What is the composition of your baby's poop?
Your baby's bowel movements change a lot during the first year of life. The composition of the stool depends on the development of your baby and the changing diet: breast milk or "pre"-milk, follow-on milk, later porridge, fruit and vegetable puree as well as other complementary foods.
In general, the contents of babies' diapers consist of a mix of live and dead bacteria, undigested food, connective tissue and muscle fibers and approximately 75% water.
How does the consistency of the stools change?
Hard as a rock, soft as butter or liquid as yogurt. All of this can affect the consistency of baby's stool. In general, it can be said that breastfed babies can have mustard-yellow, slightly mushy or completely smooth stools: the so-called mother's milk stool (in short: milk stool). In babies who are fed with milk formula, the stool is more similar to the consistency of pudding. When we introduce complementary foods , the consistency changes and the very soft milk stool gives way to steadily firmer stools.
How often is it normal for babies to have bowel movements?
The amount and frequency can also vary greatly. So no need to worry if the chair takes a few days to arrive! Because from several times a day to just once a week or even less often, everything is completely normal - as long as your baby continues to gain weight.
What does breast milk stool smell like?
The stool of fully breastfed babies often has hardly any smell, at most a little sweet, while in bottle-fed babies it can occasionally smell a bit unpleasant. The smell only becomes really unpleasant when your baby comes into contact with various protein sources from mixed foods and especially with meat. The activity of bacteria in the intestine , which produces a lot of substances and gases, is the cause of the smell. In addition, the stool that stays in the intestine longer has a significantly unpleasant smell than the stool that leaves the intestine quite quickly.
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What colour is the stool of breastfed babies?
The color of the stool also changes regularly. From black, immediately after birth, to light green, mustard yellow to brownish in the complementary feeding phase. Babies who drink breast milk consume a variety of proteins every day from the breastfeeding mother's diet. Depending on the proteins, the color of the stool can also change.
But that doesn't mean that the stools of babies who only receive baby milk are always the same color. The intestinal flora (composition of bacteria in the intestine) changes significantly in infancy and therefore the color of the stool in non-breastfed babies also changes.
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What does the color of your stool say about your baby?
Well, let's take a closer look. We've broken down a baby's stool into different categories, paying particular attention to color.
Meconium (child fever)
In the first few days after birth, your baby has a slightly strange stool. Strictly speaking, it's thickened bile, hair, and skin cells that your baby swallowed in the womb. The stool is dark green to pitch black. It also has no smell and its consistency is quite tough and tar-like. As I said, a special something.
After meconium, the color of the stool changes from dark green to a lighter green. A sign that it is no longer just amniotic fluid that is being digested, but rather amniotic fluid mixed with milk. The excretion through the anus slowly develops into a proper bowel movement.
Breast milk stool
Babies who are fully breastfed usually have mustard-colored stools. The consistency is soft to liquid. The smell is rather mild and slightly sweet. Definitely no perfume and yes, milk stools can be really gross too, especially when they fly around the room and then stick to the wall opposite the changing table! But there is not much that reminds us of “real” bowel movements. In terms of timing, almost everything is normal: from several times a day (especially in the beginning) to sometimes just once a week or even less often.
Infant feeding poop
The stool when fed infant formula is dark yellow, more like an ocher yellow and can also turn into a green-brown. The consistency is rather mushy, soft, comparable to pudding or creamy peanut butter (the kind without pieces). The smell is stronger than a milk stool. When you consume baby food, certain bacteria can enter the intestines through the bottle and cause the smell. Bowel movements occur less frequently, but the quantity is larger.
Stool when feeding complementary foods
Solid foods generally darken the color of stools. However, different colors appear depending on the meal. The consistency becomes increasingly firmer and is not really hard at the beginning. You may also find undigested components of vegetables, fruit or meat in your stool. So don't panic if you have undigested blueberries and grapes or even streaky leftover bananas. The intestines first have to learn to slowly adapt to the new situation. A quick word about the smell: it is definitely stronger than before.
Green stools can have various causes. Stressed babies occasionally pass green stools. Conventional baby formula can also be the reason. As a rule, the green color is due to the fact that your baby may have eaten more than usual or, if you are breastfeeding, that you had a good portion of spinach or other green food for lunch. Or maybe there was even spinach and broccoli in the baby food?
A few red discolorations in the stool aren't so bad. They may be related to small injuries to the baby's anus or to your baby swallowing blood through a broken nipple. A clear red, on the other hand, is a signal that can indicate health problems. In this case, please contact your pediatrician.
White or gray stools
A distinctly light color of the stool also indicates possible illness-related causes. Here, too, please contact your pediatrician.
Clay-colored stools in babies can indicate problems with the liver or gallbladder. Possible reasons for this are limited production or outflow of bile. So if you notice clay-colored stools in your baby, go to the pediatrician. This can determine the exact cause.
Conclusion: What does a normal bowel movement look like in babies?
Changes in the diaper contents, different colors and smells are by no means a cause for concern. In principle: If your baby doesn't whine, isn't in pain, is gaining weight appropriately, his stool is soft and no hard pressing is necessary, then you don't need to worry.
How do you know if your baby is sick?
If you have diarrhea (more than five times a day, watery – liquid, unpleasant smell),
Constipation (infrequent bowel movements, very firm sometimes spherical consistency and strong pressing),
pungent smell and/or foamy consistency,
green color for longer than a day,
blood in the stool or whitish stools
It is worth contacting a midwife or medical or pharmaceutically trained specialist.
Baby's bowel movements are an endless issue for parents. Because bowel movements are, among other things, a sign of how your baby is doing. If there is something wrong with the stool, it could be due to the baby food or other factors. If your baby gets breast milk or, alternatively, baby milk enriched with GOS , the good bacteria in the intestinal flora are supported in the digestion or further processing of food.
Before you leave our site, we have an exciting article on the subject of remaining lovers and being parents .
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