Parents are often startled on seeing different coloured stools of their newborn. This is not a cause of concern generally. Different colour and texture of stools is due to different factors such as baby's diet or mother's diet and so on. Read on to clear some doubts.
I find myself discussing my baby's stools!
It is amazing how the bowel movements of a newborn baby can be the topic of endless speculation and discussion. Is it too little, too much, too often, not often enough? You speculate about the colour and the texture. It does not help to compare babies. No two babies will be alike in this respect. Your baby's stool will differ from day-to-day and may even from movement-to-movement as her diet gets more varied. Here are some answers to those oft-asked questions.
My baby's stool is greenish-black
The first time you change your baby's nappy you may be quite startled to see that her stool is greenish black. This is no cause for alarm and is actually quite normal. What you are seeing is meconium, a tarry greenish-black substance that gradually fills the baby's intestines during her stay in the mother's womb. The fact that the meconium is in your baby's nappy is a good sign indicating that her bowels are unobstructed.
My baby's stool is dark greenish-yellow
All the meconium (a tarry greenish-black substance) should be passed sometime after the first 24 hours. Now what you will see will be transitional stools, which are dark greenish yellow and loose, sometimes 'seedy' in texture (particularly among breastfed infants) and may occasionally contain traces of mucus. There may even be traces of blood, which is probably the result of the baby swallowing some of the mother's blood during the delivery. To be on the safe side, save any nappy containing blood to show to the doctor. Transitional stools usually continue for a period of three or four days.
My baby's stool is black
If the formula is iron-fortified, or if the baby is taking vitamin drops with iron, the stool may be green, greenish, dark brown or black. In some children, the reaction between the normal bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract and the iron sulphate in a supplement causes the stool to turn dark brown, greenish or black. Studies have shown that iron does not increase digestive discomfort. If your baby has black stools and is not taking a supplement or a formula with iron, check with the doctor.
My baby’s stool is hard
These types of stools are mainly observed when solids are introduced in a baby’s diet. This can also be a sign of constipation. Certain solids introduced in baby’s diet can make her prone to constipation resulting in hard or pebble like stools. Usually, babies are exclusively on breastmilk during first six months and in this case doctors recommend that no other liquid should be offered to them. Due to the natural laxative effect of breastmilk, they do not face any problem in passing stools. Therefore, if you are introducing solids to your baby, make sure that you also include liquids like water, fresh fruit juices and vegetables in her diet after consulting your doctor.
Is my baby’s stool normal?
If you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby, your baby’s stools can be light yellow, brown or green in colour. On the other hand, formula-fed babies pass stools which are yellow or brown in colour. Breastfed babies may pass stools which are seedy or pasty in consistency at the same time formula-fed babies may pass stools that look pasty in consistency. Breastfed babies may pass stools that smell sweet and formula-fed babies may pass more odorous stools. These types of stools are considered normal.
If you baby is passing watery stools frequently, she may be coping with diarrhoea. In this case you must report to your doctor. If you notice blood in your baby’s stools, you must bring it to the notice of your doctor immediately.
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- The Indiaparenting Team