Let’s face it, a lot of what you’ll be doing when you first have a baby is making sure it eats, sleeps, and changing a lot of diapers. It’s a universal fact of parenting: you have to monitor your baby’s bowel movement and make certain that everything is going well in that department. It may not be a very nice subject, but it’s essential to keep track and sometimes to discuss with your partner if you think something isn’t as it should be. If you’re a bit lost about how to track your baby’s health through poop, read on.
1) Meconium is a milestone
This is an important milestone, though it might not end up in your album. Your baby’s first poop is known as meconium, and is sticky and dark green-black in colour. It contains all the things your baby took in when it was in your uterus – skin cells, water, amniotic fluids, etc. Over the next few days, your baby’s poop should get watery and lighter in colour. If this doesn’t happen, you might have to consult your doctor.
2) Watch out for diarrhoea
Diarrhoea in your baby might signal an allergy or food the baby can’t tolerate well. If you’re formula-feeding, you may have to change your formula. Otherwise, if you’re breastfeeding, the baby could be having a reaction to something you ate. If the baby is teething, it could be a symptom of that. However, if the child is under three months old, you might want to consult your doctor, particularly if they’re also running a fever.
3) Watch out for constipation
Hard, pellet-like poop might be a sign of constipation. Make sure your baby is well hydrated to help things move more smoothly. Constipation can cause a lot of straining for the baby and it might be a stressful situation, but it should resolve itself fairly quickly.
4) Colour matters
You have to keep a close eye on the colour of the poop. A greenish poop isn’t uncommon; it could be a reaction to teething or formula, but is also normal. Dark green poop isn’t concerning either; it’s from iron in the formula. Bright green poop might mean a breastfed baby isn’t getting enough hindmilk. Mustard yellow stool is normal. Orange isn’t generally an issue; it is usually related to food the baby consumed or medications you consumed. Red flecks aren’t concerning, but bright red stools are – they might indicate an allergy or other medical issues. If your baby is on solids, grey stool is no big deal. Black is fine if your baby is getting iron in its diet, but if they’re a newborn, it might be a sign of inadequate digestion. White stool should get you on the phone to your doctor, because it could be a sign of liver issues.
5) Mucus could be a symptom
Green, stringy poop indicates mucus. This might happen when your baby is drooling a lot, but could also be the sign of an infection or allergy. Keep an eye out.
6) Breastfed or formula matters
Breast milk is digested differently as opposed to baby formula. Breastfed babies pee frequently, but can go up to seven days without pooping (two to three days is more common). As long as the baby’s belly is soft, not rigid, and they’re comfortable, there’s nothing to worry about. Formula-fed babies, on the other hand, poop at least once a day.
7) Help your baby out
Although you can use at home remedies occasionally, if bowel movements are a consistent problem for your baby, see the doctor. You can try peddling their legs like a bicycle to get things moving, use a warm bath, or water and juice. Try vegetables and certain fruits, like prunes, as well. Whole grains would also be useful to add to the diet. More dire cases of constipation might require suppositories or rectal stimulation.
While it’s not a topic that is often discussed in drawing rooms, it’s a subject that becomes very important when you have a baby, as you’ll realise yourself. Bowel movements become an important indicator of your baby’s overall health, and you need to keep a close eye while changing diapers to make sure nothing is going wrong.