What will a baby’s poo look like when solids are introduced?
Between 4 – 6 months, a baby should slowly be introduced to solids; however, this new introduction will also have a dramatic effect on the baby’s pooping regime, including: color, texture, and smell. Depending on the solids consumed; will greatly affect all aspects of the baby’s poo (at this stage it is more difficult for a mother to judge what is normal and what is not [eg. carrots = orange poo, raisins = a quick release of dark runny poo, etc.]).
What is considered a normal baby’s poo?
A normal consistency of poo will basically be decided by what solids a baby eats. Also as a baby gets older, a more varied food intake will be introduced (fibers will be digested more efficiently) changing what was normal before, to what is a “new” normal (poops will become: thicker, darker, and smellier).
1. Diarrhea – will be one of the first problems to deal with. Diarrhea (runny often liquid poo, pooping more frequently, poops are larger than normal, poop is explosive [spurts out]) is often caused by one of the following:
(a) Gastroenteritis – an infection caused by a variety of viruses that often results in vomiting and/or diarrhea.
(b) Too much fruit, juice, or rich foods (sometimes food allergies may cause diarrhea).
(c) A reaction to certain medicines.
(d) Teething may also cause loose poo.
Bottle-fed babies are more prone to infections and diarrhea than breast-fed babies (breast milk helps prevent the growth of bacteria). Also, certain brands may affect how a baby digests either food, or juice – even milk. Consider changing the brand, or switching back to a previous used brand (always sterilize baby bottles and equipment, and wash hands thoroughly).
Diarrhea may also indicate constipation (liquid poo seeping past a blockage of hard poo). It is usual for most bouts of diarrhea to clear-up within a period of 24 hours; however, if not, medical attention should be sought (the risk of dehydration caused by diarrhea can be serious).
2. Constipation – is the opposite to diarrhea, where instead of a quick release of runny or watery poo, the poo is hard and does not want to come out. An indication may be when a baby strains and pulls faces (usually becoming quite red); however, this is not always the case. Constipation is often caused by one of the following:
(a) The wrong consistency of powered baby milk at the time of preparation.
(b) Changes of diet (new foods and drinks [the main cause of diarrhea in babies]).
(c) Reaction to certain medicines.
(d) Fevers and dehydration.
Symptoms may include: straining, reddening of the face when trying to poop, crying, small rabbit like poo (dry), large dry poo, tightening of the stomach, hard poo with streaks of blood (often caused by anal fissures* [cracked skin caused by the hard poo when being passed]). Breast-fed babies are less prone to constipation (breast-milk contains the correct amount of nutrients).
* When anal fissures occurs, the baby will try not to poop; as it causes pain when trying to pass the hard poo (this act makes the situation worse as the baby becomes more constipated). Medical attention should be sought if constipation is persistent, lasts longer than a day or two, or contains blood.
3. Green Poo – is often a sign of too much lactose (natural sugar found in milk) being consumed. Also, when a baby feeds often, but does not get sufficient rich milk by the end of the feed, and occasionally when a baby has not completed breast-feeding one-side, before being switched to the other breast. Other causes may include: the brand of powered milk, certain foods (the same as with adults), medication, feeding routine, and stomach bugs (most stomach bugs tend to provoke diarrhea).
4. Pale Poo – may be a sign of jaundice (a yellowing of the skin lasting around 15 days in newborns [if longer, medical attention should be sought]).
Note: As babies are unable to tell their mothers what is wrong with them, it is important to be vigilant of any problems that might be occurring. Checking the baby’s poo can give many clues as to what is going on with a baby’s health. If anything unusual is of a cause for concern, medical attention should be sought as soon as possible.
This concludes the 2-part series of “Is My Baby Sick? – Identifying the Types of Baby Poo – Part 1 & 2.”