Babies very frequently pass stools. This is normal and is no cause of concern. The colour and texture of stools vary in newborns and this is due to various reasons. How to know, what and how much is normal? Read on.
I seem to be obsessed with bowel movements!
The number of bowel movements their newborn has in a single day often surprises parents. How does so much come out of such a tiny creature? What if she has got diarrhoea? Like most things about babies, there is no established pattern for the frequency of bowel movements.
How many bowel movements are normal and what should they look like?
Breastfed newborns may have a movement after every feed, sometimes as many as a dozen a day. The number of movements should decrease progressively over the next month and may dwindle to just one a day, or every other day. Some babies have several movements a day for the entire first year.
It is also normal for breastfed infants to have soft, sometimes even watery stools. Diarrhoea seldom occurs in breastfed babies. Frequent stools that are liquidy, smelly, and may contain mucus, often accompanied by fever and/or weight loss mark the onset of diarrhoea.
Can I tell if my baby is not getting enough food?
Any breastfeeding mother whose newborn has five or more movements daily can be assured that her baby is getting sufficient nourishment. If your breastfed baby has very infrequent bowel movements and is not gaining weight well, check with the doctor. It is possible that she is not getting enough to eat and thus has not much to eliminate.
What is the colour of normal stools?
A newborn babyâ€™s first stools may look greenish-black in colour which is quite normal. It is a sign that the meconium filled in babyâ€™s intestine when she was in the womb is getting cleared. The subsequent stools after first 24 hours of the birth of the baby may also look dark greenish-yellow in colour which is normal as well.
Thereafter, the exclusively breastfeed babies may pass stools that are yellow, brown or green in colour and formula fed babies may pass stools that are brown in colour. Formula fed babies may even pass stools that are black in colour if the formula is iron-fortified. Black stools are also observed in babies who are given iron drops.
When solids are introduced to babies the colour and texture of stools may vary depending on what is fed to her. For example, the stools may look reddish in colour if beetroot is fed to the baby.
What is the texture of normal stools like?
The texture of normal stools passed by exclusively breastfed babies may look pasty or seedy in consistency. Whereas, babies who are formula fed may pass stools that are pasty in consistency.
Can my baby get constipated?
The chance of a baby getting constipated is very low when she is exclusively breastfed. Due to the presence of natural laxative in breastmilk, breastfed babies do not face any problem while passing stools. Babies who are formula fed have more chances of suffering from constipation.
When should I be concerned about my babyâ€™s stools?
If you find that your baby is passing hard stools which look pebbly; it can be a sign of constipation. You must bring it to the notice of your doctor immediately. As mentioned above if your baby is passing stools of liquid-like consistency which are smelly and are accompanied by fever then it can be sign of diarrhoea. You must report to your doctor immediately in this case. If your find blood stains in the stools of your baby, it can be a matter of concern. Such signs should be brought the notice of doctor immediately.
In order to make sure that the babyâ€™s stools are normal and she grows in a healthy manner, she must be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of her life.
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- The Indiaparenting Team