The newborn parents of a baby under 18 months should be expected to lose almost a fourth of their regular sleep schedule. The average parent loses over 109 minutes of sleep per night within the first 18 months of a baby's life. So, in a two-parent household, that means that over 218 minutes of sleep is lost every night due to newborn vigilance.
So, the average newborn parent averages five hours of sleep per night if they are lucky.
And more parents than ever will learn what it is like to lose sleep. In 2016, the percentage of newborn mothers aged between 40 and 44, which is usually the end spectrum in terms of childbearing years, surged by over 86%. More women in total have become mothers within the past few years than in the last decade.
More parents than ever will be learning how to go without sleep. But they will also have to learn how not to be continuously grossed out whenever they approach a newborn's full diaper.
And this is not always a laughing manner. From the baby's vital first poop and throughout the diaper stage, parents need to overcome sleep deprivation and queasiness to learn how to inspect and analyze the overall amount, texture, smell, consistency, and color of their baby's poop.
A cursory glance at your baby's poop, especially the color of it, can tell you a lot about your baby's health and when it may be time to call a doctor. It's always better to call a doctor when in doubt.
But being a parent means enduring sacrifice – even when it grosses you out. By the end of the baby's first year, you may perform over 2,300 diaper changes. Here is what you must know about verifying if your baby's poop is normal.
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Why is Identifying Baby's First Poop so Important?
If any event in your baby's life is likely to cause you a sleepless night, it's peering into the diaper to see their first-ever poop a few hours after their birth.
Your baby's first bowel movement outside the womb is called meconium. And the thing that is normal about meconium is that it is utterly abnormal.
Meconium has no stink or smell because a newborn's intestine has yet to be colonized by the gut bacteria that forms the microbiome, or gut flora. Meconium is greenish-black or blackish-green in color and has the viscous consistency of motor oil. It may cling to the baby's bottom, so you may need to apply petroleum jelly to remove it softly.
So, why is the color, consistency, and non-smell of meconium normal? Meconium comprises the digested meals your baby ingests via the umbilical cord and proximity to amniotic fluid while in the womb. Meconium is the baby-digested residuals of amniotic fluid, water, skin cells, intestinal gland secretions, bile, mucus, and "lanugo," or the soft hairs that cover a baby's body, especially the back, during pregnancy.
As your baby transitions to breast milk or formula, the poop should become lighter in color, watery, and become progressively more stinky.
How Often Should Baby Poop be Checked?
Your baby may fill up to 10 or more diapers daily during the first four or five months of life if you are lucky. By the time your baby is four months old, the frequency of diaper changes may hopefully decrease to four or two every day.
Please remember that these are only baseline estimates. The overall frequency of your baby's bowel movements is determined by physical health and diet, not general statistics.
So, why do you need to peer into your baby's diaper to examine it by smell and aesthetics every time it poops? Your baby's digestive system kickstarts into existence once it passes the meconium and begins nursing on breast milk and formula. And the development of the digestive system is such a fragile time of life.
A newborn baby's digestive system is so immature that it is normal for them to squirt watery poop each time they are fed.
The gastrocolic reflex in adults occurs when the stomach stretches full of food. The colon begins digesting and initiating bowel movements when it is full in turn. A baby's gastrocolic reflex is so immature that you will run through a lot of diapers in year one.
It is important to check a baby's poop every time to ensure its digestive system and overall health are normal.
What is the Normal Amount Per Poop?
The amount of poop you see in a diaper should not worry you that much. Newborn babies usually pass the equivalent amount of poop relative to how much they eat. Remember, your newborn baby may poop after every feeding.
If you notice that the amount of poop decreases as your baby grows, then it should be a sign that its digestive system is developing typically. If you think the amount of poop is abnormal or that there may be an intestinal blockage, consult a doctor when in doubt.
What Baby Poop Colors Are Normal?
When it comes to deciphering the color of baby poop, you should not worry too much. Your baby's poop may assume a variety of colors according to what it ate and its overall health.
You should be concerned if your baby's poop is black, red, or white post-meconium.
After passing the meconium, it will be quite normal for your baby to pass green, yellow, or mustard-yellow colored poop.
Is your baby's poop orange or gray? That color signifies that its newly activated digestive system usually works as it begins eating solids.
Your baby's poop may turn dark green as its digestive system learns to digest baby formula with iron in it.
A newborn baby's poop is usually watery and yellow. As it weans on breast milk and formula and then begins eating solid food, your baby's poop will become thicker, more stinky, and assume many colors.
What Color of Baby Poop is Abnormal?
As previously mentioned, if your baby's poop is black, red, or white, you may want to visit a doctor. If you notice these colors in your baby's poop, don't panic, but have them checked out by a doctor to get the all-clear.
White poop might be a sign of a potential liver problem.
Red poop, or poop with traces of red, may signal allergy problems, gastrointestinal infections, or injuries. If your baby has an intestinal blockage or just strains too hard to poo when constipated, red-colored poo may be a sign of internal damage.
However, teething babies who breastfeed sometimes pierce the nipple and may ingest a little blood, so that red-colored poop may have non-panic inducing reasons.
Black poop could be a sign of intestinal bleeding. It can also mean that your baby is not absorbing nutrients from milk.
Black poop can also be caused by the introduction of iron in the diet via formula, which is no cause for worry.
If your baby is breastfeeding or on formula and has gray poop, It may signify gall bladder or liver problems.
Call a doctor when in doubt.
How Does Poop Texture Consistency Reflect Baby's Health?
Newborn babies excrete watery poop post meconium.
As they grow, your baby's poop should have the texture consistency of mustard. And as they age, this consistency will progressively harden.
How Does Poop Smell Reflect Baby's Health?
The poop of newborn and breastfed babies doesn't smell much because their digestive systems are new and developing.
As babies switch to formula and begin eating solid foods, their digestive systems grow, and their poop becomes more pungent and unpleasant. That is normal.
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