YOUR BABY'S STOOL
the first few days after birth, babies pass urine and a thick,
green-black stool (meconium). This is the substance that lines
the gut when the baby is in the uterus and it is expelled
over the first few days. It is remarkably sticky and hard
to remove from skin and nappies. For this reason, it may be
better to use disposable nappies for the first few days, even
if you plan to use terry nappies after this. As feedings become
established, the stool becomes more yellow-green. Most infants
have stools daily, but some have them only every two to three
days. Some babies suffer from constipation.
After the first few days, a breastfed baby's stools are yellow,
sweetish-smelling and very soft - sometimes no more than a
stain on the nappy, sometimes a lot more. A bottle-fed baby's
stools are pale brown, smelly and more formed. Some baby formula
milks give a greenish tinge to the stool. The occasional green
stool in a breastfed or bottle fed baby is nothing to worry
about. If your baby has persistent green stools, or foamy
stools, or stools containing mucus, talk to your Doctor/health
If your baby's diet changes or he's sick, the stool pattern
may also vary. If stools become drier, try adding a little
water or juice to the infant's diet. For older babies, adding
fruit or vegetables can make stools less dry. Formula-fed
babies tend to have drier, less frequent stools than breastfed
babies. Breastfed babies are rarely constipated. Just after
birth it seems they have a stool every time they eat. But
after a few weeks the pattern can change to a stool every
two or three days or even once a week. If the baby is not
uncomfortable and the stools are soft, there's probably no
problem. But if your baby is having difficulty passing stools,
see your Doctor/health visitor for advice.
Starting Solid Foods
Once your baby starts solid food, you'll notice all sorts
of changes in his stool. But you need not worry since this
is very normal. You will notice the following changes.
Frequency: Your baby's pooping
pattern can change temporarily the first time you give him
certain foods. For example, bananas and rice cereal cause
fewer stools in some babies, and fruit can cause an increase
in dirty diapers.
Odour: Stool gets its foul odour from the bacteria
that live and grow in the colon and make up the bulk of a
baby's stool. As new sugars make their way into the colon,
different types of bacteria grow and prosper. The result can
be an unpleasant odour.
Colour: Your baby's stool
may turn funny colours depending on what he eats. Carrots
and squash can appear yellow in the diaper. Artificially coloured
juices can create a scary resemblance to blood, and dark green
veggies are notorious for causing very dark stools. With few
exceptions, these changes are nothing to worry about. But
if you notice black or red stools that you can't connect to
any food, tell your paediatrician.
Consistency: The consistency
of your baby's stool will change depending on what he eats.
They can range from hard or firm to loose and slimy. But look
out for watery stools that soak into the diaper, which may
mean your baby is sick or has a food allergy. Also, although
you may see mucus in his stool when he eats certain fruits,
like bananas, lots of it can indicate an irritated colon,
also pointing to a food reaction.