There is this very gross, but normal thing that happens when a baby is born: the parents become obsessed with their baby's poo. The consistency, color, and frequency is carefully and meticulously noted and analyzed. (Hell, there's even an app that tracks your baby's poo.) It's all for good reason though, because a baby's bowel movements can tell you a lot about what's going on inside their little body. There are many ways your baby's poop changes in the first year, which you'll no doubt be tempted to track one way or another.
There were many times in the first year of my first baby's life that I was tempted to either take a picture of her daily douce to show my pediatrician or bring in the actual diaper for analysis. I was always worried about whether my baby was getting enough water and the proper nutrients, or if she was reacting to something she ate. All of which can be figured out, in part, by looking at poop.
As your baby grows and their diet changes in the first year their poop will change along with it. Here are seven ways your baby's poop will change during the first year.
1. It Starts Of Green & Sticky
According to Web MD, baby's first poops are called meconium, and are described as greenish-black, sticky. As noted in Parents, this first poop doesn't have breast milk or formula in it yet. It's actually waste from everything your baby ingested in utero like skin cells, mucus, amniotic fluid, bile, water, and lanugo (the soft hair that covers the baby's body).
You may have heard that the baby can swallow the meconium or inhale it during labor or birth. This complication, dubbed meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS), can partially or completely block the airways according to the same Parents article referenced above. If MAS is suspected a baby will generally be suctioned as soon as their head is delivered and later examined to see if more treatments need to be administered.
2. It Becomes A Little Seedy
If your baby is exclusively breastfed, Baby Center noted that the poop will generally be yellow or kind of green with a mushy consistency, according to Baby Center. It might look like Dijon mustard with little dotted seed-like spots. But as gross as it may look, the exclusively breastfed baby's poop doesn't smell that bad. You can expect this appearance to not change until you introduce solid foods around four to six months old, or if your baby gets a stomach infection.
As noted in the same article, if your baby is taking an iron supplement the poop might be darkish green or blackish. This is completely normal, but only if your baby is taking extra iron. If your baby is having this color of bowel movements and they're not on an iron supplement, it might be a good idea to call the doctor.
3. It Transforms Into A Tan Shade
A formula-fed baby will have brownish, pasty, peanut butter looking poop, according to Parents. The tan brown color will vary between a yellow-brown or a green-brown depending on which brand of formula you use.
Generally speaking, the poop from formula fed babies, no matter which formula is used, will have more of an odor than poop from breastfed babies, as noted in the aforementioned article. Similar to exclusively breastfed babies, these bowel movements in the exclusively formula fed baby, will not change until solid foods are introduced at the four to six month mark.
4. It Changes Color To Reflect Baby's Diet
This is where things can get pretty all over the place as far as consistency and color. The spectrum of poop hue is generally determined by what your baby ate. When my baby had carrots, she produced orange poop. When my baby had peas, her bowel movements were green.
Babies typically start solid foods around four to six months, or whenever the baby is developmentally ready. According to the Dr. Sears website, it's normal for poop to vary in color and consistency once you introduce solid food. As explained on the site, a baby's body is simply getting used to digesting different food, and over time the bowel movements will not resemble what they last ate.
5. It'll Eventually Contain Partially Digested Food
This, to me, is the most gag worthy type of poop (besides blow out diapers). Sometimes your baby's poop will have chunks of food in it that you'll be able to identify. According to Parents, certain foods can be only partially digested in a baby. Sometimes the food is traveling so fast through their digestive track they don't have time to break down all of the way.
The only time this is concerning, as noted in the article, is if it's happening over and over again. If you consistently see food in your baby's diaper, you may want to call the doctor to make sure your baby is absorbing food and the nutrients properly.
6. There Will Be Cases Of Diarrhea
If your baby's poop is runny and watery, it may be sign that they have diarrhea, according to Web MD. The cause of diarrhea throughout the course of your baby's first year might change depending on what's going on with your little one. The diarrhea might be the result of an infection (viral, bacterial, or parasitic), food allergy or sensitivity to medicines, drinking too much juice, or poisoning of some sort, as the aforementioned site explained. Diarrhea can be dangerous, especially in newborns. The same site warned, if you suspect diarrhea in your little one, it's best to contact a doctor immediately because babies tend to get dehydrated fairly quickly. Blood or mucous is also a big concern and needs to be tended to right away if you see it.
7. It May Not Come Out At All
Just like adults, babies can go through bouts of constipation. According to the above Baby Center post, if your baby has pebble-like poop, it may be a sign that your baby is constipated. A few diapers of little poops is OK, but if it's several in a row, it should be brought to your doctor's attention. The constipation can be caused by whatever the baby is eating, medicines, or the type of formula being used.
The first year of your baby's life is a huge time for outward and inward development. Their body is going through many changes, and as gross as it seems to monitor baby poop, it's necessary to stay on top of their bowel movement habits.