Your baby’s stools will probably change in color, softness, and frequency from time to time. Also, different babies have different bowel habits. Some have a stool with every feeding; others may have one stool every few days. The consistency and color varies from day to day.
When you come home from the hospital, your baby may still be having the thick, dark, greenish, meconium stools. These will go away in the first few days at home. Usually breastfed infants have liquidy, mustard-colored stools with whitish cottage cheese-like seeds in them. If you’re breastfeeding your baby, don’t interpret runny stools as a sign of diarrhea. The stools of a formula fed infant are yellowish-tan and tend to be thicker than those of the breast-fed baby. All babies will occasionally have green, brown, or lighter colored stools. Your child may have diarrhea if the stools are of larger volume and frequency or if the urine output has decreased and your child appears ill. Please call us if there is any blood in your child’s stool.
As long as your baby seems happy and content, is eating normally, and has no signs of illness, don’t worry about minor changes in the stools. If your baby strains, grunts, or turns red in the face before or while having a bowel movement, this can also be normal.
Reddish-Orange Stains in the Diaper (Urate Crystals)
If there is true blood in the diaper we should see the baby in the office. However, the most common cause of “blood” in the diaper is usually a normal condition caused by urate crystals. Urate is a normal waste product in the urine which can crystallize leading to reddish-orange stains in the diaper. This is not true blood and is no cause for concern. If the color appears more like true blood, then please contact our office as soon as possible. The more orange the color appears and the happier the baby is acting, the less you need to worry!
Infants commonly strain when stooling. Bowel frequency can change from month to month and often babies may not have a bowel movement for several days (this is normal). As long as they do not experience an unusual amount of discomfort passing stool, and there is no rectal bleeding, and the stool is as soft as peanut butter, it is ok to stool as infrequently as once a week (or sometimes even longer). If the baby is older than one month and needs some help, it is okay to give prune, apple, or pear juice. Give no more than one ounce per day for each month of age from one month up to four months of age.
For example, a two month old baby should receive no more than two ounces of juice per day and a three months old baby should receive no more than three ounces of juice per day. Babies older than four months should receive no more than four ounces of juice per day. A baby who already eats solids can be given pureed plums. If these measures do not help after 2-3 days, please call the office.