It might not be your favourite subject when it comes to newborn babies, but poo is an unavoidable fact of life with a little one which many of us become fixated about. From the moment they arrive you will be inundated with it, often several times per day to start with, and you’ll want to know what to expect if nothing else!
What baby poo will occur first?
The first poo your baby will pass will be made up of a
sticky black/green tar-like substance and this is called meconium. It is
present in all babies and can even be delivered in utero or in the early stages
of labour. But more commonly it will occur very soon after their birth and will
last in this consistency and appearance for a few days. The appearance of this
shows that the bowels are in good working order so it’s nothing to worry about.
What happens as the first week progresses?
If you are breastfeeding after a few days the poo will
become more of yellow colour and be mustard-like in appearance. It may even
have a slightly sweet smell and be quite loose in texture and it may even have
a grainy look or appear like curdled cottage cheese. If you are formula feeding
this type of milk cannot be absorbed by the baby quite as well as breastmilk so
it will come out the other end looking more like a paste and have a firmer
Are there any other differences in baby poop?
Obviously all babies are different but as a rule
breastfed babies have much looser stools (sometimes it’s almost like they have
diarrhoea) and tend to smell less than the poop of formula fed babies which may
be firmer but can have a more distinct smell while being also a more
traditional colour (different types of brown). Various infant formulas on the
market can give the baby’s poo a greenish appearance (green baby poo is nothing
to be alarmed by just something to be aware of). It is also thought by some
that formula fed babies are more prone to constipation than breastfed babies.
This can also happen if you switch from breastfeeding your baby to giving them
the bottle – so ideally do this gradually over a period of a few weeks to ease
the transition – depending how long you wish to breastfeed for.
How many poos should my baby do?
As their systems get used to digesting milk (either
breast or formula) they will pass through waste pretty quickly. From week one
you should expect three to four poos a day while this will reduce gradually
over the first year. The main thing is to appreciate is that there will be
changes – the colour of poo, the texture of poo and the number of poos they do
will all go through various phases.
What sort of poo should I be worried about?
Things to be especially on the lookout for are any
signs of blood or mucus in the nappy (these should be reported to a health
visitor or doctor as soon as possible) as well as signs your baby might be
constipated (hard, rabbit dropping-like stools) or have diarrhoea (extremely
watery liquid-like poo that comes our very quickly and loosely, often seeping
through the nappy onto baby’s clothes) as these could be a sign something is
wrong and they may be unwell. For example especially pale poos could be a sign
the baby is jaundiced – again speak immediately to the health visitor or doctor
if you are concerned
Will the poo change when my baby starts solids?
Yes it will. From about six months it is advised to start giving your baby some solid food and you will find this will affect the
texture of the poo as it will thicken and harden up somewhat. You may also be
able to tell in the nappy what they have had for lunch! Banana can come out the
other end quite stringy-like in texture, while bright colours like carrot will
be clearly visible. Raisins and other types of dried fruit often pass through
whole as they are rich in fibre which is harder to digest. As your baby’s diet
broadens it will mean their poos become much more adult like in texture and
unfortunately a lot more smelly too! But this is all to be expected and is a
normal part of development.