Babies have different kinds of poo at various stages of development. Poo may be normal or not. You need to know so you can decide when to visit or call your baby’s doctor.

What are the different kinds of poopoo?

The first poop your baby passes after birth is called meconium. Meconium is dark green and sticky, and does not smell. It is dead cells and other things your baby swallowed in your womb. Your baby should pass meconium from the day of delivery up to 2 days after. It reassures you that your baby’s backside is open. If your baby delays in passing meconium, it may signify a problem, so be sure to draw your midwife’s attention.

Once your baby starts to feed, the poop changes a little. It is still green but not as dark, and still doesn’t smell. This is sometimes called transitional poop.

The normal poop of a breastfed baby is golden-yellow, and looks like there are seeds in it. It is usually described by mothers as having a mashed boiled egg consistency. It has a peculiar smell but is not bad. This may be passed up to 8-10 times a day in the initial days. As your baby grows, his stool frequency decreases. It may be as rare as once in 2-3 days if you are exclusively breastfeeding. This is normal. Do not give enemas and laxatives for that. The poop of a formula-fed baby is light brown, like groundnut paste.

Once your baby goes on solids, the poop gets darker and smellier. It may be coloured by foods that baby eats.

How can you tell there is a problem with your baby’s poo?

If the poop is mucoid, watery and comes more than is normal for your child, this is diarrhoea. It may also be red, yellow, brown or green.

Poop may be hard and come out as gravels. Your baby has constipation then.  If baby is already on solids, increasing fluids and adding foods with a lot of roughage, like fruits and vegetables, may help. Constipation may lead to cracks at your baby’s backside, and show up as blood on the poop.

Black smelly poop, likened to tar, may mean baby has swallowed some of your blood, either from your cracked nipples during breastfeeding, or during the birth process. Rarely, it may mean your baby is bleeding in his digestive tract. If your nipples are cracked, do get assistance to troubleshoot breastfeeding.

An occasional green poop may mean your baby doesn’t nurse long enough on one breast to be able to receive the high-calorie hind milk. You can solve this by starting nursing on the breast baby last fed on, at each feed.

There are different kinds of poop, and this is just a guide. Whenever you are unsure, let your baby’s caregiver know. But who knew poop could be this important?

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