Are you wondering if everything is OK with your baby's health after you saw a weird bowel movement during a diaper change? There is no doubt that baby poop does come in a few varieties, but those bowel movements can give us some valuable information.
Your baby's first bowel movement after birth is very special. The stuff is called meconium, and it consists of amniotic fluid that built up in your baby's intestines during pregnancy, as well as slime and cells from the inside of your baby's intestines. Meconium usually shows up within 24 hours of birth, and it tends to be black, dense, and sticky. Meconium can be hard to clean off a baby's skin. Moms who gave birth in hospital may be lucky enough to have a nurse help them to clean their baby up, but if you are going to DIY that first diaper change, don't worry: your baby's diapers will be easier to change from this point onwards.
If you are breastfeeding your baby, you can expect your baby's bowel movements to be rather benign. The poop of breastfed babies tends to have a mustard color, and a consistency that is similar to mustard as well. You may never think of hot dogs in quite the same way :). Breastfed poop may contain little white specks. Breastfed babies will soon develop their very own toilet routine. Some will have a bowel movement every day, while others can go days without pooping. As long as your baby regularly has wet diapers, everything is OK. Formula-fed babies also have poop that is light yellow to yellow-green in color. Their poop does, however, tend to be a little more sturdy, and it will also smell more strongly than breastfed poop does. Bottle-fed babies need to poop every day to prevent constipation and pain.
The transition to solid foods
Once your baby starts eating solid foods, those "sweet" baby poops will be gone forever. Depending on how fast you are introducing solid foods, you will notice a huge difference very quickly. Babies who eat grown-up foods will also start developing grown-up poops. Your baby's bowel movements will be more solid just like the food she's eating and will most definitely start stinking more. You will probably be able to tell just what your baby has eaten by looking at her diaper. Some foods (like corn) are never quite digested and will look much the same in the diaper as they did on the plate. Yuck, I know. Carrots can result in a bright orange poop, and bell peppers in a reddish poop.
Poop what is not OK?
Diarrhea is something to watch out for. Some parents think that breastfed poop, which is quite watery by nature, looks like diarrhea. This is not the case. Your midwife, pediatrician or a nurse at the hospital will be able to tell you what normal breastfed bowel movement should look like. It is good to note that breastfeeding itself tends to protect infants from diarrhea. Their formula-fed counterparts have a higher risk of diarrhea. You will be able to recognize a bowel movement that is more watery, and more frequent elimination. If it lasts beyond a day or so, call your pediatrician for advice. An infection may be to blame.
Constipation is another problem some babies encounter. How do you know if your baby is constipated? If he has not had a bowel movement for a while, is crying more than usual, and is pulling that "I need to poop" face for long periods of time, constipation may be to blame. See your baby's pediatrician if you suspect constipation.
Green, foaming poop is also problem you will want to watch out for. This type of bowel movement can point to a lactose intake that is too high, and it happens mainly in breastfed babies. There may be an easy solution to green and foaming poop, however make sure your baby drinks from one breast for a long period of time to ensure she gets that fatty hindmilk. While we're talking about poop, have you considered using cloth diapers? They worked like a charm in our family, but not for too long. Cloth diapered babies may potty train early, you see! Read Cloth diapers a guide for more information about modern cloth diapers, which are not at all the same thing your grandmother used.