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POOP!

I feel like I had changed a fair amount of diapers before I had kids of my own. I am 11 years older than my sisters and did some babysitting as well. But weirdly, when it is your own baby’s diaper you are changing, you tend to pay much closer attention to the details inside that diaper.

If you don’t have friends you can discuss baby poop with, then you just don’t have close enough friends. I am lucky enough to have some amazing friends. We’ve even texted pictures of poop to each other and asked, “Is this normal?” I’ve even shown pictures of poop to my baby’s pediatrician to help figure out a health issue. Babies obviously can’t tell you if something is wrong, but you can often find clues to help a sick baby by simply checking out their poop.

The very first poopy diaper your baby will have will be black and tar-like. It can be quite alarming if you don’t know it is coming. This poop is called meconium. If you happen to be changing a diaper when this poop decides to come, it will come out slow, similar to a soft serve ice cream machine. (Sorry if I ruined that for you!) This meconium is really hard to wipe off because it is sticky, and you’re typically afraid of rubbing your newborn’s poor bottom too hard. Have some Vaseline on hand and put it on your baby’s butt before the first poop and between poops until it starts to change color and consistency. The Vaseline will keep the meconium from sticking to their little butt and prevents you from having to wipe so hard.

If you are breastfeeding, your baby’s poop will begin morphing into a yellow, mustard color. It will be a few interesting shades during the transition and will take up to a week before you see the “normal” breastfed baby poop. A lot of times this poop will have little “seeds” in it, but not always. It is also normal for your baby to poop 6+ times a day. My first two boys had poopy diapers every time I changed them for the first few months of their lives. My third son was quite different and only pooped once a week, which is also normal as long as your baby isn’t in pain.

This is a breastfed baby's poop after 3 days of not pooping.
This is a breastfed baby’s poop after 3 days of not pooping.

If you are exclusively breastfeeding and notice your baby’s poop is green and bubbly, it may mean your baby is getting too much fore milk and not enough of the fatty hind milk. We had this issue but fixed it easily by switching to block feeding, nursing only on one side per feeding. This works great if you have an overabundant milk supply, like I do.

Baby is getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk.
Baby is getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk.

Sometimes your baby’s poop may have some mucus in it. This sometimes happens when your baby is teething and drooling a lot. My first son has this issue bad, which can be a sign of an allergy or illness. Following advice from his pediatrician, I began eliminating dairy, and eventually soy, from my diet, and it did clear up some. He also had severe acid reflux which could have also had something to do with the mucus.

Mucus in breastfed baby's poop.
Mucus in breastfed baby’s poop.

 

Too much foremilk and mucus.
Too much foremilk and mucus.

Because my son had severe reflux issues, his pediatrician ordered an upper GI. I have had one of these myself, so thankfully I knew a little bit about what to expect when it came to pooping out that nasty barium. If this is something you have to go through, buy some glycerin suppositories and prepare for your baby to struggle a bit. When it does finally come out, it will FILL a diaper or two and be a white-ish yellow color. if your baby’s poop is white at any other time, call the doctor immediately.

Breastfed baby's poop after passing barium.
Breastfed baby’s poop after passing barium.

If your baby’s poop is solid and can be picked off the diaper completely, your baby is not getting enough liquids. They will typically strain when pooping like this. This issue tends to happen when your baby begins eating solids. Make sure you always nurse your baby before offering solids and it should even them out. If your baby is old enough, doctors may tell you to give your baby some prune juice to help with constipation as well.

Constipated baby after starting solids.
Constipated baby after starting solids.

The only time it is ok for your baby’s poop to be red is when they are on the antibiotic Cefdinir. If your baby’s poop is red or bloody any other time, take a picture with your phone and call your pediatrician’s office right away. They will ask when you call if it is bright red or black-ish. Pay very close attention as the coloring does make a difference and will help the doctors quickly figure out the problem.

If you notice your baby has been having frequent blow-outs, it typically means it is time to move up a size in diapers. My recommendation is to donate the rest of the diapers you have in that size to a shelter and move up diaper sizes right away. Poop will stain, and outfits are not cheap! It’s also helpful to know that the weird necks on onesies were made so you can pull the onesies off from their feet, no need to pull that nasty thing over their head and get poop on their sweet faces and hair!

As your child weans from the breast or bottle, their poop will be more like yours and changes with what they eat. It’s important to keep a mental note if they eat anything weird. Some things come out quite interesting 🙂

18 month old poop after eating colored ice cream.
18 month old poop after eating colored ice cream.

Dealing with poop is a big part of motherhood so you better get over how nasty it can be and just get comfortable with it. If you are a boy-mom, you will probably talk about it much more than you ever planned. Always remember, you are your baby’s biggest advocate. Keeping close tabs on how they fill their diapers will be a great tool in keeping your baby nice and healthy. Before you know it, the diaper stage will end and you can move on to potty training and being amazed at how much comes out of their little bodies!

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