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A Guide To Your Newborn’s Bowel Movements

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A Guide To Your Newborn’s Bowel Movements

Knowing what to expect when your baby begins to poo will help new moms know what is normal, or when something isn’t right.


Below is our simple guide on a baby’s bowel movements:


After birth


For the first few days, your baby’s bowel movements should be a dark green to black colored substance called meconium, a combination of mucus, amniotic fluid, bile and other things ingested in the womb.


As your baby begins to feed, his digestive system should be prompted to pass the meconium to prepare the bowels. This is a sign that the bowels are working normally.


If your baby continues to pass meconium for a few days or has not passed any after 24 hours, this could be a sign of intestinal blockage or other problems, and should be immediately reported to your doctor.


Breastfed babies


Once the meconium is out of your baby’s system, and breastmilk comes in, his poo will become lighter in color to a yellowish brown, and loose in texture. Normal poo may either appear grainy or curdled.


For the first few weeks, your baby may poo after every feed until his routine settles. Then he may poo just once every few days. Make sure to check your baby’s stools are soft and easily passed. At this stage your baby should be frequently nursing and urinating.


Formula fed babies


A baby’s poo may be different if you are feeding him formula. As formula cannot be digested as fully as breastmilk, your baby’s poo will likely be firmer in texture like that of toothpaste, and the smell may also be stronger. The color should be pale yellow to brown.


Newborns on formula normally poo up to five times a day, and are more prone to constipation. See your doctor if your baby seems to have difficulties with bowel movement.


Beginning solids


The introduction of solids into your baby’s diet will drastically alter his poo. You will find that what foods he eats will also determine the appearance and smell of his stools.


Colored foods such as carrots will result in bright orange poo, while fibre rich foods including mashed peas can pass straight through and end up in his nappy.


Regardless of what you feed him, his poo should become thicker, darker, and stronger in smell once he begins eating solid food.


What to watch out for


Diarrhoea could indicate your baby is intolerant to a particular food he has eaten. It could also signify your baby has an infection or virus.


Blood in the stools is not normal and can be caused from several different reasons, including broken skin, a food allergy, or other intestinal problems.


Discomfort when passing stools can occur as your baby begins to consume solid foods. This could be from constipation, or may signify an underlying medical condition such as hypothyroidism or coeliac disease.


If your baby displays any of these symptoms, consult your doctor.

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  • Agnes Yoon
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