Newborn

What can the color of our newborn’s stool tell us?

A new mother must learn to understand many aspects of her newborn child. She must learn to interpret crying , her needs, to respond to any discomfort. It’s not all very simple and in fact the first month of life is a sort of running-in after which everything (or almost) travels downhill.

We can understand a lot about the baby’s well-being from the frequency with which he pees (at least 6 diapers in 24 hours) , but also from how many times a day he passes. Furthermore, the color of the feces is another parameter that should not be underestimated!

The color, texture and smell change almost every day, making it difficult to know what to expect and what to “categorize” as “normal”. Here we try to explain everything you should know about your baby’s poop.

The first diapers

Your baby’s first stool will be a greenish-black color with a thick, sticky consistency. However, this aspect is normal. The first stools of newborns are represented by meconium and have the characteristics listed above.

Unlike the feces she will produce in the following days, the first ones do not come from the milk she eats but from what she ingested in the uterus including amniotic fluid, mucus and skin cells.

Meconium is odorless but tends to stick to the baby’s skin .

Between two and four days of life the discharges become less sticky and the color tends towards military green. Also in this case it is not an alarming color, it just means that the newborn has started to digest the milk it takes from the mother’s breast (or from the bottle).

If your stool becomes bright green and frothy, it means you are not eating enough calories. This could be due to not feeding long enough from each breast. A tip is to start the feed from the same breast where the last one finished so that the little one is able to take even the fattest part of the milk. This is because during the feed, the watery milk rich in sugars and proteins comes out first and then the fat part gradually increases.

Brilliant green can also be due to what the mother is taking so it is good to talk to the doctor.

If the stool is green with light streaks, this usually means mucus is present. It is quite common in children who drool a lot but it can also be a sign of infection. So call your doctor if this type of discharge continues.

What is the normal color of a newborn’s stool?

If the baby is breastfed the color will be yellow/green with a soft and creamy consistency.

If the baby is fed formula milk, the normal stools are brownish in color and a little firmer than those of breastfed babies. Their smell is also more acrid than the feces of breastfed babies.

What if I find blood in the baby’s stool?

While it may not be serious, it’s always a good idea to call your doctor. It could be a sign of allergy or infection. If there is brown/black blood, this could mean that the blood has been digested (which happens if the nipples are inflamed and bleed during feeding).

Is diarrhea always a bad thing?

Normal newborn stools are soft and creamy. It is important to recognize the signs of diarrhea: in this case the faeces you find in the diaper are much more watery and liquid than normal and often come out of the diaper
Diarrhea is often a sign of infection. Therefore, if the baby is younger than three months or you have changed more than 2-3 diapers due to diarrhea, it is advisable to call the doctor.

What is the normal color of a newborn’s stool?

If the baby is breastfed the color will be yellow/green with a soft and creamy consistency.

If the baby is fed formula milk, the normal stools are brownish in color and a little firmer than those of breastfed babies. Their smell is also more acrid than the feces of breastfed babies.

What if I find blood in the baby’s stool?

While it may not be serious, it’s always a good idea to call your doctor. It could be a sign of allergy or infection. If there is brown/black blood, this could mean that the blood has been digested (which happens if the nipples are inflamed and bleed during feeding).

Is diarrhea always a bad thing?

Normal newborn stools are soft and creamy. It is important to recognize the signs of diarrhea: in this case the faeces you find in the diaper are much more watery and liquid than normal and often come out of the diaper
Diarrhea is often a sign of infection. Therefore, if the baby is younger than three months or you have changed more than 2-3 diapers due to diarrhea, it is advisable to call the doctor.

If the newborn is constipated?

After reaching six weeks of age, it may be normal for the baby not to have a bowel movement for a few days. Breastfed babies are rarely constipated . It is normal for the baby to whine or cry while pooping but if you see that the baby is not well, call the pediatrician.

Constipation is more common when solid foods are introduced and the child may struggle to free themselves. This shouldn’t be a concern unless you notice three or more diapers with stools that look like pebbles because of how hard they are.

How frequent should the discharge be in the newborn?

The frequency is highly variable but you can expect to change an average of 4 poop nappies per day during the first week of the baby’s life. This number is then halved and then comes down to just one time.

If the baby is breastfed, discharge may occur after each feed in the first few weeks.

Infants fed on formula milk may discharge up to 5 times a day in the early days but after a few months the number drops to once a day.

Is this normal white diaper discharge?

A white discharge in a baby’s diaper a few days after birth is perfectly normal and is caused by hormones that have passed through the placenta.

These hormones may cause a discharge of mucus, or a mini-menstrual cycle, but these hormones will soon disappear from your bloodstream.

What if the discharges are much clearer than normal?

If you notice that they are much lighter than normal, call your pediatrician right away.

Pale or gray discharge is often a sign of liver disease.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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