Our child’s poop can vary in colour, consistency and frequency. Yet, it can tell us a lot about our child’s health condition too. We probably never expect to be as intrigued and concerned over somebody else’s poop until we become parents. Whether your baby is breastfed or formula-fed, you should observe your baby’s output to watch out for warning signs about your baby’s health.
The first few poops that a newborn produces is meconium, and it is made up of amniotic fluid and other waste materials from the womb. It resembles tar and is black and sticky. After the meconium days are over, your baby’s poop will reflect the body’s reaction to his or her diet, which is made up of breastmilk or infant formula milk.
Breastfed Baby Poop
Breastmilk is naturally produced by human mothers for their babies, and its nutritional composition is customised according to your baby’s needs at a particular stage, as well as his health. It contains two types of protein – whey and casein. The composition of 60% whey, 40% casein is the perfect balance for quick and easy digestion by infants.
A watery, golden mustard yellow is the standard for breastfed baby poop. Seedy and pasty looking, it resembles diarrhoea. As breastmilk is so easily digested, very little solid waste is produced, making it more watery compared to formula-fed baby poop. For healthy babies, the poop smell is less offensive for babies on breastmilk as compared to babies on infant formula.
When solids are introduced after the baby turns six months old, the stool may take on a thicker consistency, and colour of poop changes.
Babies who are on breastmilk have a varied stool frequency with some passing motion as many as 10 times a day to once every 10 days! Though this may scare new parents, if the baby is producing enough wet diapers and the baby is feeding well and active, it is likely not a cause for concern. However, do check with your baby’s doctor if you are feeling unsure, or notice a change in the stools.
- Watch Out
Green and frothy poop means that your baby has ingested too much foremilk (low-calorie milk) and lesser hindmilk (higher fat milk). To resolve this problem, simply let your baby finish feeding on one breast instead of switching sides after a set duration.
Formula-fed Baby Poop
Yellow, brown, green, tan – formula-fed baby poop may take on these colours depending on the composition of formula milk. The iron content in formula milk causes stools to take on a green tinge. The consistency should be like that of peanut butter.
When formula-fed babies start on solid food, their poop may become harder. Hence, it is important to offer your child with water throughout the day. This helps ensure your child is well hydrated as having sufficient water plays an essential role in digestion.
Generally, as formula milk contains a higher percentage of casein, the digestion process differs and thus, formula-fed babies may poop less often than breastfed babies.
What you should look out for
Whether your baby is formula-fed or breastfed, if you notice that their stools are hard and pellet-like, it is a sign of constipation and you should feed them more water or breastmilk.
For breastfed children, it could be due to a change in maternal diet which disagrees with the baby’s gut. Each child’s body reacts differently to different brands of formula milk, so it’s common to observe constipation symptoms during the initial transition from breastmilk to formula milk.
If your baby’s poop appears different from normal, it could warrant immediate medical attention.
- Slimy, green streaks with glistening strings is a sign of mucus and could be due to infection.
- Dark, sticky and black poop is a sign of digested blood
- Red blood in poop could be due to a milk protein allergy, but if it is found in diarrhoea, it could be due to a bacterial infection. However, blood in poop could be a sign of other underlying issues, so it’s best to check with your child’s doctor for advice
- Pale, chalky poop could be a sign of liver or gallbladder failure
Poop takes on many appearances and most times, it shows that your baby is well-fed, healthy and growing normally. However, if you notice a drastic change in your baby’s poop, observe the situation and contact a medical professional. If possible, bring along the soiled diaper in a ziplock bag or take a photo for the doctor to make a better assessment.
Have you been observing your child’s stools too? Do comment below on your experience with your baby’s poop diary too!