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      Baby poo guide: colour and texture differences

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      Baby poo guide: colour and texture differences

      Let's talk about baby poo!

      Baby poo. Once you become a parent, it’s hard to remember a time when your baby’s toilet habits weren’t such an important topic of conversation. But the fact of the matter is, you’ll find yourself talking about poo. A lot.

      With an average of 1820 nappy changes in your baby’s first year1, you’re going to become very familiar with your baby’s pooing habits. And that’s a good thing, because you’ll be able to notice if there’s anything unusual.

      Deja-poo - what to expect

      Baby poo raises a lot of questions, such as how often should babies poo? What are the different types of poos in babies? And why is my baby’s poo green?

      What’s ‘normal’ for your baby is all going to depend on the things they eat and drink, and how old they are. So, let’s take a look at what to expect when it comes to the colour, frequency and volume of that all important baby poo. Take a look at our handy baby poo chart to get started!

      Baby poo - it’s got your baby’s back!

      The poonami isn’t the stuff of legend - the struggle is real! That moment when you realise that your baby’s poo has escaped their nappy and can now be found all the way up their back.

      The best way to avoid this happening is to ensure that your baby’s nappies fit well around their bum and legs, and are the correct size.

      It might sound strange, but the sight of your baby’s first poo will be something you welcome! It’s called meconium, and will be dark, greenish black in colour2, but this will change as your baby grows. Over the next few days it will start to turn brown, orange or yellow, depending on whether your baby is breast or formula fed.

      Breastfed baby poo tends to be yellow, whereas formula fed baby poo can be yellow-green or a pale brown. Once your baby starts eating solid food, their poo is likely to turn into a darker colour.

      Green baby poo might look strange, but it’s usually nothing to worry about3. Some formula milks designed to help with digestion problems can cause green baby poo, but if it persists, talk to your midwife or GP to rule out any underlying issues.

      You should always speak to a healthcare professional if your baby’s poo is black (after the first poo), red, grey or white, as these could indicate a health problem that needs to be treated3

      Take a look at our baby poo colour chart to get a better idea of what to look out for.

      Did you know?

      Some babies have their first poo during or straight after birth!4 If your baby hasn’t had a poo within 24 hours of their arrival, check in with your GP or midwife who can take a look at your baby and make sure that everything’s OK4.

      When your baby does a poo for the first time, it will have a sticky, tar-like consistency. Be warned, this can be very stubborn to remove from baby clothes, not to mention your actual baby!

      As your tiny tot grows, the consistency of their poo will change. Breastfed baby poo can be quite runny, and might have what looks like seeds in it - this is completely normal5. Formula fed baby poo on the other hand, is likely to be firmer or more paste-like6.

      Baby poo when weaning. Change is ahead!

      Once your baby starts to enjoy their first tastes of solid food, their poo may become more solid in texture. As such, it’s not uncommon for your baby to experience some constipation as they enjoy and adapt to new tastes and textures7.

      If you’ve noticed a change to your baby’s pooing habits, and you’ve recently switched from breast to formula feeding, then chances are your baby’s poo will be different in terms of texture, smell and appearance8

      So just how often should your baby poo?

      As a general rule, your newborn baby might poo as much as four times a day during their first week, but this can reduce to around twice a day during their first year9. However, this can differ depending on whether your baby is breast or formula fed.

      Breastfed babies may poo every time you feed them at first, but as they grow and develop, it’s not unusual for them to go several days without having a poo. Formula fed babies may poo around five times a day when first born, settling to once a day as they get older.

      The important thing to remember here is that all babies are different. So what’s normal for one baby may not be the same for yours. Ultimately, if your baby is gaining weight, not in distress and feeding well, there’s usually no cause for concern. Another consideration is their diet, as the frequency of baby poo when weaning will be different to how often breast and formula fed babies do a poo.

      There’s no getting away from it, your baby’s going to create a stink! Particularly if they’re formula fed, as this tends to result in stronger smelling poos10.  Breastfed baby poo doesn’t really have a strong aroma, beyond smelling a little sweet. 

      Once your baby embarks on their weaning journey, the variety of foods will change the way their poo smells (spoiler alert:  it’s more than likely going to be much stronger!).

      If you notice that your baby is producing consistently foul smelling poos, it’s always best to have a chat with your GP to check that everything’s OK and put your mind at ease. 

      Baby poo chart: picture perfect poo!

      Our baby poo colour chart is the perfect guide to baby poo - take a look!

      Poop Chart
      Click to download our baby poo guide

      The bottom line

      Baby poo is just one of those things you get used to dealing with when it comes to being a parent. But whether it’s understanding your baby’s first poo, or guiding them through the potty training process, remember that you know your baby better than anyone. Just take things one day at a time and follow your baby’s lead.

      If you’ve got any questions, or want to talk about what to expect when it comes to all things baby poo, our team of baby experts is available to offer reassurance and advice. We’re here whenever you need us, so just give us a call.

      1. Thaman LA and Eichenfield LF. Diapering Habits: A Global Perspective. Pediatr Dermatol, 2014;31: 15-18.
      2. National Childbirth Trust (NCT). Newborn baby poo in nappies: what to expect [online]. Available at https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/nappies-and-poo/newborn-baby-poo-nappies-what-expect. Accessed April 2021.
      3. Mayo Clinic. Stool Colour: when to worry [online]. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/stool-color/expert-answers/faq-20058080. Accessed April 2021.
      4. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Postnatal care up to 8 weeks after birth [online] 2006. Available at https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg37/chapter/1-Recommendations#infant-feeding. Accessed April 2021.
      5. National Health Service (NHS) Derbyshire Community Health Services. Advice and guidance: bowel movements [online]. Available at http://www.dchs.nhs.uk/home/our-services/find_services_by_topic/healthvisiting/advice_guidance/hvs_bowel_movements#:~:text=A%20simple%20way%20to%20manage,(30%20%E2%80%93%2040%20mls). Accessed April 2021.
      6. National Health Service (NHS). How to change your baby’s nappy [online] 2018. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/caring-for-a-newborn/how-to-change-your-babys-nappy/#:~:text=Your%20baby's%20first%20poo%20is,a%20yellow%20or%20mustard%20colour. Accessed April 2021.
      7. National Health Service (NHS) Start 4 life. Breastfeeding challenges: Constipation [online]. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-challenges/constipation/. Accessed April 2021.
      8. National Health Service (NHS) Derbyshire Community Health Services. Advice and guidance: bowel movements [online]. Available at http://www.dchs.nhs.uk/home/our-services/find_services_by_topic/healthvisiting/advice_guidance/hvs_bowel_movements#:~:text=A%20simple%20way%20to%20manage,(30%20%E2%80%93%2040%20mls). Accessed April 2021.
      9. National Health Service (NHS). How to change your baby’s nappy [online] 2018. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/caring-for-a-newborn/how-to-change-your-babys-nappy/#:~:text=Your%20baby's%20first%20poo%20is,a%20yellow%20or%20mustard%20colour. Accessed April 2021.
      10.  National Health Service (NHS) Derbyshire Community Health Services. Advice and guidance: bowel movements [online]. Available at http://www.dchs.nhs.uk/home/our-services/find_services_by_topic/healthvisiting/advice_guidance/hvs_bowel_movements#:~:text=A%20simple%20way%20to%20manage,(30%20%E2%80%93%2040%20mls). Accessed April 2021.