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!
At some point during your baby’s first year, they will probably suffer from some constipation. After the first few weeks of life, it is perfectly normal for your child to stool once every two to four days (and sometimes longer) and it is perfectly normal for them to strain and grunt (you try pooping laying down!). As long as the stools are as soft as peanut butter you have nothing to worry about. If the stools are hard or there are little streaks of blood on the outside of the stool, then your baby may need some help. You can start by adding one teaspoon of any type of prune juice to every one ounce of formula, three to four times per day. Try this for several days. If the stool does not soften, then try adding one teaspoon of Karo syrup (use dark corn syrup, available in the baking section of any grocery store) to every one ounce of formula, three to four times per day. Try this for several days. If this does not work or your baby is in too much discomfort to wait for these methods to work, please come and see us at the clinic.