One of the most challenging aspects of parenting is mastering the chore of poop duty. While you may be tempted to hand your baby’s diaper to someone else, reconsider!
Changing your baby’s diaper is your one-stop shop to understand their health. Stool may not be pleasant, but it provides vital insight into your child’s digestion system, stress levels, and diet. Today’s leading doctors and dieticians have studied healthy defecation patterns to help parents take better care of their infants.
When the average parent changes over 2,000 diapers within the baby’s first year of life, knowledge is power. Read our guide on what baby poop communicates about your child’s health.
We know taking care of infants is a full-time job. 123 Baby Box takes the convenience of the subscription model and applies it to your life to help you out.
The Different Types of Baby Poop
Your baby’s stool will come in a variety of colors. Understanding the different types of baby poop is how you stay tuned in to their physical health.
Believe it or not, baby poop comes with its own specific terms!
What is the Meconium? (Baby’s First Poop)
This fancy-sounding word refers to the stool newborns create for the first time. This poop is thick and a dark green, made from the materials the baby ingested in the uterus.
The aftermath of a newborn’s stool is also called meconium staining, which refers to the stains left by amniotic fluid. Alongside this strange stool color, your baby has a yellowish tinge to their skin and nails. These colors are perfectly normal and a sign your child is processing their time inside the womb.
Over time your baby’s stool will adapt to their new diet and lifestyle.
Related: How to Bathe Your Newborn Baby
Breastfed Baby Poop Color and Texture
After your newborn has their meconium stool, their poop color and texture will shift. This appearance will depend on whether or not you breastfeed your child.
A common issue first mothers encounter is an irregular digestion cycle. Breastfed babies tend to pee more than they poop due to this diet, but it’s nothing to worry about. Expect your breastfed baby to go two to three days on average without pooping, though some can go as long as seven days.
Breastfed baby poop colors are usually a mustard yellow to an orange color.
Formula-Fed Baby Poop Color and Texture
A formula-fed baby will have a very different color than their breastfed counterparts. Expect this stool to look dark green or olive green.
The reason for this color is due to the amount of iron in baby formula. While green poop may seem startling, it’s perfectly healthy. The texture should be thick and sticky, almost like peanut butter.
If the poop is a greenish tan and comes with a lot of gas? That’s usually a sign your baby has an intolerance to cow’s milk or another ingredient in the formula.
If your baby’s stool is white, we recommend you visit the pediatrician immediately. White or grayish baby poop is a key sign the liver isn’t working properly.
Liver issues in your baby are caused by viruses such as Herpes, Epstein-Barr, or hepatitis. They can also be caused by A1AT deficiency. Diagnosing these issues is difficult on your own, but you’ll at least have a good idea where to start studying your baby’s stool.
Related: How To Change A Diaper
As touched on above, green-colored poop is very normal and healthy for formula-fed babies. The iron in baby formula tends to stain the stool, but isn’t a cause for alarm.
A breastfed baby with bright green stool is receiving too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk. Consult your pediatrician before making a diet change so you don’t aggravate your child’s digestive system.
Black-colored poop can be healthy in certain instances. Older babies with a high volume of iron in their diet may have very dark stool, which is perfectly healthy.
Newborns with black stool is still not cause for alarm unless it happens for several days in a row. After day three, consult your pediatrician for advice. This baby poop is often a sign the baby is not receiving adequate nutrition or is struggling to digest milk properly.
This baby poop color has several reasons behind its existence. You’ll have to do some backtracking to know if this is a cause for alarm or not.
Sometimes babies have a little red in their stool from blood received from chewing too hard on their mother’s nipple. Red flecks are also caused by constipation, which makes the baby overcompensate by straining too hard during a bowel movement. Neither of these reasons are causes for alarm and usually go away on their own.
Bloody or bright red stools need medical attention swiftly. These are a prime cause of a medical concern and are often accompanied by crying, discomfort, or strange stool smells.
Gray Colored Poop
Gray stool is often a sign of a liver problem. As we touched on in the above section, white or grayish stool speaks to a deeper medical problem and should be brought to a doctor.
Gray stool is also caused by solid food your baby is eating. Make sure to carefully track your baby’s diet so you’re not feeding them anything they’re not ready for.
Poop Colors to Be Concerned About
It’s startling to see your baby’s stool be a different color than usual, but you should only be alarmed if the colors are the following:
- Bright red stool (especially if it’s uniform, runny, and smells like blood)
- Gray stool
- Black stool, mainly in newborns
Best Ways to Help Baby Poop
Your baby’s stool is not just affected by diet. There are other ways you can ensure their stool is healthy, consistent, and passes smoothly.
- A warm bath to soothe their muscles and relax their mind
- Dietary changes if they’re showing irritation or intolerance
- Gentle exercise (such as moving their legs while they lay on their back)
- Fruit juice (only for babies who have passed two months of age)
- Massaging their stomach to relieve constipation
Related: When Can Babies Have Water?
Need a little extra help raising your newborn? Contact us today to start your customized baby box subscription!