Nappy Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Your Baby’s Poo
You probably never imagined that you would have such an interest in the contents of your baby’s nappy. But the colour, consistency and frequency of your little one’s poos will tell you whether she is well fed and healthy. Here is all you need to know about your baby’s nappies from newborn and beyond.
Expert Advice: Nappies In The First Few Weeks – What To Expect:
Clare Boyle, midwife and lactation consultant, give some advice on what to expect of your baby’s nappies in the first few weeks after you’ve welcomed her into the world:
For the first couple of days after the birth, your baby will pass meconium. Meconium is green-black in colour, and has a sticky, tar-like texture. It is made up of mucus, amniotic fluid, and everything your baby has ingested while she was in your womb (uterus).
Meconium has no smell as it comes from the uterus, which is an almost sterile environment. We expect one meconium on the first day of baby’s life, two meconiums on the second day, three meconiums on the third day. That’s the minimum. The appearance of meconium means that your baby’s bowels are working properly.
For breastfed babies, colostrum (also known as the first mik) acts as a laxative – it helps to flush out the gut. The baby feeds about eight to ten times per day taking in very small amounts of colostrum. It acts like a laxative and flushes out meconium. This is just one of the many things that colostrum does.
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On day three to four, the mother’s hind milk will come in. The breasts will feel full and heavy – the mature milk comes in a larger volume.
Now you’ll see a changing stool. The poos will go from green meconium to a yellow almost curry sauce type consistency.
Day Five And Onwards
Then usually by day five, the poos are completely golden – mustard seedy and a little fluffy. Some mothers become very concerned, but it’s actually normal. We know that the baby is getting the hind milk. When a baby is being breastfed, we expect a baby to poo three to five times in a 24-hour period. This tells mother that the baby is getting enough milk. The clue is in the poo!
For the next four weeks, we expect three to five poos in a 24-hour period. Mums can expect the poos to be half the size of a palm of hand. It’s reassuring as it shows that baby is getting enough milk. A little smear is not a proper poo. Most mums will have a notebook or an app, which charts poos and feeds.
At four to six weeks, the volume of poos slows down and it’s not uncommon for a baby to poo twice in a 24-hour period. This is the way it will be right up until six months. The poo will remain golden in colour and smell sweet. The reason for this is that breast milk is high in sugar.
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Sometimes, poo is green in colour, which could mean that mum is taking iron supplements and it can affect the baby’s stools. Often, if baby has food sensitivities, their poos will be green and frothy.
Breastfed babies do not get constipated. Breast milk is 87% water – if baby is not pooing it means that they’re not getting enough breast milk.
Formula-fed babies may poo up to five times a day when newborn, but after a few months this can go down to once a day. Formula-fed babies also have dirty nappies that are usually more formed and smellier. Make sure the baby is having their daily fluid requirements.
READ MORE: How To Choose The Right Nappy For Your Baby
Weaning Changes Poos
Once your baby starts on solids, you will notice that her poos become less easy to wipe and will smell more pungent. As she moves on to a bigger selection of foods, her stools will become thicker and darker. The more fibre-rich foods will pass straight through your baby, until her digestive system has developed enough to deal with them properly.
Dry And Hard Poo
If your baby’s poo is brown, dry and hard in consistency, she may be constipated. The stool might look like little pebbles. Formula-fed babies or babies moving onto solid foods can occasionally become constipated. It could indicate that she is not getting enough fluids.
Constipation can sometimes cause small tears around the anus which can come about from baby pushing or straining to remove her poo. You might notice your baby’s hard poos are streaked with a small amount of bright red blood. This normally resolves itself once baby’s constipation gets better. If this doesn’t resolve after one or two poos, then contact a medical professional.
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Your baby may be suffering from diarrhoea if her poo is very runny and pooing more often and passing a greater amount than normal. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from diarrhoea because breast milk helps to prevent the growth of the bacteria that cause it. However, a breastfed baby’s stools can sometimes be watery but this can be part of their normal bowel habit.
To prevent dehydration, give your baby lots of fluids – whether this is formula, water or breast milk. Call your GP if your baby has at least two diarrhoea filled nappies and if it lasts for more than a day. Do not give your baby anti-diarrhoea medicine unless prescribed by your GP. Make sure that you wash your hands after every nappy change to prevent recontamination.
When To Worry
- Streaks of blood – this could indicate that your baby has an intestinal problem.
- Pale, chalky white poo – this may be a sign that your baby has liver or gallbladder failure. This type of poo requires urgent attention from a medical professional.
- Black poo – once your baby has passed the meconium as a newborn their poo should not be black in colour again, unless they are taking an iron supplement, which will turn their poo into a dark brown/slightly black colour. Black poo could indicate that it contains blood. This blood is dark in colour because it has entered at the upper part of your baby’s digestive system or intestines. This could indicate an illness, injury or allergy and also requires urgent attention from a medical professional.
If Any Of The Following Are Present Consult Your Doctor:
- Tight empty rectum
- Bloody diarrhoea
- Failure to thrive
Prevent Nappy Rash
The best way to deal with nappy rash is to try to prevent your baby getting it in the first place.
- Change wet or soiled nappies as soon as possible. Young babies need changing as many as 10 or 12 times a day; older babies at least six to eight times.
- Clean the whole nappy area thoroughly, wiping from front to back. Use plain water or baby wipes.
- Lie your baby on a towel and leave the nappy off for as long and as often as you can in order to let fresh air get to the skin.
- Use a barrier cream, such as zinc and castor oil.
- If your baby gets nappy rash you can treat it with a nappy rash cream.
READ MORE: The 5 Best Tips For Treating Nappy Rash
Are you worried about your baby's poo? Tell us about it in the comments below.