Posted: Jul 24, 2013 11:00 AM
 
Welcome to parenthood, where every other conversation revolves around poop — how often, how many and how on earth can this newborn poop so much?

Stock the nursery full of diapers and wipes, and get ready to talk about your baby's bowel movements morning, noon and night. Here's the scoop on newborn poop!

Baby's first poop

Meconium doesn't look like "regular" adult poop or even poop you'll notice once your baby starts feeding, but it's the first bowel movement your baby will have shortly after birth. It's very dark, sticky and looks like tar — the same for all babies whether breast or formula fed. Once meconium has passed, the color and consistency of poop will look different depending on how you choose to feed your baby — breast milk or formula.

Breast-fed baby poop

If you exclusively breastfeed, your baby's poop will be yellowish-brown in color, "like cottage cheese mixed with Dijon mustard," Riley Minster, M.D., explains. Once your breast milk comes in, your baby's poop may also look like a bunch of seeds.

Formula-fed baby poop

Formula-fed baby poop has its own consistency and color — "like yellow or brown or even green tinted soft grown-up poops, but very watery and smaller," Minster says.

When to call the pediatrician

While your pediatrician is always just a phone call away if you have questions or concerns about your baby's bowel movements, it's rare you will need to worry.

"Parents are always concerned that their baby is pooping too much, or too little, or the poop looks different, or it is too smelly, or not smelly enough," Minster explains. "The only true 'warning sign' is blood. Bloody stools are never normal — they are not necessarily dangerous, but they are not normal and your child should be seen by their pediatrician within 24 hours."

allParenting newborn poop infographic

Get to know your baby's BMs

You'll get to know your baby's cues — when he's hungry, when he needs a diaper change, and yes, his bowel habits. What's normal for your baby may be different than your friend's baby, and that's usually just fine. "Some babies are always constipated and poop once every four to five days. Some babies poop four to five times a day," Minster explains. "All babies get constipated sometimes, and like adults, they can get diarrhea too. If your baby is happy, enjoys being fed, has a soft tummy and no fevers, then it doesn't matter what their poop looks or smells like."

Read more about baby health

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Baby spit up: What's normal?
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