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A guide to poop: What new parents should know

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Types of baby poop (Photo: Shutterstock)
  • Learn about the types of baby poop.
  • A guide for new parents.
  • What the different colors mean.

For new parents, understanding the various types of baby poop can be both surprising and essential.

In the early days, your baby’s poop will go through several changes, each indicating different things about their health and digestive system.

The first type of poop, called meconium, is a thick, sticky and dark substance that your baby passes shortly after birth.

Understanding these changes in your baby’s poop can provide vital clues about their well-being and alert you to any potential health issues.

From meconium to solids

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Newborns start with meconium, which then transitions into transitional stool and eventually regular baby poop.

After a few days, the poop becomes less sticky and more greenish-yellow as your baby begins digesting breast milk or formula.

Breastfed babies typically have mustard-yellow, soft and seedy stools, while formula-fed babies might have slightly firmer, tan-colored stools.

As you introduce solid foods, usually around 6 months, your baby’s poop will become thicker, darker, and more like adult stool.

What’s normal for baby poop

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The frequency and consistency of a baby’s poop can vary greatly and still be considered normal.

Newborns, especially those who are breastfed, may poop after every feeding, while formula-fed babies often have fewer bowel movements.

It’s normal for the frequency to decrease as your baby grows, but if you notice any sudden changes in frequency or consistency, it’s a good idea to consult with your pediatrician.

Consistency can range from liquid to paste-like, but hard or pellet-like stools may indicate constipation, which requires attention.

Decoding the c0l0rs

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The color of your baby’s poop can tell you a lot about their health, with a range of colors considered normal.

Mustard yellow, green, and brown are all typical colors for baby stool, but red, white, or black poop (after meconium) can be a sign of potential health issues and should be brought to a doctor’s attention.

Green poop can be normal, but it might also indicate an imbalance in breast milk intake or sensitivity to something in the mother’s diet.

It’s important to remember that occasional variations in color are usually no cause for concern, but consistent unusual colors, especially when accompanied by other symptoms, warrant a checkup.

Smell of baby poop: What to expect

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The smell of your baby’s poop will change over time, especially once you introduce solid foods.

Newborn poop, particularly from breastfed babies, is typically not very smelly, but this changes as their diet diversifies.

Formula-fed babies’ stool tends to have a stronger odor compared to breastfed babies due to the differences in formula composition.

Once solid foods are introduced, you can expect the poop to have a stronger, more adult-like odor, which is completely normal.

Diarrhea in babies

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Diarrhea in babies can be a cause for concern, especially due to the risk of dehydration.

It’s characterized by very frequent, watery stools and can be caused by infections, allergies or sometimes dietary changes.

If you suspect your baby has diarrhea, it’s important to increase fluid intake and consult with your pediatrician for advice.

Keeping an eye on signs of dehydration, such as fewer wet diapers, dry mouth, or lethargy, is crucial in these situations.

Types of baby poop to watch for

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While most variations in a baby’s poop are normal, there are certain signs that should prompt a consultation with a pediatrician.

These include the presence of blood in the stool, white or clay-colored stool or any signs of dehydration.

If your baby appears to be in pain during bowel movements, or if there are major changes in the frequency, consistency, or color of their stool, it’s best to seek professional advice.

Remember, it’s always better to be cautious and seek guidance when you’re unsure about your baby’s health.

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