A newborn’s poop is rather runny, and remains that way for months. I’m sure many new parents wonder, when will it solidify? I did. For me, the answer came months ago. To make the answer easier to find, here it is in brief:
Your baby’s poop will start solidifying when the baby starts eating solids. This makes complete sense if you think about it. When your baby starts eating the same food that you do, it’s logical that the poop coming out the other end will start looking the same too.
That’s it, in a nutshell. Of course, there’s a bit more to it…
Baby Poop Changes After Starting Solids
The exact changes vary depending on the baby and what food it eats. Here’s a short list of some of the changes you may see.
1. It Will Solidify
Yes, I already mentioned this one, but there are some nuances. Solidifying will be less obvious for formula-fed babies because their poop tends to be soft and mushy rather than the more runny poop from breastfed babies. As with full sized humans (adults), what you eat can also affect how loose or solid the stool is coming out the other end.
2. The Colour May Change (Multiple Times)
The colour will probably have been rather consistent while the baby was on a pure milk diet. It will most likely have been a mustard yellow for breast-fed babies, and more green/brown for formula. Now that the baby is eating other food, it makes sense that this will change.
The colour will change depending on what you’re feeding the baby. Think of the way your own poo changes colour after eating a lot of beetroot. Your baby’s digestive system is still developing, so this effect will be stronger initially. The colour of the food being eaten may tint the poop coming out the other end.
3. You May See Bits Of Food
We fed our baby cooked carrot bits. The next morning her poop had little orange bits in it. Yes, that’s partially digested carrot coming out the other end. And no, this is not a problem. Her little digestive system is still immature and getting used to solids. This will go away over time, as her digestive system matures.
4. It Will Be Smellier
Yes, little baby’s poop will become smellier. What smell and how smelly will depend on what you feed him/her. We discovered that sweet-potato made for rather smelly poop.
5. The Number Of Bowel Motions (Poops) May Increase or Decrease
This one depends a lot on what you feed the baby. Feed him/her lots of fibre, and you can expect pooping to happen more often. Feed him/her a low-fibre diet (e.g., rice and meat), and there will be less frequent bowel motions. This could even be once every few days.
This is no different from adults. Eat lots of fibre, and you can expect to go to the toilet more often. I’ve been told that a meat only diet (rising in popularity right now) results in needing to go only once every few days or so.
Pay Attention to the Poop
As with adults, poo can be an indicator of problems. In particular, watch out for the extremes. Diarrhea can be a sign of food allergy, or a “tummy bug” (i.e., getting sick). So, if your baby’s poop becomes diarrhea like and/or there are many bowel motions in one day, then it would be a good idea to go to the doctor.
Similarly, your child can also become constipated, resulting in days between bowel motions. Blood may also come out with the poo due to its hardness. This can be caused by feeding him/her with too much binding food, such as bananas (which we were warned to avoid in the first few months). When this happens, it’s time to change the diet. Maybe let the baby drink more fluids and add a bit more higher fibre foods such as fruit and vegetables. Taking a break from constipating foods may also be worth trying.
Needless to say, what you feed your child is a balancing act. His/her poop is one indicator you can use to monitor and adjust the food. We’ve increased and decreased sweet-potato, carrot and other items over time, as things changed.
If your baby isn’t on solids yet, then I highly recommend you read up on what foods are good/bad when introducing solids. That’ll give you a head start. Using ready-made baby food is an option, but have a good look at the ingredients. We were shocked at the sugar levels in every single prepackaged baby food we saw. So, we stuck to foods such as: cooked carrot, avocado, cooked meats, etc.
Cover photo credit: Image by Alexas_Fotos.