The Truth About Baby Poop: Colored Stool and Diarrhea in Infants

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Find retired what colour changes, diarrhea, and frequence whitethorn accidental astir your baby's health.

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD connected March 31, 2022

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New babies don't travel with an acquisition manual, but they bash permission clues astir the authorities of their health. Hiding successful a baby's diaper is simply a wealthiness of information, and galore caller parents understandably find themselves spending a batch of clip and vigor trying to decode the messages near for them -- the amount, the color, the consistency -- and what it each means.

So what does the contented of a baby's diaper accidental astir their health? And erstwhile should you beryllium disquieted astir what's successful the diaper? Here's adept advice.

How Much Poop Is Normal?

"A lot," says Kenneth Wible, MD, subordinate prof of pediatrics astatine the University of Missouri and pediatrics aesculapian manager astatine Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics successful Kansas City, Mo.

"It depends somewhat connected diet," Wible says. "Babies who are breastfed mostly person much and thinner stools than babies who are look fed. But 5 to six stools per time is beauteous normal."

While it's a bully thought to expect a batch of poop successful the aboriginal stages of a baby's life, the frequence of bowel movements among children varies widely, notes Barry Steinmetz, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist astatine Miller Children's Hospital Long Beach successful Long Beach, Calif.

"Some kids volition spell up to 7 oregon 8 times a day," helium says. Other infants whitethorn spell each different day.

Many parents go acrophobic erstwhile an infant's bowel movements abruptly driblet successful frequency. But peculiarly for breastfed babies, this is simply a communal occurrence arsenic a mother's beverage becomes much mature.

"The mother's beverage is truthful good balanced and the baby's digestive processes are truthful good, there's not a batch of residue," Wible says.

The key, Steinmetz says, is that the stool is brushed and the kid is eating good and gaining weight.

Consistency

There's often a ample magnitude of liquid contented successful babies' stool due to the fact that earlier six months, doctors urge that babies get their nutrients exclusively from milk.

"It benignant of looks arsenic if you took a jar of mustard and mixed it with cottage cheese, particularly for formula-fed babies," Wible says. "With breastfed babies, determination is simply a batch much liquid and the beverage curds successful the stool are a batch finer and smaller."

Is It Constipation?

It's not simply the lack of stool but stool that is formed or looks similar pellets that should extremity you disconnected that your kid whitethorn beryllium constipated.

Very steadfast oregon pebble-like stools necessitate a telephone to the doctor. This tin sometimes bespeak that the kid is dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration mightiness see decreased tears, deficiency of saliva, and a sunken look successful the eyes and the infant's brushed spot. The brushed spot, besides called anterior fontanelle, is simply a abstraction betwixt the bones connected the apical of an infant’s skull. The brushed spot tin beryllium contiguous until astir 2 years of age.

Most parents are acrophobic that the pained, red-faced look their babe gets portion pooping means straining and constipation. That's usually not the case.

"A babe doesn't cognize however to ... declaration the abdominal musculature and push," Steinmetz explains. "Plus, they don't person gravity helping them similar erstwhile you beryllium connected a commode."

By the property of 1, astir kids person it worked retired and suffer the tortured look.

Signs of Diarrhea

When it comes to diarrhea, parents sometimes person a hard clip knowing what they're dealing with due to the fact that infants' stools are people loose. But looking for subtle changes successful a baby's poop is often a discarded of time, Steinmetz says.

"Blow-out diarrhea that goes up the backmost is not that subtle," helium says. And it's conscionable the benignant of outburst that is communal erstwhile diarrhea strikes precise young children.

Call your doc close distant if determination is diarrhea, particularly with newborns, Wible advises. It tin awesome thing much serious, specified arsenic a microorganism oregon different systemic unwellness unsafe for precise young children.

What Does Color Mean?

Baby poop changes colour and it's a changeless interest for parents. But for the astir part, it needn't be.

"Color has not overmuch to bash with thing but the transit clip of nutrient [in the baby's system] and the bile coming done the GI tract," Steinmetz says.

The poop colour timeline works similar this: Yellow means beverage is moving done the baby's strategy quickly. When the process slows down, poop becomes greenish -- and tin unnecessarily interest parents. Even slower, poop turns brown.

"That's wherefore infants often person yellowish stools, due to the fact that they person a precise accelerated transit time," Steinmetz says.

Colors of Concern

The main colors that should interest a genitor and punctual an contiguous telephone to the pediatrician are white, red, and black.

White poop tin bespeak an corruption oregon a occupation with bile, which is simply a fluid produced by the liver that immunodeficiency digestion. Black is simply a motion of digested humor successful the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and reddish indicates caller humor that could beryllium coming from the colon oregon rectum.

Sometimes, however, breastfeeding newborns whose mothers' bosom tegument is cracking swallow their mother's humor portion feeding, which comes done their stool, Wible says.

That's nary origin for alarm, and your doc whitethorn beryllium capable to execute a trial to archer who the humor belongs to.

Occasionally, green, mucus-like poop tin beryllium caused by a microorganism commonly seen successful babies. If your kid has greenish poop and symptoms of diarrhea, fever, oregon irritability, telephone your pediatrician.

Solid Food and the Changes They Bring

When your kid begins eating coagulated food, expect a firmer consistency and a alteration successful the colour of your child's poop, notes Wible.

"How it volition alteration is unpredictable, but it volition change," helium says.

In general, it's a bully thought to wage attraction to the contents of your baby's diaper, arsenic agelong arsenic you support it successful perspective, Steinmetz says. Typical signs of an contented of existent interest -- humor successful the stool, vomiting blood, abdominal distention -- are hard to miss.

Still, if an contented is keeping you up astatine night, don't hesitate to telephone your doctor's office.

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