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Baby Stool: What Is Normal And What Is Not

Many parents, especially mothers freak out if there are changes in their baby's stool (be it the colour, texture or the frequency). Depending on the diet or the type of milk fed (breastfed or formula milk), the nature of the stool may vary from one baby to another. Thus, any changes in the usual pattern of your baby's stool may not always be indicative of a health problem. To explain this point better, here is a complete guide on the baby poop to help parents know what is normal and when they may require a medical attention. 

 - A Meconium is the first poop of your newborn. Comprising mostly of mucus, skin cells, and also amniotic fluid, the poop is usually greenish black in colour without any foul smell and is often sticky in nature. However, within a day or two, as the baby is into breastfeeding, the stool no longer remains sticky and tarry and the colour also lightens to a considerable extent.

 - As the breastfeeding continues, the baby stool appears yellowish (at times even pale green) in colour with a creamy texture. Many parents often mistake it for diarrhoea. However, unlike diarrhoea, in this case, the stool is neither accompanied by foul smell or any physical discomfort such as a stomach ache.

 - In the babies not getting enough of hindmilk (the part of the breast milk that is laden with fats and calories), the stool may appear frothy with dark green colour. However, there is nothing to press the panic button. Just ensure that the next time you breastfeed the baby for a longer time so that the baby gets enough of both the foremilk (low-calorie milk that comes right at the beginning of the breastfeeding) and hindmilk.

 - Babies who are into iron supplements may pass a dark green colour stool with a blackish tinge to it. While this is normal, do consult a doctor if the change in stool colour is sudden and sans any iron supplements intake.

 - Babies fed formula milk are often found to pass stool that appears brown (greenish or yellowish brown) in colour. As compared to the breastfed babies, the poop is also smelly with a paste-like consistency. In spite of the smell, the stool is normal and healthy.

 - With the introduction of solid foods (such as mashed or pureed fruit, vegetables and cereals), the baby stool not only gets more smelly but also appears dark brown in colour with a mushy consistency. The appearance of some food chunks in the stool could be indicative of partial digestion of those foodstuffs. However, if this continues for long, do consult the attending paediatrician for the remedial measures and treatment.

 - Many babies also suffer from constipation or diarrhoea or both which can be quite physically discomforting. While a dark-coloured stool that resembles small pebbles (hard consistency) is indicative of constipation, in the case of diarrhoea, the baby poop will be brown, green or even yellow in colour with a loose or watery consistency. At times, the stool is also accompanied by a pungent smell. The baby also appears weak and tired. In both the cases, seek medical assistance at the earliest.

 - Also, consult a doctor if the baby stool is pale or clay coloured (often indicative of liver disorders).

 - A baby stool that appears jet black (indicative of melena) or comprises mainly of red blood (a sign of intestinal problems) and mucus (stomach infection) requires a proper investigation as well. 

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