No one ever tells you when you’re pregnant how much time you’re about to spend analyzing poop. What goes in must come out, and as Lactation Consultants, poop gives us important clues to what and how your baby is eating. Here are some examples of poops you might see.
Day 1, the First Poop.
Meconium is another name for your baby’s very first poop. It should be thick, sticky, and very dark green or black. There might be a small amount or a lot. Meconium is made out of amniotic fluid, bile, cells, and even hair that babies swallow during pregnancy. Your baby’s first meal of colostrum is a natural laxative to help get things moving. The goal is 1 poop for every day of life.
Day 2, the Transition.
As your baby keeps eating, poop will begin to transition from sticky blackish green to being a little lighter, larger, and looser. Your goal today is two poops larger than a US quarter.
Day 3, Melted Chocolate.
As your baby takes in more breastmilk, their poop should start to resemble a melted chocolate bar. It should move from blackish brown to brown or brownish green. If you’ve transitioned from colostrum to milk, you might start to notice little white curds of digested fat in the poop. Your baby should have 3 poops today that are bigger than a US quarter.
Day 4, Almost There.
You should be seeing more hints of yellow today. You may notice the poops get a little looser as well, since your body is adding more water to your milk every day. You should see 4 poops today that are bigger than a US quarter.
Day 5, You’ve Arrived!
By today your baby should have poop that’s mustard yellow, loose, and seedy. Poop should stay looking like this until your baby starts eating solids after 6 months. Babies who are fed only breastmilk should poop regularly, sometimes every time they eat!
Yellow and watery.
Within the range of normal, this poop is just a little more watery than usual. Normal consistency can be anything from applesauce to hummus.
This is a common one that sends parents to Dr. Google. A green poop here and there can fall within the range of normal. As a rule, breastmilk poop should be CONSISTENTLY yellow, loose, and seedy, but all babies have weird days. Don’t panic if you get a green poop or two here and there.
Green with specks and slime.
Here’s where things start to get weird. Poop that looks like this consistently deserves investigating. Sometimes black specks can be digested blood. Blood can come from a few places. Sometimes it’s from you! Broken skin on the nipples or a burst blood vessel from a clogged duct can lead to your baby ingesting some blood. This might make you squeamish to think about but it won’t harm your baby. Sometimes it’s blood from your baby’s belly. A stomach bug, oral vaccination, swallowed snot, food protein they’re allergic to, or too much lactose can all irritate a baby’s belly and cause poop to move through quickly and explode forcefully out the other end. Poop that shoots through the digestive system forcefully can irritate the lining of the GI tract and cause it to shed mucous or even small amounts of blood. The poop may be pure liquid, or look stringy, or like someone blew their nose in the diaper. The poop might look frothy or foamy. Your baby might frequently be fussy, squirmy, or have bouts of crying where they’re difficult to soothe. You may be told your baby has “colic” or they might have symptoms of GERD. The poop might be positive for blood if your pediatrician tests it. It’s important to work with a Lactation Consultant if you get to this point. They can help you get to the root cause and work with you to find a solution to get you back to those yellow seedy poops. You might get advice like “Stop eating dairy!” or “It could be soy”. Going on a random elimination diet without knowing WHY your baby is having these issues won’t solve your problem. You’d never be okay with someone saying “Well your baby’s arm MIGHT be broken, so we’ll put them in a cast just to be safe.” That’s an extreme step to take without doing an xray first to confirm the problem. Cutting a long list of foods out of your diet is a drastic step to take without knowing that your baby has an allergy, and there are plenty of other, lesser known causes of weird poops. That’s why working with an expert on human lactation and infant feeding is so very important. Don’t take Dr. Google’s word for it, or anyone who’s guessing. Even a test that tells you the poop is positive for blood hasn’t told you why. Always get to the root cause before making any changes to what or how you feed your baby.
The first step to feeling calm and confident about your baby’s poop is knowing what they should look like, how many they should have, and when they might have gotten off track. If your baby’s poops have ventured into “That’s not normal”, fixing it is not a journey you should take alone. Let us be your guide. This is what we do best, and that’s why we’re here.