Breastfeeding and Newborn Poop

Breastfeeding and Newborn PoopWhen you think about all the incredible things you’re excited to experience with your baby, changing poopy diapers is probably not on your list. However, your newborn’s poop can tell you a lot about their health, especially when you are breastfeeding. Today we’re exploring breastfeeding and newborn poop.

It’s amazing the things you’re willing to talk about openly when you become a mother…like poop, for example. Poop is a regular topic of conversation among new moms, from how often it happens, to how to avoid blowouts. There is a wide range of normal when it comes to newborn poop including the frequency, consistency and odor. But there are still some general norms when it comes to breastfeeding and newborn poop, which can help you determine if your baby is consuming enough nutrients and is digesting milk properly.

Here’s the scoop on breastfeeding and newborn poop:

Odor

Here’s a win for breastfed babies – their newborn poop really doesn’t smell bad. Breast milk is incredibly pure and so is your baby’s body. The combination creates little to no smell in newborn poop. In general, the longer poop stays in the intestines, the smeller it will be. Newborns poop so frequency, their poop doesn’t spend much time in the digestive tract and is less odoriferous.

Color and Consistency

For the first couple of days after birth all babies excrete meconium, which is a tar-like brownish green substance made up of amniotic fluid and other things your baby came by naturally in the womb.

After about two or three days newborn poop changes in color and consistency. It is common for newborn poop to appear like mushy, seedy mustard with some curds in it and then it will change to more green or brown poop over time. Newborn poop is watery, of course, due to your baby’s all-liquid diet and it will stay that way for the four to six months you exclusively breastfeed.  Some parents confuse this for diarrhea but thin, liquidy poop is normal.

Because breastfed babies are taking in what their mothers are eating, the nutrients and proteins differ daily. Therefore, poop on one day may look different from poop on another day. This variety is healthy for your baby.

Frequency

Babies can poop as often as 10 times a day or as little as once a week. The spectrum is that broad! Breastfed newborns usually poop once per feeding for the first few weeks of life. This is to allow room for more food to enter your baby’s tiny digestive system. The poop may be very little, a few squirts in fact. This is a testament to the perfect nutrients in your breast milk and how easily your baby can absorb it and use it efficiently in her body. After a month or so your baby will have less bowel movements. This is a sign of mature milk.

Issues

Log-like or pebble-like poop may indicate constipation and/or dehydration. Speak to your pediatrician if you notice this consistency. Also, if you think your baby is experiencing pain during pooping or from not being able to poop, consult your doctor. Sometimes massaging the anus with a q-tip or gently rotating your baby’s legs and opening them wide can help stimulate a bowel movement.

Bright green bubbly poop may indicate that your baby is not getting enough fat in your breast milk. Be sure you’re feeding as long as possible on each breast so your baby gets to the fattier milk that is known as hind milk. This fat is essential to your baby’s growth and development.

If your breastfed baby isn’t pooping frequently and is not gaining weight, talk to your pediatrician to ensure your baby is indeed getting enough milk. Your doctor may recommend a visit to a lactation consultant to ensure your breastfeeding success.

Also, if you do believe your baby has diarrhea, talk to your pediatrician. Diarrhea in newborns can be a sign of an infection, allergy or digestive disorder. It’s best to have it checked right away.

Sources: WebMD, Parents and BabyCenter