What is baby poop like and what are the warning signs?

A few days ago we explained to you what baby pee is like and what we should take into account if it changes color, smell or appearance. As urine is not the only thing that a baby eliminates, we are going to talk today about her friend poop, explaining what baby poop is like , how it changes over time and what are the signs that have to put us on alert , for if something was happening.

The first poop, which we can also call feces to make it thinner, is expelled by the baby during the first days of life. It is meconium , a dense, sticky, dark green or even black substance that “resided” in the baby’s intestines and must be eliminated in order to digest milk well. Meconium, if you wonder what it is, is the remains of pregnancy, dead cells and secretions from the digestive system combined with amniotic fluid, mucus, lanugo and ultimately everything that has been entering your mouth.

In the process of eliminating the meconium, the poop will change color, gradually leaving it to be so dark to take on a greenish-yellow tone and finally a mustard color with lumps , which is the normal and usual color of the stool of a baby.

The consistency of baby poop

Many parents doubt whether it is normal for their son or daughter to poop so soft, so undone, and they even ask if it is not possible that they have diarrhea. Following logic, if the baby only drinks liquids, the most normal thing is that the stools are soft, sometimes almost liquid.

They only change a little if a baby does not drink breast milk and drinks formula. In this case, the poops acquire a yellowish cinnamon color and are more consistent, usually because the digestion of infant formulas is slower and more tedious than that of breast milk, which reaches the stomach like a glove, that is, being an easy and fast digestion (unless some food consumed by the mother produces some kind of discomfort or reaction).

In the event that the child’s stools are hard and dry, whether it is breastfeeding or bottle feeding, we might think that they are drinking too little liquid or that they are eliminating too much due to heat, fever or illness. If this happens later, when you already eat solid foods that could cause constipation (cereals, banana, carrot, …), we might think that you need to eat more variety, reducing the amount of those that constipate you, as you could be eating too many.

Changes in stool color

Specific changes in color and consistency are usually normal. If, for example, a digestion takes longer because that day you have eaten cereals or other foods that require more time to be digested, the poop has a greenish tone , if the baby takes an iron supplement it will be dark brown or almost black and if it has the irritated bum, to the point of having an external wound or fissure, streaks of blood may appear. If, on the other hand, more blood, mucus or water is observed, it would be advisable to discuss it with the pediatrician as he could be suffering from some type of infection such as gastroenteritis or an intestinal problem.

Diarrhea or gastroenteritis in the baby

Sometimes, as I have mentioned, it can be difficult to know when the baby has diarrhea, since they already have a lot of stools throughout the day and these are liquid or semi-liquid. Let’s say the clearest sign would be the increase in frequency , maybe even two per serving, and seeing that the poop is even more liquid than it was. Diarrhea is usually a symptom of an intestinal infection (gastroenteritis), although it can also be due to a change in diet. If you drink breast milk, there will be little change, of course, so the difference may have occurred in the mother’s diet.

What should concern us in case of diarrhea, whatever the cause, is the risk of dehydration . As we are talking about lactating babies, babies who drink milk, the treatment is none other than to continue feeding them frequently, that is, breast milk on demand or bottle on demand . In any case, if you want more information, I refer you to the entry I wrote a while ago about the diet of babies and children when they have diarrhea .

In case you have a fever, it is advisable to ask your pediatrician. If we are talking about a child under 3 months, my recommendation is to take him directly to the hospital , as it is a small baby who is having an infection, and it is necessary to control and treat it. If you are older, we can go to the primary care center for your pediatrician to assess it.

The frequency of bowel movements

It is very difficult to say what is the normal frequency of bowel movements for babies because it varies a lot from one baby to another . Many babies poop shortly after feeding, this is due to the so-called gastrocolic reflex, whereby the digestive system is activated when food enters the stomach. Others, on the other hand, have a lower frequency and come to make a stool a day, or sometimes even none (one every two or three days, abundant). In this case, it will be necessary to see if this low frequency is due to a normal process, that is, because the child has that rhythm or if he does little poop because he eats little. If it is the former, nothing happens. If it is the latter, it can be very dangerous for your health, as you could be malnourished.

By a month or two, many breastfed babies have only one stool a week . That is to say, at first they had a rhythm of 5-8 a day, more or less, and suddenly they do only one in many days. This is normal and is because breast milk produces too little solid waste for the child’s digestive system to eliminate. This is why it is not considered a problem and is not called constipation. It would be if the baby had a bowel movement a week and it was hard. Then we would talk about constipation and then we would have to find a solution. If, on the other hand, the poop is soft, the child is eating normally and is gaining weight well, nothing needs to be done.

Babies who drink artificial milk, on the other hand, have to have a more constant rate of bowel movements. The normal thing is that they do at least one bowel movement a day . In case that is not the case, we must observe if at the time of pooing he is making a lot of force , if it costs him, let’s go, because in that case it is possible that the stool is harder than desirable and then we could be talking about constipation .

In this case, a change of milk can solve the problem, changing the one that is being used for one of another brand or for its more digestive version. Before they called them anti-constipation and now they usually call them Digest or something similar, because they have combined anti-colic and anti-constipation in a single product with a more “digestible” name. If this were not enough, it would be necessary to speak with the pediatrician to assess the need to use a baby laxative.

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