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What is normal baby poo?

Our baby poo bible will help you get to the bottom of what’s happening in your baby’s nappies. Puns intended.

In Newborn

    3-minutes read

    At a glance

    Black baby poos. Be prepared for some of these in your baby’s first days – it’s called meconium

    Breastfed baby poos are usually runnier than those fed with formula, especially before weaning

     

    A tummy massage can help get things moving down there – useful if baby’s constipated

    Diarrhoea can lead to dehydration so it’s very important to top up baby’s fluids

    Who knew baby poo would be such a topic of conversation? With all the changes that are going to happen in your baby’s nappies over time you may find yourself Googling the number two, weaving it casually into conversation and perhaps even showing your newborn's baby poo photos to your partner or health visitor. Find out if what you’re wiping up is normal after we take you through all things poo.

    What is normal baby poo?

    Your newborn’s routine involves a lot of feeding, so naturally you’ll spend a similar amount of time dealing with nappies. Newborn baby poo, like wine, will mature with age. The first few nappies may not be what you expected because they are usually black or dark green and a strange, sticky texture. This is called meconium. It’s all the stuff that baby ingested while in the womb: delicious things like bile, mucus, water and lanugo ¬¬– the name for the soft hair that once covered their body. As strange as these first nappies look, it’s a good sign that baby’s digestive system is doing its job.

    A few days in, once they’re full of milk, the nappies will start to turn yellowish. If you’re breastfeeding it can be watery, mustard-like poo. If you’re formula feeding it will be a bit darker, firmer… and whiffier. Ready-to-feed liquid formula may produce softer stools than powder formula.

    If you change from breast to formula feeding, you’ll find your baby’s poos become more paste-like, but they should still be generally yellow in colour.

    Your baby’s poos will probably vary in texture and colour from day-to-day or week-to-week. If you notice a marked change of any kind, such as the poo becoming very smelly, very watery or harder, and particularly if there’s blood in it, you should talk to your GP, health visitor or public health nurse.

    If you think your baby’s poo isn’t quite right why not try our feeding issues symptom checker

    How many nappies are we talking?

    A stack of nappies

    If you’re breastfeeding, you can typically expect a lot of nappy changes. Up to a dozen a day isn't abnormal. It can seem like it’s literally in one end and out the other for every single feed, especially in the first month. If you’re formula feeding there might only be a poo once a day or so. Formula-fed babies’ poo less but their nappies may have a stronger scent.

    But ultimately every baby is different. Some breast-fed babies’ poo can fill their nappies every feed, while others go more infrequently. Formula-fed babies’ poo less and can go for several days without a bowel movement. Both are normal – it just depends on the baby, though in either case, their poo should still mostly be yellow.

    The general dirty nappy rate should slow down a bit for most babies once they’re around a month old.

    Baby diarrhoea

    A lot of newborns go through this as their little digestive systems are still developing even after they are born. Your baby’s poos will probably be relatively runny-looking most days anyway, especially if you’re breastfeeding. However, if they’re pooping like a trooper and it’s extremely runny then you might be wondering ‘does my baby have diarrhoea?’ Read everything there is to know on diarrhoea in our article

    baby clothes on a drying line in the garden

    Constipation in newborns

    Infant constipation must feel really uncomfortable and the poor little things haven’t a clue what’s going on. It can be difficult to tell why your little one is crying or uncomfortable and it’s often normal for babies to strain or even cry when passing a poo. For further information head to our article on constipation

    Next steps

    If your baby‘s poo and dirty nappies are still causing you concern and you’re not sure what to do next, speak to your GP, health visitor or a public health nurse. They may recommend a change of feed for baby or if you’re breastfeeding, some simple changes may be recommended in your diet. If it’s more serious your doctor may need to prescribe medication for your baby.

    In the meanwhile, you can always contact our careline if you have questions.

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    Important advice to mothers

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. SMA® Nutrition fully supports this and continued breastfeeding, along with the introduction of complementary foods as advised by your healthcare professional.