While your baby doesn’t come with an instruction manual, she will leave clues in her nappy as to the state of her health. Your baby’s diaper contains a wealth of information, which is why it’s no wonder so many new moms find themselves discussing the colour, consistency and amount of their baby’s poop with their friends (after swearing that they’d never be one of those moms before they had kids).
Here’s how to decode your baby’s nappy
How much poop is normal?
Breastmilk tends to be absorbed more completely than other milks. Sometimes there is so little residue that needs to be expelled, that a baby may not have a bowel movement for days. On the other hand, many breastfed babies pass a mustardy stool with each feed, while formula-fed babies tend to have darker stools.
“It’s normal for a breastfed baby to have seven stools a day, or one stool every seven days.” says registered professional nurse and midwife, Pippa Hime.
Should it be this colour?
“Baby’s first poo is called meconium. It’s a thick black or dark green sticky stool that is passed in the first few days,” explains Pippa. “This stool is made up of ingested materials in utero.”
The colour of your baby’s stool will change over the next few days as the mom’s milk transitions from colostrum to mature milk. “The colour of your baby’s stool will then change from dark brown green to a bright yellow orange explosive colour,” adds Pippa.
As a stool moves through the intestines it picks up various digestive juices, bile, bacteria and other chemicals, which will affect the stool’s colour and odour. In normal infants, stools change colour as baby’s diet changes, the digestive tract matures, and it is populated by new, normal bacteria. It’s rare that colour changes signal a digestive problem. Usually colour changes just mean that there is more or less of the yellow, green, brown or orange pigments that are picked up along the way.
Pippa says it’s normal for a baby’s stool to appear like a small yellow paint bomb has exploded in her nappy. “It can appear like loose curd with almost a ‘bird seed’ texture.”
When to worry