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The Color of Baby Poop

Posted Sep 22 2008 4:36pm
Hello!

My name is Nita Parsnani and this is my first blog entry as part of the Baby Health Blog team. Let me start off by saying that I am very excited to start this journey with Steven, Sarah, Christine and you!

Here’s some information about me: I was born and raised in Wakefield, Rhode Island, which I have to say is a great place! I graduated from Virginia Tech, where I studied human nutrition, food and exercise. I’m a new inhabitant of our nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C., where I am working as a nutrition specialist for Nutricia North America. Maybe being the newbie was the reason that, when we talked about me starting to blog, someone said “you know, you should really talk about poop.” Not to worry, I’m not offended!

See, to the average person, the color of ones poop may seem like an odd topic. However, to us nutrition specialists and allergy parents, this is a common conversation topic at the water cooler. OK, not really. But it is a matter of concern for many allergy parents, which is why I took the recommendation to write about it in my first entry.

So, here we go.

The First Poop
Your baby’s first poop is called meconium. It begins within 12 hours of birth and will be black or greenish, and very sticky.

The First Month
Up until your baby is a month old, if you are breastfeeding her poop will likely be a mustard color, seedy and runny. Oh, and you can expect a lot of it!

If she is formula fed, her poop will likely be firmer, but not any firmer than peanut butter.

Beyond One Month
After the first month, she may have fewer bowel movements (3-4 times per day), but this is nothing to worry about! A little grunting is normal as well. You may see a variety of colors, some are perfectly normal while others should be red flags and reasons to phone the doc:

Brown: Perfectly Normal

Green: Usually nothing to worry about, more common if you have a lot of iron in your diet or are using an iron-fortified formula

Orange or Yellow: Also nothing to worry about, these colors are most common once you start introducing baby foods like those colorful strained carrots

White: Call the doctor, the chalky color indicates there may be no bile from the liver to digest the food, which needs to be addressed right away

Black: Consult the doctor, tarry black poop may be a sign of blood in the digestive tract that has turned dark black while moving down the intestines. Bloody stool can signal a variety of allergic/gastrointestinal conditions, including infant reflux and milk protein allergy.

Red: Reddish poop could come from a colorful last meal if you’ve just started baby food (think beets). But if you see bright red blood in the poop, call the doctor right away. That is a sign of bleeding around the anus, which is very painful for the baby and can be a sign of an allergic/gastrointestinal condition, such as reflux or milk protein allergy. If this is the case, you might be seeing other symptoms as well (like a very cranky baby), which you can check out here.

Also, don’t forget about the texture. Mucasy stool is reason to call the doc and diarrhea too, if it is persistent. The diarrhea can be a tough one because baby poop is soft, especially in a breastfed child. But, if it is runnier than normal and happens 2-4 times a day for more than 5 days, it’s something to bring up with the doc.

That’s all for now – off to lunch! (Just kidding.) If you have any questions, please comment below or email me at babyhealthblog@ecius.net. I can’t wait to hear from you!

- Nita



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