When a baby is born, their first poop meconium is black or dark green, stretchy and sticky. After a few days, the baby will start making a normal baby poop. Breast-fed baby poop is yellowish in colour and runny, it may contain tiny bits or lumps and has a slightly sour smell. Your baby may poop after each meal or only once a week, this is all perfectly normal because breast milk is absorbed in the body to such an extent that not much is left.
A baby eating formula may have a slightly darker and greener or browner poop. Your baby will start to poop more regularly, about once a day, when the formula is not digested completely. The consistency of the poop should be moderately runny. If your baby’s poop is as runny as water, too hard, whitish grey, slimy, or bloody, this is a sign of a health problem and you should contact your GP.
If your baby starts to eat extra food, constipation may be a problem. Constipation is when a baby poops less than 3 times a week, the poop is hard, and comes out with difficulty, causing pain to the baby. This is usually due to a lack of liquid. Constipation may also occur with a change of formula or weaning off breast milk, as the digestive rhythm may change. Even if a child receives little or uniform and low-fibre supplemental food, constipation might become a problem. If it is painful for the child to expel hard stool, the child may intentionally start holding the poop in the anus and the constipation will get even worse.
In the case of constipation, small changes in the baby’s diet are often helpful. If you start giving your child extra food, be sure to also give them clean non-carbonated water from a cup. Your baby may not want to drink this at first, but be consistent and try to give them sips, even with a spoon. Do not give them juices, because then the child may not want to drink water afterwards. The drink should be given during and between meals, so that the child develops a habit of drinking enough water.
In terms of food, the child can be offered digestive porridges such as oatmeal, but you should avoid giving them semolina and rice. Add oil as well to help soften the stool. However, you should not go overboard with the fibre, as it prevents the absorption of other substances. Pear, plum, or apple puree also aids in digestion. Berries, fruits, and vegetables, which contain a lot of water, also have a positive effect on a child’s digestion. Black plums and black plum juice, which can also be added to porridge, work especially well. At this time, bananas and potatoes should be avoided.
Physical activity can also help relieve constipation. Encourage your baby to move as much as possible, even if it is limited to just jumping on your lap or rolling around. Exercising with your baby’s feet also makes the gut work better. If your baby is having trouble pooping, you can also massage their stomach. To do this, make clockwise circles around the belly button, moving outwards from the navel in circles of increasing sizes. Relief can also be found from taking a bath. However, if constipation lasts for more than two weeks, the child doesn’t have an appetite, is pale and troubled, and pooping causes repeated discomfort, a doctor should be consulted.
If a child’s bowel function becomes too frequent and the stool becomes watery, it may be due to an unsuitable food, which can be solved by eliminating the problem food. Diarrhoea may also be caused by some infectious disease. If the diarrhoea does not go away within a week and is accompanied by vomiting, fever, unexplained weight change, skin rash, etc., further examination is required.
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