So we’ve already talked about what to expect in the early days and how newborn stools change in the first week or so of life, but beyond that we still get loads of questions asking about poo and what’s ‘normal’ particularly regarding colour! Like most things, what’s normal for one baby might be quite different for another, things can even change from day to day (even hour to hour!) and there is a veritable rainbow of colours which can all fall within the realms of what we would expect to see!
This is one of those things that no one really warns you about (unless you attend one of our Pregnancy Sessions of course) As a new parent, you are never going to talk about poo so much!
You’ll probably take photo’s of it to show us, and may even hold onto old nappies ready for when the midwife pops round! After all the contents of your new baby’s nappy are really not much like the poo you know, and really not like much else on earth!
And we’ll let you into a little secret- we’re all a little bit obsessed with poo too! In those early days of breastfeeding, it’s one of the best ways for us to see what’s going in- by looking at what comes OUT, in the form of wee and poo!
The first poo your baby will pass isn’t actually poo. It’s meconium. This black, sticky, tar like substance is in your baby’s bowel whilst you are pregnant, it helps to keep their bowel sterile, but after it’s just not needed so out it comes- in fact that first feed helps to get it moving.
Imagine if someone put marmite in a tube of toothpaste and just kept squeezing- that’s meconium! It keeps on coming and takes copious wet cotton balls to actually remove. Expect at least 1-2 in the first 24- 48 hours- although prepare for many more!!! 1-2 wet nappies at this stage is also all we would be looking for. Their tummies are tiny and don’t hold much- around 5-7mls, so they won’t create much wee yet.
Eventually that meconium is almost all gone, and babies’ poo changes- we even call this a changing stool. It’s the end of that meconium and the beginnings of the digestion of breast milk. Its green and quite ‘bitty’- think mint sauce or pesto!! Again, from around day 3 we’re expecting a couple in 24 hours. Wet nappies continue to show us baby is taking enough too, by this stage we’d want 3 or more heavier nappies alongside that changing stool.
Often, we then have a little journey through a few shades of brown, finished with the grand finale of poo on around day 5….
chicken korma or English mustard!! This soft yellow poo is a great sign baby is feeding on your mature breast milk, and another bonus is it smells kinda nice- Quite sweet smelling really! We’re still wanting 2 poos a day, whether it’s a £2 coin sized splat, or a full chin to back of neck ‘poonami’ (more on those later!). Although there’s no upper limit, and many breastfed babies will poo after every feed. Wet nappies should also have increased to around 5+per day by now and around a wee per feed as they get bigger.
Breastfed babies’ poo is often very loose. They’ve not got the runs, it’s just what their poo is like! It doesn’t ever really form into a stool until you introduce solid foods though adding formula can make the stools a little darker and thicker or more ‘paste’ like (we’re talking peanut butter here!)
Wet nappies continue to always be a really good indicator of effective feeding as does poo, but only up until around 4-6weeks.
Beyond that, some exclusively breastfed babies can go up to 10 days without a poo! They aren’t constipated, they’ve just become more efficient at feeding and there’s not as much wastage in breastmilk.
So, if you are ever worried about what’s going in, focus instead on what’s coming out!!!