Understanding baby poo and what is normal can be a challenge for new mothers. Here we have tried to put together some facts on baby poo and what is normal and when you need to be worried!
Before you become a parent you would read a heading like the one above
and scoff. You would turn to your other childless friends and snicker about how
ridiculously important poo seems to suddenly be once you have babies and
You laugh about how obsessed parents are with the shape, size, colour
and frequency of their darling children’s darling little bowel movements. You
find this amusing because you don’t know. Until you become a parent.
Having the ability to communicate with your tiny child and understand
what they are trying to tell you is very important. This baby is now the centre
of the universe, and a little baby person that you are entirely responsible
for. It dictates when you sleep, eat, shower, go out, and talk to another
adult. More than anything else you need to pick up what baby is trying to say
to you, so you can try to create some semblance of normality to your existence.
Your baby has three ways of communicating with you; by crying, by
vomiting and by pooping. So you have no choice but become fluent in the
fascinating ancient language of baby poo.
Here are some pointers to get you started.
What is normal?
With babies, there is a pretty broad definition of what is normal, and
lots of different poops will fit into this spectrum.
Your baby’s poo will change as he grows from a newborn and throughout
his first year. His patterns will be different with age, so a baby who is a few
weeks old will differ to one that is four months old, six months old, and so
It will differ depending on your baby’s diet; poos that result from
breastmilk and different (and significantly more tolerable) than those of
formula fed babies, which differ again from baby’s poo once one you start him
How often should your baby poo?
A healthy baby can poo up to several times a day, or may not poo at all
for several days. Newborns will generally poo quite often and then this
stretches out a bit around two months of age once their bodies get better at
extracting all the good nutrients from their food.
Babies on breastmilk may hardly poo at all and this is quite normal, as
poo is made up of the waste that the body doesn’t need, and breastmilk is
created to be prefect food for babies, so produces very little waste product.
As long as your baby does not appear to be in pain, is still taking
milk and having wet nappies and is gaining weight, up to four or five days
going by without a poop can be a pretty normal occurrence. The poo should be
generally soft and easy to pass when it does come.
What colour should it be?
The topic really becomes exciting once you start discussing the rainbow
of poo that your baby can produce, many colours of which are completely normal.
In the first 24-48 hours your cherished little angel will come out with
a thick vile sludge the colour and consistency of hot tar, like nothing you’ve
ever seen from a human being. This is meconium, which is the first poo getting
rid everything that was in his system in the womb. This fades to a dark green
and then after a couple of days will start to look less like road surface
material and more like human excrement.
After this the colour depends on your baby’s diet. Breastfed babies can
poo various shades of yellow and orange, often looking like pumpkin puree,
which has an almost sweet smell.Formula fed babies’ poop looks and smells a lot
more like poop, and will be a variety of shades of brown. The stinkiest of poos
however comes when your baby starts on solids and starts to process fruit,
vegetables and animal proteins.
Why does he make all those noises when he does it?
Interestingly (well I found it to be interesting anyway) babies are
born not knowing how to poo, and have to figure it all out. In the womb all of
their waste is carried away through the fallopian tube, and so their interior
bits and pieces don’t know how to effectively work a poo through the body.
There is often a lot of grunting as though they are constipated or in
pain, but most of the time they are not in distress and this noisemaking is
nothing for you to worry about.
What exactly is a ‘Number Three’?!
This is a rite of passage of parenthood. A Number Three is a bowel
movement so epic that it cannot be contained by any substances known to man. It
will explode beyond nappies, beyond rompers, beyond anything you have to throw
at it. Its ability to spread into places you never knew your baby had will
I remember my first child’s first Number Three like it was yesterday.
We were out at a café and he pooped so impressively that it came up out of the
back of his nappy and spread up his whole back into his hair. I had no way of
changing his little outfit without managing to spread poop even further.
What should you be concerned about?
The vast majority of the time any variation in your baby’s bowel
movements is probably down to something very normal.
If he has not pooped for a week or more however and appears to be in
pain or distress, he may be constipated, which is a very common problem for
little ones with new digestive systems. Some ways you can help to relieve this
Give your baby diluted pear or prune juice
Switch formulas to one that may be more
agreeable to your baby’s stomach
Gentle baby massage on the stomach and abdomen
or cycling your baby’s legs up to his chest and away from his body may help
work things through.
Here are a number of things of additional things you should be on the
lookout for however, and if you notice any of these, be sure to seek some
advice from your family doctor:
Blood in the stool
not gaining weight, or losing weight
your baby has a fever
there are green or yellow discharges coming out with the poop
or yellow spit up
If baby hasn’t passed the meconium in the first
few days since birth
Other symptoms such as those detailed above may be signs of an
obstructed bowel, and you should talk to a medical professional that your trust
to calm any fears you may have.
In the End
Before long you will be fluent in baby poop and get to the point where
nothing new surprises you. Colour, texture, smell; it’s all just a kaleidoscope
of fun. You will have everything under control, so much so that you decide to
have another baby. So little do you know.
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