Poo - it’s certainly not the most glamorous of topics, but if you’re a parent, you’ve probably spent more time discussing and dealing with poo than you thought possible. After all, poo tells you a lot about your bub’s health. Perhaps you’ve consulted a baby poo chart, or searched the internet to learn how to help your baby poo. Either way, you may have a number of questions about your bub’s poo.
Lucky for you, no parenting topic is off-limits. Keep reading to learn all about your bub’s poo.
Your Bub's First Poo
Yes, pooing isn’t a remarkable event, but you’ll probably remember the first time your newborn poos. Their first poo is referred to as meconium, and it’s composed of everything that your baby ingested while they spent time in the womb. It’ll generally be dark green in colour and will have the consistency of tar. This colour and consistency is perfectly normal for the first poo. Eventually, your bub’s poo will start evolving to become more yellow and brown.
How Often Should a Baby Poo?
When it comes to the frequency of your bub’s poo schedule, there’s not one cut and dry answer. That’s because all babies are different, and so is their poo schedule. However, because of their gastro-colic reflex, you can generally expect a newborn to poo shortly after a feeding. But, this tends to differ when it comes to babies who are breastfed and those who are formula fed.
Because breast milk is digested differently than formula, a baby who is breastfed will generally have a poo schedule that’s a bit more unpredictable. This means that one breastfed baby might poo after each and every feed, while another breastfeed baby will poo once every couple of days. Both of these are normal and healthy. Instead of worrying about your bub’s poo frequency, you should instead be noticing how easily your bub is passing poo.
Consistency and Colour
Poo from a breastfed baby is generally soft and may be more runny. You may also see “seeds” which are just undigested milk fat. This is normal and not something to worry about. In terms of colour, this baby poo should be more yellow-orange in colour. Occasionally, it can be green.
Formula Fed Babies
Unlike babies who are breastfed, babies who are formula fed tend to have more reliable, predictable poo schedules. Not only that, but they tend to poo much more frequently. Most babies will poo at least once per day, but it’s not unheard of for a formula fed newborn to poo upwards of five times a day.
However, unlike breastfed babies, formula fed babies can be prone to constipation. This means you’ll want to monitor your baby. Even if your baby is straining to poo but not constipated, you’ll want to make sure you’re observing their patterns and schedules. And if they haven’t pooed in more than a couple of days, you’ll want to contact your paediatrician.
Consistency and Colour
Although the consistency will depend on what type of formula your baby is drinking, this type of baby poo is generally firmer than poo from a breastfed baby. Colour-wise, this poo is more greyish-yellow, and can even have shades of blue or brown.
Poo Guide: What Do Atypical Poo Colours Mean?
Baby poo can come in different colours. And while many of the shades are indicative of a normal, healthy baby, there are also times in which their poo is representative of something you should take note of. Here’s what poo colours often mean.
If your bub’s poo is orange, you generally don’t have a cause for concern. Many times, this colour is simply indicative of what your baby is eating. For example, a baby who eats a lot of pureed carrots may have orange coloured poo.
Poo can be red for a number of reasons. If your bub’s poo has red specks and your baby is constipated, the red colour is probably due to the fact that your baby is straining to poo. On the other hand, if your baby swallows blood from Mum’s cracked nipple, their poo could be red as well.
In more severe cases, red poo may be a sign of allergies, an infection, or another medical condition. If you think this could be the case, contact your paediatrician immediately.
If your newborn’s poo is still black a few days after birth, this could be a sign that they’re not digesting milk properly or that they’re not receiving enough nutrition. For older babies, black poo could indicate an iron deficiency. This isn’t a cause for concern, but it’s good to share this with your paediatrician.
White or Grey
Once again, this colour could be indicative of something that your baby has recently eaten. However, in more severe cases, white baby poo could be a sign of gallbladder or liver problems.
It may seem gross, but if you ever have a suspicion that your bub’s poo is off, you should always take a soiled nappy or a poo sample with you to your paediatrician. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what is wrong with your baby.
Signs of Constipation
If your baby is constipated, you’ll most certainly know. Typical signs of a constipated baby include:
- Straining or crying when trying to poo
- Very small, dry, or hard bits of poo
- A hardened tummy
Your baby may be constipated for a number of reasons, although the most common causes of constipation are dehydration, changes to your bub’s diet, any new medications, and anal fissures.
If your baby is having a hard time pooing, you’ll want to try and provide any sort of relief that you can. Sometimes, giving them water and juice or high-fiber foods can assist with loosening their stools. Other times, giving them a warm bath will do the trick. You can also peddle your bub’s legs as if they’re riding a bike; sometimes this helps kick-start the digestive process.
What to Do if Bub Has Diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea is similar to constipation in that it should be fairly obvious to know if your baby is experiencing this. Diarrhoea is marked by runny stools, more frequent poos, and sometimes explosive or squirting poo. Although diarrhoea is more common in formula-fed babies, breastfed babies can still experience diarrhoea.
Luckily, diarrhoea usually clears up on its own, and usually within 24 hours or so. If it’s been longer than 24 hours and your baby is still experiencing diarrhoea (more than six cases of diarrhoea within 24 hours), you’ll want to contact your paediatrician.
The various colours and consistencies of baby poo may seem like a lot of information to remember, but you’ll soon realize that as long as you’re monitoring bub and making note of any odd changes, your baby is probably healthy and normal. Nothing to worry about!