Your baby's stoolFor the first few days after birth, babies pass urine and a thick, green-black stool (meconium). This is the substance that lines the gut when the baby is in the uterus and it is expelled over the first few days. It is remarkably sticky and hard to remove from skin and nappies. For this reason, it may be better to use disposable nappies for the first few days, even if you plan to use terry nappies after this. As feedings become established, the stool becomes more yellow-green. Most infants have stools daily, but some have them only every two to three days. Some babies suffer from constipation.

After the first few days, a breastfed baby's stools are yellow, sweetish-smelling and very soft - sometimes no more than a stain on the nappy, sometimes a lot more. A bottle-fed baby's stools are pale brown, smelly and more formed. Some baby formula milks give a greenish tinge to the stool. The occasional green stool in a breastfed or bottle fed baby is nothing to worry about. If your baby has persistent green stools, or foamy stools, or stools containing mucus, talk to your Doctor/health visitor.

If your baby's diet changes or he's sick, the stool pattern may also vary. If stools become drier, try adding a little water or juice to the infant's diet. For older babies, adding fruit or vegetables can make stools less dry. Formula-fed babies tend to have drier, less frequent stools than breastfed babies. Breastfed babies are rarely constipated. Just after birth it seems they have a stool every time they eat. But after a few weeks the pattern can change to a stool every two or three days or even once a week. If the baby is not uncomfortable and the stools are soft, there's probably no problem. But if your baby is having difficulty passing stools, see your Doctor/health visitor for advice.

Starting Solid Foods
Once your baby starts solid food, you'll notice all sorts of changes in his stool. But you need not worry since this is very normal. You will notice the following changes.

Frequency: Your baby's pooping pattern can change temporarily the first time you give him certain foods. For example, bananas and rice cereal cause fewer stools in some babies, and fruit can cause an increase in dirty diapers.

Stool gets its foul odour from the bacteria that live and grow in the colon and make up the bulk of a baby's stool. As new sugars make their way into the colon, different types of bacteria grow and prosper. The result can be an unpleasant odour.

Colour: Your baby's stool may turn funny colours depending on what he eats. Carrots and squash can appear yellow in the diaper. Artificially coloured juices can create a scary resemblance to blood, and dark green veggies are notorious for causing very dark stools. With few exceptions, these changes are nothing to worry about. But if you notice black or red stools that you can't connect to any food, tell your paediatrician.

Consistency: The consistency of your baby's stool will change depending on what he eats. They can range from hard or firm to loose and slimy. But look out for watery stools that soak into the diaper, which may mean your baby is sick or has a food allergy. Also, although you may see mucus in his stool when he eats certain fruits, like bananas, lots of it can indicate an irritated colon, also pointing to a food reaction.

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