All About Baby's Poop: What's Normal, What's Not, When Starting Solids
Updated: Jun 20, 2022
Nearly all parents have questions about their baby’s bowel movements, especially when solid foods are introduced into their diet.
Up until now, your baby has been on a liquid diet and their poop has remained fairly consistent. Now that solids are being introduced, it only makes sense that the contents of their diapers are going to start changing, because what goes in, comes back out...and sometimes it comes out looking pretty close to how it did when it went in with its color and texture.
With all these changes, if you’re like me, you probably have lots of questions going through your mind.
Is this a cause for concern?
When should I see a doctor?
This post is the first one of a series of all about poop. I know, it's a dirty job, but someone's gotta tell you all about what's in your child's diapers.
Oh, so many colors!! When you eat the rainbow, you poop the rainbow, and that will likely be one of the first changes you notice.
The variety of colors that will begin to show up may amaze you. The good news is that most of them are normal and are a reflection of what your baby eats. Most of the time, baby’s poop has a dark brown or brown-yellow color. But it can also come in other colors like red, orange, green, blueish.
⭐️If you are, or ever get concerned about the color of your baby's BMs, talk with your pediatrician.
FUN FACT: Stool is made up of broken-down food, bacteria, cells that shed from the intestines and bile. Bile is a waste product that is excreted from your liver; it dumps into your intestines and accounts for the majority of poop's color.
You can give your baby a safe start to solid foods! This on-demand workshop will provide you with the knowledge and confidence you need to wean well.
When liquids go in, liquids come out. When solids go in, solids come out. It's only natural for your baby's poop to thicken and bulk up after the introduction of solids.
The consistency can range from thick as peanut butter to mushier, like cottage cheese or yogurt. If your child, regardless of her age, passes anything that looks like cat poop (loglike) or rabbit poop (a pebble), or if stools are hard, dry, and painful to pass, they might be constipated. Here is a rule to keep in mind: If the poop can roll, it's too hard.
⭐️If you are, or ever get concerned about the texture of your baby's BMs, talk with your pediatrician.
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How often your baby's bowel movements happen may change once they start eating solids. They may happen more. They may happen less. They may stay the same. Like every adult, every baby has a different metabolism.
Here is a general guideline: After about 6 months of age, more than four BMs a day are too many, and less than one a week is too few. That's because we want poop to move through gradually and steadily. If it moves too quickly, the body absorbs less food and nutrition. If it moves too slowly, it can cause constipation. Yet, what the poop looks like matters more than how often you see it.
But again, keep in mind that every baby has a different metabolism. And you will have to observe your baby to figure out their natural BMs schedule.
⭐️If you think your baby's BMs are too frequent, or not frequent enough, talk with your pediatrician.
The scent is most often a reflection of how long the poop was in the intestines -- the longer it sits in bacteria, the more it will smell. However, some babies with very sour- or foul-smelling poop may have an intolerance or allergy.
Up to now (6 months of age) your baby’s poop shouldn’t be smelly. In general, breastfed baby poop doesn't stink at all; poop from formula-fed infants has a light smell. Those early poopy diapers really shouldn't clear the room. However, once you add solid foods to your baby’s diet, especially various protein sources, it's another story.
⭐️If you think your baby's BMs are exceptionally smelly, talk with your pediatrician.
Presence of Undigested Food
Chunks of food (looking pretty much the same as when it went in) is normal. It does not mean that your baby's digestive system isn't ready for solids yet. It means their digestive system has taken what it could from that food and is discarding the rest.
Even our adult poop will have undigested food in it! We usually don't notice because we don’t have it right in our face like we do with our baby’s diapers.
Things That Can Alter Your Baby’s BMs
Medication - especially antibiotics; if your child takes them, they may experience diarrhea, gassiness, stomach upset, or more frequent poops. So use antibiotics for your baby only when prescribed by your doctor. Have your child eat yogurt with active cultures every day while on an antibiotic (it will have a seal that says "Live & Active Cultures"). Or ask your pediatrician about giving your child probiotics daily while taking an antibiotic. Research shows that probiotics can shorten bouts of diarrhea in children who are taking antibiotics.
Illness: Virus, bacteria, fungal organisms, and parasites can cause infections that lead to changes in baby’s BMs. Children with a stomach bug often vomit for about 24 hours, but they may need up to two weeks for their stools to get back to normal.
Traveling: Being on the road can make it tricky to stay hydrated, leading to harder BMs. When you're drinking water from new places, the normal bacteria living in the gut can change and may also lead to runnier stools. Try offering your baby culture-rich yogurt daily while on the road. Check with your pediatrician about giving your child probiotics daily while traveling.
Medical Conditions: Some medical conditions, such as inflammation of the bowels, can cause changes in stools. If you are, or ever get concerned about your baby's BMs, talk with your pediatrician.
Others: Starting solids. Teething itself is not likely the cause of diarrhea; however, teething babies put everything in their mouths. Germs on toys, teethers, and little hands can easily find their way into your child's body, leading to illness and diarrhea.
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When to Call the Doctor
If at any point you become concerned about your baby’s BMs, the best thing is to always check with your doctor. Especially…
If poop is white (a sign your baby isn't producing enough bile), black (which signals blood digested from the stomach or small intestine), or contains streaks of red (it could mean blood from the colon or rectum)
If your child screams out in pain or bleeds while pooping
If you see mucus, which can be a sign of an infection or intolerance
If your baby’s stool changes dramatically after you introduce a new food; this may signal an allergy
If your baby’s poop is still a very runny consistency by age one
If your baby is not eating well and/or is excessively sleepy
If your child has a fever or other symptoms along with the change in BMs
If you notice any signs of dehydration (less than six wet diapers a day; dry mouth and lips; lack of tears when the baby is crying; poor feeding).
Once you introduce solid foods to your baby’s diet, expect to see changes in diaper contents in terms of color, texture, smell, frequency, and presence of food. Most likely, those changes you will see are normal and part of the process. But if you ever become concerned about your baby's BMs, talk with your pediatrician.
Happy Eating and Feeding,
Looking for more resources to help you raise a healthy and happy little eater? Try our FREE FOOD LIBRARY for inspiration of first foods to offer to your baby!
As always, discuss any concerns with your pediatrician. This post and this site is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice. The materials and services provided by this site are for informational purposes only.