The 411 on Baby Poop - Infant Bowel Movements
You wouldn’t think there was that much interest in baby poo, but it seems new moms and experienced moms alike want to know more about baby poop. Your baby’s first bowel movement will be black or greenish black and look like tar. It will be really sticky too. This is called meconium.
Your baby’s first poop - meconium
During your pregnancy your baby’s digestive system starts to work by swallowing amniotic fluid. Meconium, which is made up of amniotic fluid, bile, and shed skin cells, begins to collect in your baby’s intestines while he is in your womb.
When your baby has his first bowel movement, he will empty the meconium that has been collecting. Most babies start to pass meconium within 12 hours of their birth. Not passing meconium during the first 24 hours can be a sign of a complication such as an intestinal obstruction. Occasionally, babies have their first bowel movement in utero. This can happen if baby is in distress. Furthermore, passing meconium into the amniotic fluid can cause a complication known as meconium aspiration syndrome.
The first month of baby poops - what to expect
Once your baby passes the meconium out of his system, his poop will begin to change colors. If you are breastfeeding, your baby’s stools will be mustard colored, seedy, and runny. If you are formula feeding, they will be tan colored and soft. Formula-fed babies’ stools are firmer than breastfed babies but they should not be any firmer than a peanut butter consistency. Some moms say that a breastfed baby’s poop doesn’t stink. It has a distinct smell that some describe as sweet but it still has an odor.
Babies that poop a lot
If your baby is breastfed expect a lot of poop, at least in the beginning. Breastfed babies often have a bowel movement after every feeding for the first few weeks. If your baby is breastfeeding, he may go after every feeding or he may go several times a day. Don’t be alarmed by this. If it is runny and seedy that is perfectly normal for a breastfed baby. A lot of new moms mistake breastfed stools for diarrhea.
If your baby is a formula-fed baby, he will poop a lot in the beginning too. Formula-fed babies do not have as many bowel movements, generally, as breastfed babies but you can expect four or five poops a day in the first few weeks.
Babies that don’t poop for several days
Once your baby is about one month old, he may start having fewer bowel movements. If your baby is breastfed, he may go several days to a week without having a bowel movement. This is nothing to worry about. Exclusively breastfed babies rarely have problems with constipation. If he goes longer than a week, he seems to be in pain, or if you are concerned, call your pediatrician.
Formula-fed babies poops slow down at about a month as well. However, formula is more likely to cause constipation than breast milk. Most formula fed babies will have about one bowel movement a day. Stools should be soft. If you notice your baby’s stools are firm or hard and pellet-like, he may be constipated. If your baby goes longer than two or three days without a bowel movement and he is formula fed, you should give your pediatrician a call.
Babies that grunt and cry when they poop
If your baby does a lot of grunting when he poops don’t worry. This is normal. Babies sometimes grunt, cry or turn red when they have a bowel movement. This is nothing to worry about. A lot of new parents mistake this grunting for straining and constipation. Once your baby gets used to his bodily functions and how they feel, he won’t be as vocal about having them.
Every now and then the notorious green poop may show up in your baby’s diaper. You may take a look at it and ask yourself “how’d that get there?” There are many different causes for green poop. More than likely, if your baby has green poop, it’s nothing to worry about, but here are a few possibilities.