By Raising Children Network
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Understanding and examining your baby’s poo and wee isn’t disgusting. It’s one of the best ways you can check on baby’s health.
Newborn having nappy changed
 

The basics

Your newborn’s first poo will be a dark green substance (called meconium). This is normal – it’s just his body cleaning itself out after being in the womb. You might still see some dark green for a few poos.

Young babies can wee and poo many times every day. Having lots of wet nappies is a good sign – it shows that your child is getting all the fluids she needs. The wetting will be less frequent as your baby gets older, but will still happen at least 6-8 times a day.

If your baby wears absorbent disposable nappies and you want to check how much he’s weeing, the weight of the nappy is a better test than how wet it feels. Also, sometimes there can be small ‘crystals’ on the inner surface of a disposable nappy. These come from the inside of the nappy, not from your baby.

Your baby has no control over when she poos or wees, so don’t take it personally if she wees on you during a nappy change.

Looking at wee

Every time your baby wees, examine the stream or stain. This will tell you a lot about your baby’s health.

Light pink or orange stains are nothing to worry about. They’re caused by the wee reacting with chemicals in the nappy, and are quite common. Darker wee, on the other hand, is a sign that your child might be dehydrated or not feeding enough.

If the wee stains are red or brown, and you suspect the presence of blood or you think your baby isn’t well, consult your doctor immediately.

Looking at poo

As the weeks pass, you can expect variations in:

  • how often your baby does a poo
  • the colour of the poo
  • the consistency of the poo – firm, runny and everything between
  • the smell of the poo – it generally gets more smelly as baby begins eating solids.

How your baby’s poo looks might depend on your baby’s diet.

Breastmilk
The poo:

  • will be quite runny, a bit like mustard, often a yellow-orange colour, but sometimes green
  • will be less frequent but still quite soft after a few months
  • can smell quite sweet. It can also be affected by what you eat.
Formula
The poo:
  • is generally firmer but can vary a lot in colour and consistency
  • can be grey-yellow (or even grey-blue), or some shades of brown.   

Change from one formula to another
This can lead to changes in appearance and regularity of poo.

Solids
The poo:

  • becomes firmer and smellier once solids are introduced
  • can look as if some solids are undigested. This is because your baby’s digestive system is still developing.

Spotting poo problems

Constipation
This is when the poo is hard and dry, and looks like marbles. This kind of poo is difficult for your baby to push out, which can be upsetting for her. If this continues or you spot any blood in the poo, speak with your doctor or child and family health nurse. Constipation is more likely to happen in bottle-fed babies, usually if the formula has been made without enough water.

If your baby seems to be putting a lot of effort into pooing, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s constipated. Young babies often go red-faced, grunt or even cry during pooing, but can grow out of this when they get more used to the experience.

Diarrhoea
This is when your baby does more runny (even watery) poos, more often than usual. If your baby is vomiting as well, he might have a gut infection. It’s important to see the doctor immediately to avoid your baby dehydrating.

Pale poo
If a baby with jaundice also has white, grey or pale yellow poo, the baby might have a rare liver disease. The baby will need a blood test to check, so seeing the doctor is very important.

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  • Last Updated 06-12-2012
  • Last Reviewed 08-06-2012