Diapers and poop are a part of any parent’s day. And if you’re a new parent, you’re probably always wondering what’s normal and what’s not with regards to your baby’s poop, especially if you see some inconsistencies. While it’s rare for a baby to have a BM that’s not normal, it makes sense to know the basics when it comes to baby poop if you are to have peace of mind.
Your Baby’s Poop: A Timeline
Stool forms in a baby’s intestines even before birth. It’s often full of meconium, a sticky and brownish-green substance that’s made of up amniotic fluid, body cells, bile, and even hair. Despite its makeup, meconium is actually sterile, and is normally passed during birth. Once your baby is 3 days old, the consistency of his stool will change from sticky to watery.
And thanks to your baby’s gastrocolic reflex, he’ll be pooping at least ten times a day for the first couple of months. This will lessen to at least two times a day during his third to his fourth month. There will also be a difference in frequency depending if your baby is breastfed or formula fed. If he’s formula fed, he may poop less frequently since his stool moves more slowly through his intestines. Regardless, he may go between two to four times a day and once a week.
By this time your baby has probably moved on to cereals and pureed foods. This will cause the frequency of his BM and the texture of his stool. If he’s breastfed, his poop will thicken as solids are added to his diet. It’s the other way around if he’s formula fed. And if your breastfed baby used to go only after a few days, you’ll notice that his BM will now be more of an everyday occurrence.
At around your child’s 12th month, his stool will have changed dramatically as a result of his diet, which is now probably composed of more solid foods. His diaper will also show stool that’s harder and thicker, and sometimes filled with pieces of vegetables, thus, the term “salad diaper.”
It may seem that he’s not digesting most of the nutritious foods you’re feeding him, but that’s not the case. His colon is just starting to learn how to process these types of foods, and over time, you’ll see less and less of the undigested bits mixed with his stool.
Going Back To The Basics
There are four general factors to consider when it comes to your baby’s poop.
The texture of your baby’s poop can range from being peanut-butter think to yogurt mushy depending on how he’s fed. If he’s formula fed, his poop will look more like pudding. If he’s breastfed, his poop will resemble a fancy mustard – yellow and curdy. It’s also not hard to tell that your baby is constipated because it will definitely resemble cat poop that’s log like or rabbit poop that looks like a pebble.
Timing is not as crucial as consistency, but you’d still want to make sure your baby moves his bowel regularly. Again, you can expect to dispose of up to ten diapers a day during his first month. After 6 months, he’ll be having BMs of less than four times a day, and more than that may be too many.
Once he’s over 2 years of age, he should poop only once a day. If he moves bowels too quickly, his body won’t be able to absorb nutrition that efficiently, but at the same time, he’ll be constipated if he moves bowels too slowly.
The color and texture of your baby’s poop are a great way to understand the state of his digestive tract. During his first three days, his poop may be greedy black. This is mostly due to meconium, which is primarily amniotic fluid, fatty acids, bile pigments, and intestinal gland secretions. This is normal and will soon pass.
Mustard yellow poop is also considered normal, especially if your child is exclusively breastfed. One of the most common poop color for babies is green. If you’re worried about what causes green stool in your child, it’s most likely your diet if he’s breastfed and his diet if he’s formula fed. What should concern you the most is if your child’s poop is white because it would mean his liver is not working properly.
All poop smell bad, no question. However, poop may sometimes smell especially foul and unbearable. If your baby has just started eating solids, then it’s understandable for his poop to be unusually foul-smelling. But if it suddenly smells extremely foul even if his diet hasn’t changed, then there might be something wrong. Call his pediatrician right away.
Speaking of pediatrician, there are a few scenarios when you need to call the doctor after observing some inconsistencies on your baby’s poop. If your child bleeds or screams in pain while pooping, for instance, or if you see mucus, which is usually a sign of lactose intolerance or infection.
If his stool changes dramatically, too, after you’ve introduced a new food, which may be a sign of food allergy. Both of these are signs that it’s time to call the doctor. Otherwise, there’s no need to worry too much about your baby’s poop.