Infant Stools

Infant Stools when Breastfed or Bottle-fed

Weird subject to be talking about, but Most Moms want to know about their baby’s poop. Is he constipated? Does he have diarrhea?

Why is Baby's poop a different color? What is normal and what is not, when it comes to infant stool…

Your Baby’s First Poop (meconium)

Newborn poop “Meconium”, which is usually a dark greenish or black color, is sticky and is excreted after birth. This newborn stool is actually bile, amniotic fluid and dead skin cells, that have collected in Baby’s intestines, while in Mom’s womb.

Meconium is usually passed within 12 hours from birth, but is moved out of Baby’s system faster when Baby recieves colostrum (clear liquid that is produced before you produce mature milk). So the more you breastfeed, the faster this meconium is removed from your baby’s system.

Normal Infant Bowel Movements

* Normal breastfed baby poop, is usually a mustardy yellow color, grainy in texture and quite runny. (unless if it's the first few bowel movements that are dark in color because of the meconium, discussed above)

* Many breastfeeding Mothers say that their baby’s poop does not have a bad smell, but rather a sweetish smell.

* Some Moms might be worried that their baby has diarrhea, but a loose poop is perfectly normal in breastfed babies.

* Formula fed babies have stools that are firmer and darker in color.


Frequency of Baby Bowel Movements

* After the first week of life, breastfed babies usually have a bowel movement after every feed and then after 6 weeks, they can continue to have up to 5 per day or one bowel movement every 7-10 days. (Minimum bowel movements expected daily in table below) Each bowel movement has to be at least 2.5cm in diameter to be considered a bowel movement.

* Formula fed babies usually only poop about 5 times per day in the beginning and after a few months it decreases to about one poop per day.

Minimum number of bowel movements expected per 24-hour period in the first six months

Time period

Bowel movements (minimum)

Color & texture

Day 1

1

black, tarry

Day 2

0-1

black, tarry

Day 3

1

green transitional

Day 4

4

green or yellow

Day 5

3-4

yellow, loose

Day 6

3-5

yellow, loose

6 weeks +

Range from 1 every 7-10 days, to 3-5 per day or more

yellow, loose


Newborn Urination

* A baby will pass about 30ml of urine on the first day of life.

* By the end of the first week, your baby should be passing between 100 – 200ml daily.

* A baby will have one extra urination for each day of life until day 6. So in other words, one urination on day 1, two wet diapers on day 2 and so forth.

* After this, a baby should have between 6 and 8 wet diapers per day for the first few weeks.

Urination in older babies

After 6 weeks a baby will have a wetter diaper with each urination, so a baby may have a few less wet diapers per day.

Color and smell of the urine

Urine should always be a pale color and should not have a strong smell. A strong smelling, dark urine can be a sign of dehydration or other issues.

Other urination issues

Some babies may pass urate crystals in their urine during day one or two after birth. They may also leave reddish stains in the diaper. This is normal in the first two days and there is no need for concern, unless if the little one is not having enough urine nappies.

Constipation

Is your breastfed infant not pooping?

Breastfed babies do not need to poop every day; some breastfed babies may even go 8 - 10 days without a bowel movement. This is because the breast milk is absorbed better than formula.

If your baby goes for more than 10 days without a bowel movement, you should contact your pediatrician.

Moms might worry that their baby is constipated, when he/she makes noises (grunts and groans) while pooping, but this is normal. Baby is still getting accustomed to the workings of the body.

Formula fed babies, should have at least one bowel movement per day, and they should be soft.

Symptoms of Infant Constipation

Tight tummy, cramps and colic like symptoms, stools are dry, small pellets, fussiness, crying and blood on the stools.

Baby constipation causes and read more about constipation in the breastfed infant


Diarrhea

How do you know when its diarrhea?

There will usually be a sudden change in frequency and in runniness;  also these stools are usually foul smelling. Baby may have signs of a fever, etc.

Try keeping your baby away from fruit juice and check that your baby does not have food sensitivities, if the problem persists. Breastfed babies are less likely to get diarrhea as a result of not using bottles, etc. (Bottles may contain harmful bacteria) 

Read more here on newborn diarrhea.


Baby Poop Color

Infant Green Bowel Movements

Most of the time, a green bowel movement is nothing to worry about.

There are a couple of things that may cause green poop:

* Jaundice can cause green baby poops; this will go back to normal, as soon as the jaundice problem is resolved.

* Formulas that are fortified with Iron, can also cause green baby poop.

* Food sensitivities that are usually also accompanied by a rash. Read more on food sensitivity or allergy here.

* Green mucus poop that is frothy may indicate foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. It may also indicate other problems. Read more on mucous in infant stools.

Oversupply of breast milk, can result in your baby drinking too much of the watery foremilk. Mothers should make sure that their babies drink from one breast, until their baby unlatches, before offering the other one, so that he/she  receives the fatty hind milk as well. (So, in other words, do not time feedings on each breast) Mom can always just pump the other breast, and breastfeed from that side with the next breastfeeding session.

- If Mom eats a lot of salad or green foods it can affect Baby’s poop color.

Black Poop

If it is not caused by the Meconuim the first few days, black poop in Baby can be a result of taking iron supplementation or iron fortified formula. Otherwise, if this is not the case, Moms should contact a pediatrician, so that they can check for intestinal bleeding.

Chalky White Baby Poop

This indicates a lack of bile in the liver needed to digest food. You will need to get Baby to the doctor! Other possible reasons for a white poop.

Blood in Poop

Bloody poop can indicate constipation. A bloody stool, can also be caused by blood in breast milk, which is usually due to cracked nipples. Food allergies can cause this too, as well as intestinal bleeding.

Read more on blood in infants stools here.

Introducing Solids

This should be done gradually, to help prevent constipation in Baby and engorgement in Mom's breasts. Many foods may also change the color of infant poop. For example pumpkin could turn the poop orange or peas might turn it green. Infant stools may also become more pungent, darker in color and of a thicker consistency.

Signs of a Problem in Infant Stools

* Infant stools that contain blood, may be a sign of constipation (try increasing Baby’s fluid intake) Yogurt can also keep constipation away (only for babies that are 6 months and older).

* Sudden change in frequency and fluidity in an infant stools, may be a sign of diarrhea.


Other pages on "breastfeeding problems" in connection with infant stools

- Breastfeeding and colic

- Breastfeeding a lactose intolerant baby

- Food sensitivities in the breastfed infant

- Failure to thrive / Growth failure

- Cystic Fibrosis and breastfeeding


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Site by BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr, Studying through Child birth international (CBC, CBD), Author and Mommy of two.






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