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Baby poop: What's normal?

Dr. Shyam Behari Sharma 87% (164 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, MCh - Pediatric Surgery
Pediatric Surgeon, Jaipur  •  42 years experience
Baby poop: What's normal?

As a new mother, you will be always in a constant state of worry whether you are doing things right. And of those many, many things you worry about, your baby’s bowel movements are one of them.

A baby’s poop is a sign of his/her health. Thus, you do need to know what is normal and what needs medical attention. Read on to know more about your baby’s poop.

What’s Normal?

The kind of poop depends on how you are feeding your child. If you breastfeed the baby, his/her poop will be:

  1. Small in size—no bigger than a coin

  2. Light in colour, usually a greenish-brown or bright yellow

  3. Sloppy in texture

The first few weeks of breastfeeding will produce waste daily, after each feed. The frequency will diminish later, but that is not a concern, as long as the waste is easily passed and is soft.

If you are feeding your child formula, the poop will be different. You will notice that the poop is:

  1. Bulkier

  2. Yellow-ish brown or pale yellow in colour

  3. Smells stronger

The next worry you have is when you change your baby’s feeding routine. When you switch from breastmilk to formula, you will notice:

  1. The poop is darker in colour.

  2. The texture becomes thicker.

  3. The smell also becomes stronger.

The other dramatic change you will see is when your baby starts eating solids.

What isn't Normal?

There are mostly two things you need to be concerned about: diarrhoea and constipation. Both of these conditions mostly affect babies who are formula-fed.

If your baby has diarrhoea, you will notice:

  1. The poop is runny

  2. Frequency and amount of poop is increased

And if you suspect constipation, be aware of the following signs:

  1. Your baby finds it difficult to poop

  2. The poop is dry and small

  3. The tummy is hard when you touch it

  4. There might be blood in the poop

Green poo:

If you're breastfeeding, green poo can be a sign that your baby is taking in too much lactose (the natural sugar found in milk). This can happen if she feeds often, but doesn't get the rich milk at the end of the feed to fill her up. Make sure your baby finishes feeding from one breast before you offer her your other one.

If you are feeding your baby formula milk, the brand you are using could be turning your baby's poo dark green. It may be worth switching to a different formula to see if that has any effect.

If the symptoms last longer than 24 hours, visit your health visitor or GP. The cause may be:

  • a food sensitivity

  • side-effects of medication

  • your baby's feeding routine

  • a stomach bug

Very pale poo:

Very pale poo can be a sign of jaundice, which is common in newborns. Jaundice causes your newborn's skin and the whites of her eyes to look yellow, and usually clears up within a couple of weeks of birth. Tell your midwife or doctor if your baby has jaundice, even if it looks like it's going away.

Also tell your midwife or doctor if your baby is passing very pale, chalky white, poos. This can be a sign of liver problems, especially where jaundice lasts beyond two weeks.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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