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The first weeks

Your baby's poo

What to expect and when

It might not be your favourite subject when it comes to newborn babies, but poo is an unavoidable fact of life with a little one which many of us become fixated about. From the moment they arrive you will be inundated with it, often several times per day to start with, and you’ll want to know what to expect if nothing else!

What baby poo will occur first?

The first poo your baby will pass will be made up of a sticky black/green tar-like substance and this is called meconium. It is present in all babies and can even be delivered in utero or in the early stages of labour. But more commonly it will occur very soon after their birth and will last in this consistency and appearance for a few days. The appearance of this shows that the bowels are in good working order so it’s nothing to worry about.

What happens as the first week progresses?

If you are breastfeeding after a few days the poo will become more of yellow colour and be mustard-like in appearance. It may even have a slightly sweet smell and be quite loose in texture and it may even have a grainy look or appear like curdled cottage cheese. If you are formula feeding this type of milk cannot be absorbed by the baby quite as well as breastmilk so it will come out the other end looking more like a paste and have a firmer texture.

Are there any other differences in baby poop?

Obviously all babies are different but as a rule breastfed babies have much looser stools (sometimes it’s almost like they have diarrhoea) and tend to smell less than the poop of formula fed babies which may be firmer but can have a more distinct smell while being also a more traditional colour (different types of brown). Various infant formulas on the market can give the baby’s poo a greenish appearance (green baby poo is nothing to be alarmed by just something to be aware of). It is also thought by some that formula fed babies are more prone to constipation than breastfed babies. This can also happen if you switch from breastfeeding your baby to giving them the bottle – so ideally do this gradually over a period of a few weeks to ease the transition – depending how long you wish to breastfeed for.

How many poos should my baby do?

As their systems get used to digesting milk (either breast or formula) they will pass through waste pretty quickly. From week one you should expect three to four poos a day while this will reduce gradually over the first year. The main thing is to appreciate is that there will be changes – the colour of poo, the texture of poo and the number of poos they do will all go through various phases.

What sort of poo should I be worried about?

Things to be especially on the lookout for are any signs of blood or mucus in the nappy (these should be reported to a health visitor or doctor as soon as possible) as well as signs your baby might be constipated (hard, rabbit dropping-like stools) or have diarrhoea (extremely watery liquid-like poo that comes our very quickly and loosely, often seeping through the nappy onto baby’s clothes) as these could be a sign something is wrong and they may be unwell. For example especially pale poos could be a sign the baby is jaundiced – again speak immediately to the health visitor or doctor if you are concerned

Will the poo change when my baby starts solids?

Yes it will. From about six months it is advised to start giving your baby some solid food and you will find this will affect the texture of the poo as it will thicken and harden up somewhat. You may also be able to tell in the nappy what they have had for lunch! Banana can come out the other end quite stringy-like in texture, while bright colours like carrot will be clearly visible. Raisins and other types of dried fruit often pass through whole as they are rich in fibre which is harder to digest. As your baby’s diet broadens it will mean their poos become much more adult like in texture and unfortunately a lot more smelly too! But this is all to be expected and is a normal part of development.

Your baby's poo