Poop - what’s normal and what’s not
If you are a new mom, you must be wondering how to make sense of the quality, quantity, color, odor, frequency of your baby’s poop. This article aims to help you make sense of it all.
An incredible amount of time, effort and energy is spent by most new parents (including the always-eager-to-help grandmoms) on analyzing the baby poops.
You need not feel embarrassed about this, because, after all, the poop is perhaps the most important indicator of his state of health.
Any abnormality in this area must never be ignored as it could be the first warning sign we would get from someone who only has his appetite, sleep and of course poops to show the world how he is doing!
Quantity: how much is good enough?
According to medical director Kenneth Wible of the Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo, it all depends on the type of diet the infant has.
For example, breast-fed babies could have larger quantity but the quality is thinner than babies who are bottle-fed.
However, you need to remember that in the early days, the baby would pass a lot of stool – 5 to 6 times in a day are normal.
This frequency could vary from one baby to another, and may reduce all of a sudden for breast-fed babies, but there is nothing to worry. This happens when the mother’s milk tends to turn more mature over time.
The important thing here is to ensure that the baby has soft poop and eats, sleeps and gains weight normally.
Density: how thick or thin should the poops be?
Since most babies are fed exclusively on milk for about 6 months after birth, the stool usually has more liquid content. While formula-fed babies would pass stool that is more yellowish in color, breast-fed infants could have more water content and curd formations in their poops.
Colour: How to decode?
The colour of baby poops simply signifies the time it takes for the baby to digest the food he is having.
According to California pediatric gastroenterologist Barry Steinmetz of at Miller Children's Hospital, yellow coloured poops signifies rapid transit time through the baby’s digestive system.
But when the transit time reduces, the poop color could change to green. When the speed slows down even more, the stool may appear brown.
There is no real cause for concern when these colors change. The reason why most babies’ poop is yellow is because of the short time in transit.
Baby poop: points to ponder
- Not missed stools but formed poop which appear like small pellets are first signs of constipation.
- Runny poop could indicate diarrhea. It is recommended that you seek doctors’ advice immediately as it could indicate something more serious, like virus infection etc.
- Colours that demand immediate doctor intervention are red and black.
- When the poop is like mucus, it could mean a viral infection. The baby usually has diarrhea, fever and is irritable. Call your doctor immediately.
- Switching to solid foods could mean change in consistency, frequency and color of the poop. There is nothing to worry.
- ‘Normal’ poop depends on the age and diet (breast or formula-fed or solids).
This article is written by Indira Mukherjee