One of the biggest issues that arrives with a newborn is about infant bowel movements, ie. Baby Poop! How many times a day should an infant have a bowel movement? Should the baby’s poop be yellow? What if my baby’s poop is green? These are common questions that arrive soon after an infant makes his/her appearance in the world. Here is the dish on infant bowel movements or in layman’s (mom or dad) terms, baby poop.
The First Big Poop-
An infant’s first bowel movement will most likely take place in the hospital after the baby is born. This bowel movement is meconium which is made up of all the stuff the baby had gathered while inside the womb. Amniotic fluid, bile, skin cells and other such ingredients make up meconium. Meconium will be expelled in 12 to 24 hours after the birth of an infant. If 24 hours have passed and the first infant bowel movement has not taken place, it could be a sign of intestinal blockage. Occasionally, meconium is released while the baby is in utero. This happens when the infant is in distress and can lead to other complications such as meconium aspiration syndrome.
Breastfed Infant Poop-
During the first month of an infant’s life it is recommended that the infant be breast fed. Breast milk offers colostrum when it is first offered and is considered the best food for a baby because it has everything the infant will need. A breastfed baby will eat between 8 and 12 times a day. This means 8- 12 infant bowel movements and diapers a day.
A breast fed infant will have bowel movements that are thin, runny and the color of mustard while also being seedy. Breastfed babies will poop a lot and this is the correct color of infant poop for breastfed infants. Expect a bowel movement shortly after every feeding.
Formula Fed Infant Poop-
Formula fed infants will eat approximately every 3- 4 hours during the first month outside the womb. Formula is heavy than breast milk which means it lasts longer in an infants digestive tract. Formula fed infants will have bowel movements less than a breastfed infant but still have 4-6 a day. The color of a formula fed infants bowel movements will be tan or dark yellow and the consistency will be that of peanut butter.
When Not to Worry About Baby Poop-
Parents often mistake the poop of breastfed infants for being diarrhea but if the texture and color remains consistent as what is mention above then a parent need not worry. After a month, an infants bowel movements with slow down whether they are breastfed or formula fed. A parent does not need to worry if suddenly the baby is only having one bowel movement a week after the first month. This is completely normal.
The infamous green bowel movement may roar its ugly head at some point during the first month of an infant’s life. This green poop is often the dreaded poop that makes moms and dads call the doctor wondering what’s wrong with their newborn. Often there is no cause for concern if an infant’s bowel movements are green. Green poop can be expected in infants from iron-fortified formula and in babies who had jaundice. It can also be a sign of a dairy sensitivity, ask a doctor if you are concerned that this may be the case.
When to Call the Doctor About Baby Poop-
If your baby is making grunting noises, crying or seems to be in pain while not having a bowel movement, call your family doctor as this could be a sign of constipation.
If the baby’s poop is black, thick and tarry, call a doctor as this could be a sign of intestinal bleeding. In most cases it is from iron-fortified formula but call a doctor to be on the safe side.
Call the doctor right away if you notice that the infant’s bowel movements are streaked with mucous or are a dark red color. This could be a sign of intestinal damage.
As a baby gets older and starts trying new foods the colors of bowel movements will begin to change and reflect the food they eat. For information regarding the poop of older babies read, Rainbow Poop.