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Main causes for changes in baby poop

Changes in milk, intestinal infections or problems in the baby's stomach can cause changes in the stool, and it is important for parents to be aware of the characteristics of the baby's poop as it may indicate changes in the child's health status.

Therefore, it is important to consult your pediatrician whenever there are sudden changes in the stool, especially when accompanied by other symptoms such as decreased appetite, vomiting or irritability, so that the baby is evaluated and starts the appropriate treatment soon.

Main causes for changes in baby poop

1. Poops color

Changes in baby's poop color are related to the speed that food passes through the gut, type of food, or health problems, as shown below:

Yellow

The yellowish color is normal in the babies poop, especially those who are fed only on breast milk. When fed with milk formula, the feces are dark yellow, more brown-colored. So, yellow poop should only be source of concern when in the form of diarrhea.

Green

Green colored poop normally appear in baby's in the first week of life or when they are exclusively breastfed, then becoming a light green color. However, this color may also be due to the presence of infection, changes in milk, intolerance to some food or the use of medication. See more in: causes for green poop in babies.

In addition, if the poop is greenish shiny and has a foam texture, it may be a sign that the baby is feeding only in the beginning of the breastfeed, which is composed mainly of water.

What to do: If the poop develops this color after the second week of life or if the green tone gets stronger, you should see your pediatrician to identify the cause of the problem. If the stool is dry and frothy, you should let the baby dry the entire breast before changing your breast, because only then will it be able to ingest the milk fat and the calories needed to grow healthy.

White

They may indicate poor digestion problems due to the lack of bile, a liver-produced liquid that helps digest diet fats and is responsible for the dark color of the stool.

What to do: If this color persists for more than 2 or 3 days, you should seek their pediatrician, as the baby may have a liver problem and end up losing weight due to poor digestion.

Red

They can occur due to increased intake of foods such as beets, beans or blackberries. However, red stools can also be a sign of blood in the intestinal tract, which can be caused by problems such as intestinal infection, constipation, hemorrhoids or food allergy, and it is necessary to seek the pediatrician's opinion.

What to do: If the red color is not due to increased intake of dark foods, you should see your doctor right away to identify the presence and cause of intestinal bleeding.

Dark brown

It can be a sign of blood due to lesions in the intestinal tract or due to the presence of wounds in the mother's breasts, which can end up causing the baby to ingest blood.

In addition, the dark brown color may also be a sign that the baby is taking dietary supplements like iron, which end up darkening the stool.

What to do: If supplements are used, change in color is normal and you should only see if your stools get better after you stop taking the medication. However, the dark color has no apparent cause, it is important to seek the pediatrician soon to try to identify the problem.

The important thing to remember is to be aware of changes in the baby's stool and their intestinal transit rhythm, because sudden changes or accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, pain, swelling and irritation, may indicate the presence of diseases.

Main causes for changes in baby poop

2. Amount of poop

The amount of baby's stool varies depending on the type of food and age, with bowel movements after meals or up to 2 times a week.

In general, newborns fed exclusively breast milk usually poop after each feeding, but this frequency decreases after about 3 to 6 weeks because of the maturity of the mother's milk.

However, you should pay attention if the amount of stool frequency drops suddenly, without any apparent reason or changes in the child's diet, as it may be indicative of a problem, in this case see their pediatrician.

3. Poop consistency

The normal consistency of the baby's stool is pasty, but it is common for infants fed powdered milk to have more consistent stools or small lumps, as the milk formula is harder to digest than breast milk.

However, abrupt changes in consistency may indicate health problems such as:

Obstipation

The poop is smaller and has the form of small hard balls, and may also appear pain, stiffening of the belly and cracks in the anus, due to the difficulty in defecating.
Obstipation may indicate dehydration, change in milk tolerance, or increased consumption of hard-to-digest foods such as seeds, beans, and corn.

What to do: Offer more water to the baby and see if consistency improves. In addition, if your child already eats solid foods, you should try to offer more cooked fruits and vegetables to increase the amount of fiber in their diet. However, if obstipation persists for more than 3 days, you should seek your pediatrician. 

Diarrhea

It is characterized by the occurrence of at least 3 poops more liquid than normal, and may indicate problems such as viral infections or allergy to milk or some food.

What to do: Provide plenty of water to the baby to avoid dehydration and give easily digestible foods if the baby already eats solids such as cornstarch, chicken or cooked rice. It is also important to seek the doctor to assess the cause of the diarrhea, especially if there is also fever or vomiting or if the baby is less than 3 months old. See more in: How to treat diarrhea in babies.

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