subject among new mothers, especially those who are breastfeeding, is how their child is pooping. Are they constipated? Do they have diarrhea? Why is the poop a different color? What is a normal stool? This is often a sign of the baby’s health and something that many parents watch and worry about. Here are some signs to watch for to know how your baby is doing.
A newborn’s poop is actually amniotic fluid or bile and consists of the dead skin cells that have collected in your baby’s intestines while they were in your womb. It will usually be a black or greenish color and is expelled right after birth or within the first 12 hours. Before a new mom starts producing mature breast milk, a colostrum or clear liquid is produced. The more of this your child drinks the faster it will move that first stool out of their system.
Once you begin producing mature breast milk and are feeding your child on a schedule, the poop will become a mustardy yellow color. The texture will be quite runny and grainy in texture. A lot of moms describe their child’s stool as rather sweetish in smell rather than being a “stink.” Most often the stools are loose; almost consistent to diarrhea, which is perfectly normal. A baby receiving formula will have a firmer and darker stool.
How often do babies poop?
When babies are about a week old they will have a bowel movement each time they finish breast feeding. The first six weeks of their life they can have one as many as five times a day. Some will only have one every seven to ten days. This is an average of an infant’s schedule during the first week of life:
® Day One- One movement that will appear black and be tarry in consistency.
® Day Two- Zero to one movement that will appear black and be tarry in consistency.
® Day Three- One movement that will appear to be turning greenish in color.
® Day Four- Four movements that will appear to be turning from a greenish color to yellowish.
® Day Five- Three to four movements that will appear yellowish and loose in consistency.
® Day Six- Three to five movements that will appear yellowish in color and loose in consistency.
® From the seventh day to six weeks it will range from one every seven to ten days to as much as three to five a day or more, with yellowish color and loose consistency.
How often do newborns urinate?
When a baby is first born they will urinate about 30ml on that first day. After the end of the first week they should be up to 100-200ml a day. A method of charting is to figure; one extra urination for every day of life until about the sixth day. This means you can expect one wet diaper on day one, two wet diapers on day two and so on. After the sixth day it should be about six to eight wet diapers per day for the first few weeks.
As your baby get older, after six weeks, the diaper will get wetter each time your baby urinates, but fewer wet diapers per day. The urine should be pale and not have a strong smell. If you notice a strong odor or a dark urine it may be a sign your baby is dehydrated or has some other health issue. If you notice crystals in your newborn’s urine during the first day or two, this is normal, there may even be reddish stains in the diaper that are not to be concerned about those first few days.
Is your newborn constipated?
If you are breast feeding your baby they do not need to poop every day. It is not uncommon for a baby who is breast fed to go eight to ten days without a bowl movement. The reason behind this is that breast milk absorbs much more than formula. If ten days or more go by without a movement; however this is a concern and you should consult with your doctor.
When a baby makes noises while trying to poop, if they grunt and make faces, it is not a concern. These are signs your baby is getting use to how their body works. A baby being breast fed should have at least one bowel movement per day and they should be soft in consistency.
When you notice your baby is having tummy cramps, or their stomach is tight, this might be a sign of constipation. Other signs of constipation would be; colic, dry stools, small pellet type movements, fussiness, excessive crying or blood on the stools.
Does your baby have diarrhea?
Diarrhea causes a sudden change in your baby’s stools. They will be much more frequent and stools will be runny and very smelly. There may also be signs of fever if your baby has diarrhea. Fruit juices are not good if your child has diarrhea, and you should check with your doctor if it persists. Breast fed babies are less likely to get diarrhea as they do not get exposed to as much bacteria as there is in bottles. Breast milk is also a good protection for your baby’s gut.
What do different colors indicate in poop?
Most times a green bowl movement is not a concern. Jaundice can cause poop to turn green but will return to normal once the jaundice is taken care of. Another cause of a green stool can be from formulas with fortified iron. If the stool is frothy or mucus consistency it may be a sign of an imbalance in the foremilk and hindmilk. Foremilk is caused by an oversupply of breast milk which then gets watery. To avoid your baby getting too much of this, make sure they drink from one breast until they unlatch, don’t try to switch before your child is ready. When they finish one breast they will get the hindmilk which is fatty. If you baby gets full before they are ready to switch, you can always start them on the other breast next feeding.
Another reason for green poop when you breast feed your child is your diet. When a mother eats a lot of green foods or salad, the babies poop will be green.
If you are seeing black stools after the initial one passed after birth, it may be caused from an iron supplementation. If neither of these is the case, then you need to contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Chalky or White poop:
When you notice a chalky looking or white colored poop this means a lack of bile in your child’s liver which is needed to digest their food. This needs to be brought to your doctor’s attention immediately.
Blood in poop:
A child suffering from constipation may have blood in their stools. It can also show up in your child’s poop if there is blood in your breast milk, sometimes caused by cracked nipples. Food allergies are also an indication if blood appears in your child’s stools.