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The Scoop on Baby Poop

Breastfed or Formula-Fed Poop

Most healthy breastfed babies have loose, seedy, mustard-yellow poop, although some color variation is also normal. Formula-fed babies often have pastier, browner stool. Early on, your baby may have a bowel movement with every feeding. This is normal and should not cause worry -- other than worry about needing to take out a second mortgage to pay for the mountain of diapers your baby uses every day.
 
Gradually, most babies will settle into a pattern of less frequent bowel movements. Although at least once a day is typical, many perfectly healthy babies poop just once or twice a week. Try not to worry about frequency.
 
Similarly, try not to worry if your baby seems to turn purple and struggle with each bowel movement. This is not necessarily a sign of constipation, as many babies struggle with even soft bowel movements. The best indicator of constipation is the consistency of the stool. Hard, lumpy stools mean constipation. Infrequent pooping, or baby struggling with poop, is not a reliable sign of constipation.
 

Starting Solids

Once baby starts solids, the stool gradually changes to become more solid and normal looking. Don't be surprised to find evidence of baby's recent meals in his or her diaper. For instance, before you call the pediatrician about worms in your baby's stool, take a minute to think if you've fed your baby bananas recently, since bananas give the stool a worm-like appearance.
 
Keep an eye out for constipation (watch for hard, lumpy stools), and adjust baby's diet as necessary. High-fiber fruits and veggies, oatmeal, and juice (in small amounts) can be helpful for the constipated older baby.
 

When to Call the Doctor

If your baby's poop is bloody, white, or black, do not hesitate to call your healthcare provider. A few streaks of blood may be normal and due to a bit of constipation (or might be a sign of a sensitivity to cow's milk protein), but a diaper filled with poop that looks like currant jelly is a medical emergency.
 
What about baby diarrhea? Keeping in mind that early baby poop should be quite loose, sometimes it's difficult to identify baby diarrhea. Diarrhea tends to have a green, frothy appearance. Sometimes such stools are the result of gastrointestinal infections; sometimes they can signify food sensitivities or a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance for breastfed babies.
 
In any case, do not hesitate to call your baby's pediatrician for advice. They are baby poop experts and have heard every possible question about baby poop.
 
 
7 Easy Tips for Starting Solids

Caring for Your Infant

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