Hi mamas! I’m Kristin Gourley, an IBCLC and mom of 5. I’m here today to talk about your breastfed baby’s poop!
Before you become a new parent, you have no idea how much you’ll think about and analyze poop – trust me! You and your partner will know just how far you’ve come when you can spend ten minutes discussing diaper changing frequency and appearance.
In fact, in every consultation I ask about baby’s bowel movements because it can be a great way to learn about baby’s health. In Breastfeeding Basics, there is lots of detail about what to expect in baby’s first poops (aka meconium), but today we are going to be talking about poops for infants, rather than newborns.
It’s important to note that most of the time, a variation in your baby’s poop does not indicate a problem, but in some cases it could help identify some gastrointestinal issues, bacterial infections, or problems with their digestive tract. Yellow, mustard yellow, or orangey-yellow is usually what breastfed babies’ poop is colored once mature milk comes in around 10-14 days, but sometimes it is watery and runny, sometimes it is seedy or full of curds, sometimes it seems super thin, and sometimes it’s more like toothpaste.
The texture varies from baby to baby but can also vary from diaper to diaper in the same baby. Some moms ask us how they would know if their baby had diarrhea since their regular poop is so liquidy. Diarrhea is not common in the exclusively breastfed baby, and is much more common in formula-fed babies. But if they get it, it’s generally VERY watery, comes VERY often, is usually green or almost neon can be mucousy, and almost always has a VERY foul odor (much worse than the mild smell of a breastfed baby’s poop– which is one awesome benefit of breastfeeding!).
What if baby’s poop is bright green or dark green? Or kind of dark brown? Well, you can breathe easy knowing that generally brown and green baby poop and is just a variation of normal. White? White baby poop that is chalky could be a sign of a blockage.
What if you see blood? Sometimes black stool that is tar-like could be a sign of blood, or you may notice flecks of red blood. Usually it’s nothing dangerous or scary, but it can point to an anal fissure that will probably heal on its own (these are very common!) or allergies. Be sure to call your baby’s healthcare provider if you are concerned about anything you see. Babies often push hard to poop, but this isn’t typically a concern. They’re trying to figure out what is actually necessary to get their business done!
Moms will sometimes be getting into their groove with nursing and then at 6 or 8 weeks suddenly baby is only pooping every third day. That sounds terribly uncomfortable to our adult bowels, but the exclusively breastfed baby is very rarely truly constipated. True constipation is hard, pellet-like stool and warrants a call to the pediatrician in a breastfed baby.
If baby is passing soft, yellow stool after a long hiatus from pooping, you can rest easy– but get out your big box of wipes because this often means there will be a LOT of poop when it does come! It’s worth noting that pooping infrequently (less than once a day) at under a month old could mean inadequate milk intake, so you should check in with us to make sure baby is nursing well, but it is not a reason to panic.
If you feel like you’re up to your ears in dirty diapers, try to remind yourself that it’s an awesome problem because it means baby is drinking lots of milk to grow and thrive. If you’re worried about your baby’s pooping habits, reach out to us for help. If you’re pregnant or you’re still not sure what’s normal, check out our online breastfeeding video classes which also go over important things to know about poop, as well a LOT more about breastfeeding!
Have you signed up for our Confident Breastfeeding Course yet? It’s a good intro to the online breastfeeding classes. Click the image below to download.
Thanks for stopping by,
Kristin Gourley, BS, IBCLC