How to identify healthy baby poo

It’s amazing how much time parents spend inspecting babies’ nappies! You tend to worry that your baby’s poo is the wrong colour or texture, or that he’s pooing too often, or not enough. Huggies expert and midwife, Lynne Bluff, sheds some light on healthy baby poo and what to look out for.

ALSO SEE: Everything you need to know about baby poo, pee and spit-up

Different types of baby poo and what they look like

Newborn poo

Meconium is a baby’s first poo. This is usually a dark greenish or black colour and is very sticky. This newborn poo is actually bile, mucus, amniotic fluid and dead skin cells that have collected in baby’s intestines while they were growing in your tummy. It may be difficult to wipe off their tiny bottom because it is so sticky, but it is a good sign and shows that your baby’s bowels are working normally. Meconium is usually passed within 12 hours after birth. This process is speeded up by colostrum. Colostrum is the first secretion from a woman’s breasts after giving birth. It is rich in antibodies and has a laxative effect, so the more you breastfeed the faster this meconium will be excreted. By the second day or so baby’s poo will be green and then will move to a mustard yellow colour with a soft to liquid texture which is a typical breastfed stool.

Breastfeeding poo

Bright or mustard yellow. This yellow poo may smell slightly sweet. It is loose in texture. The poo may seem grainy at times and curdled at others. In the early weeks, your baby may poo during or after every feed. Some moms might be worried that their baby has diarrhoea, but a runny poo is perfectly normal in breastfed babies.

ALSO SEE: 5 baby tummy troubles and how to treat them

Formula fed poo

Formula fed babies normally need to poo every day to feel comfortable and avoid constipation.

Lots of baby’s strain and cry a bit when they poo, but it doesn’t mean there’s a problem. As long as your baby’s poo is soft and easy to pass, there’s no cause for concern. Formula fed babies’ poos are bulkier in texture than breastfed babies (a bit like the texture of toothpaste). This is because formula milk can’t be digested as fully as breast milk. They may be pale yellow or yellowish-brown in colour and strong smelling. Formula fed babies are more prone to constipation than breastfed babies and usually poo about 5 times per day in the beginning and after a few months, it decreases to about one poo per day.

ALSO SEE: 7 ways to relieve baby constipation

When to worry

Call the doctor if you notice the following:

  • Normal poop tinged with red blood, which can be a sign of a milk protein allergy or the mother has got cracked nipples and blood from that is taken in by the baby when breastfeeding
  • Constipated poop with a hint of red blood, likely a result of a tear in the anus.
  • Diarrhoea mixed with red blood, which can indicate a bacterial infection.
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