As a Public Health Nurse, these are some of the very common questions and concerns I hear from clients:
“I have a 2.5 month-old. He hasn’t had a poop in 4 days. Should I be concerned?”
“My 4 month-old seems to be constipated. She only passed a tiny bit and she looks like she is straining.”
Baby poops have been a common source of anxiety and worry for parents! The good news is, in many cases, the baby is doing perfectly fine. It’s important to learn what would be considered normal at baby’s age.
The colours, textures, and frequency of baby’s stool can tell you a lot about your baby’s health.
Normal stool changes when baby is 1-2 months or older:
- Reduced frequency
Some babies have 1 or 2 bowel movements per day, while others have one per week. This is normal if your baby is feeding well, seems satisfied after feeding, and their stools are soft.
- Colour and texture
Once baby starts eating solid foods, stools may change colour to brown or dark brown and will likely be thicker, but still mushy, they’ll also be smellier. The increased iron content in baby’s foods may turn stool to a dark green colour. These are all normal variations.
- Partially digested food
You may notice identifiable chunks of food in your baby’s stools. Baby’s digestive system is still developing, so it is normal that some partially undigested food passes through their system.
- Mucus in stools
Check your baby’s latch to ensure better intake of the high fat milk if you are breastfeeding. If baby is drooling a lot or has a cold, you may see shiny, glistening strings of mucus in the stool. If baby is content, feeding well, and does not have a fever, you can wait for a few days. The mucus in the stool may not last long.
Check with baby’s health care provider if you notice:
- Blood in poops
- Mucus in poops that is present for more than several days
- Poops as hard as little pebbles
- Watery poops for 24 hours, or if baby seems at all dehydrated
*** Always check with baby’s health care provider before using suppositories or enemas on baby ***
Tips to help baby have healthy bowels:
- If your baby eats solid foods, try to offer high fibre-strained foods, i.e. apricots, beans, cereals, peaches, pears, peas, plums or prunes.
- Try to spend at least 30 minutes practicing “tummy time” while baby’s awake, spread throughout the day.
- For an older baby, practice interactive floor-based play.
- Make sure baby is properly hydrated by practicing cue-based feeding.
Questions about baby or parenting? Connect with a public health nurse via eChat or call 416-338-7600.