As much as it may gross some out, your poop, stools or bowel movements are a direct indicator of your health! It is natural therefore that poop during infancy assumes even more significance.
Mothers can tell that their baby is doing well by just looking at the poop – color, consistency, frequency etc.
The First Official Poop
On the first day of life, the baby will pass their first official poop! It will be black, sticky and resemble a tar-like substance. It is called meconium. It is made of amniotic fluid, mucus, hair and all the other things that the fetus may have taken in during its days in the womb!
Green is Good
Over the next few days as you feed your baby, especially colostrum, the stool color will change from black to greenish. These are called transition stools! Feeding the colostrum is of great importance as it has a highly laxative effect and helps the baby clear all the meconium.
As your milk matures, between day five to seven, you will see the poop change color yet again. From green it is now yellow. It is also fairly watery and has a granular consistency. The baby may pass stools after every feed which could be as high as ten times a day and this is not considered as diarrhea. A baby who is exclusively on breast milk might not pass stools for a few days at a stretch! But as long as the baby appears comfortable and is feeding well, there is no cause for concern.
The number of times your baby has a bowel movement in 24 hours will slow down between 3 to 5 weeks and your baby will now pass bowels only a couple of times a day. This shows that the bowels are gaining control and slowly maturing.
If you find that your baby has passed bright green and frothy poop then it is possible that the baby is taking more feeds of fore milk and this can lead to a weight gain concern. Make sure that you help the baby empty your breasts and also get the hind milk, which will help the baby gain weight adequately.
For babies who are formula fed, you can expect the stools to be deep brown in color and they will also be more formed and pasty. Formula fed babies excrete smelly poop.
Everything Affects Poop
If you are giving the baby any supplements it is normal to see the stools change color. For example, iron supplements will cause stools to appear blackish. This can also be observed once you start giving your baby solids. So, if you have given your baby beetroot on a particular day, expect the stools to be red in color.
Solids and Poop
As you start solids, you will notice the consistency and color of the stools change. Babies on solid diets will have more formed and smellier stools. However, it is important that the stools are still easy to pass. If your baby is straining too much or passes very hard stools and if the stools are pellet like, then your baby is constipated and this should be reported to the doctor.
It is normal to see small bits of food in the stools. It is undigested food and it is fairly normal. Since babies are not chewing yet, some food may pass the digestive tract without getting fully digested and it remains almost whole. At any time if there is blood in the stools then do report it to the doctor as it could be an allergy, an infection or constipation that has caused an anal tear!