Welcome to another healthful Monday, which is all about the “number 2.” Number 2, doody, poop, poopoo. Whatever you call it, it’s been the main topic of conversation at some point in your house – especially if you have kids.
Your child’s diaper can tell you a lot about what is happening in their little body when they aren’t able to tell you if their tummy hurts or they are really thirsty. And, as we know, everybody poops.
Your newborn’s first bowel movement is called meconium. It is very similar to a tar like substance and will pass 10-12 hours after they are born. Hopefully, your baby will pass its meconium after it has been born, but in some cases, the baby has their first bowel movement while in utero. This creates a bit more of a mess during delivery, and baby needs to be super-cleaned after birth, along with clearing all airways.
If you’re breastfeeding, babies are said to have sweeter smelling poop. Breastfed or bottle fed, it is normal for it to take a couple of days before you see regular bowel movements in newborns. Breastfed babies usually have runny bowel movements ranging from orange to brown in color. It has a seedy texture to it, kind of like runny small curd cottage cheese, or mustard. If you are formula feeding, your baby’s bowel movements might be similar to peanut butter and have a more distinct smell.
I was absolutely astounded by how many bowel movements my newborn created. It seemed that every time I fed her, she had a dirty diaper! Did she have diarrhea? Was there something wrong? It is totally normal for babies to have lots of bowel movements. They have tiny tummies that fill up, and there is nowhere for everything to go other than out. I thought it was funny how everyone kept giving me infant diapers, until I ran out.
After a couple of weeks, I noticed that we weren’t going through so many diapers, and my daughter’s bowel movements were slowing down. Then, one afternoon, I was changing her diaper and there, in the diaper, was the most amazing green poop. She must be sick! I was a little shocked and scared at the same time. I told myself to calm down. She wasn’t acting strange or upset, so there must be a different reason for this green mess. It turns out that baby bowel movements run the gamut in color from yellow, to orange, to brown, to green! I breathed a sigh of relief and we went on with our day. Her next bowel movement was a completely different color – yellow!
If your baby isn’t acting their normal self, checking their bowel movements is a good place to start when trying to figure out what’s wrong. It turns out that there are only a few colors you don’t want to see when changing your newborns’ diaper. Those colors are:
Red – If it ever looks like there is blood in your child’s diaper, you should contact your pediatrician. Some girls might pass a small amount of blood soon after they are born, and many times blood in the diaper might be due to small cuts or strain around the anus. But, it is still a good idea to call your pediatrician and let them know.
Black – Other than when your baby passes its meconium, you shouldn’t see black in your baby’s diaper. If you are seeing dark or black bowel movements, call your pediatrician right away.
White – This can be a sign of problems with some of your baby’s internals. This is another color that deserves a call to the pediatrician.
(Green) – Yes, I said before to not worry about green bowel movements, but if you are seeing a lot of green along with a fussy baby, you might want to call your pediatrician. If your baby is happy and showing no signs of distress, don’t worry about it.
No Bowel Movement – If your baby hasn’t had a bowel movement in a couple of days, this is another time to give your pediatrician a call. Sometimes babies have long breaks between movements; so if baby seems happy, let it go another day or two.
Your baby’s bowel movements aren’t anything to be afraid of! Take your time while changing your newborn’s diaper and make sure to wash your hands afterwards. Just think, in no time, you’ll be getting ready for potty training!