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Friday, November 18, 2011


In the first few day of life your baby will have his first bowel movement, which is often referred to as passing meconium. This thick, dark green or black substance filled his intestines before birth, and it must be eliminated before normal digestion can take place. Once meconium is passed, the stools will turn yellow-green.

If your baby is breastfeed, his stool should soon resemble light mustard with seed like particles. Until he starts to eat solid foods, the consistency of the stools should be soft, even slightly runny. If his formula-fed, his stools usually will be tan or yellow in color. They will be firmer than in a baby who is breastfed, but no firmer than peanut butter.

Whatever breastfed or bottle-fed, if your baby's has hard or very dry stools, it may be a sign that he is not getting enough fluid, or that he is loosing too much fluid due to illness, fever, or heat. Once he has started solids, hard stools might indicate that he's eating too many constipating foods, such as cereal or cow's milk, before his system can handle them.(Whole cow milk is not recommended for babies under 12months.)

Keep in mind that occasional variations in color and consistency of the stools are normal. For example, if the digestive process slows down because the baby has had a particularly large amount of cereal that day or foods requirements more effort to digest, the stool may become green; or if the baby is given supplement iron, the stools may turn dark brown. If there is a minor irritation of the anus, streak of blood may appear on the outside of the stools. However, if there are large amounts of blood, mucus, or water in the stool, call your pediatrician immediately. These symptoms may indicate severe diarrhea or an intestinal abnormality.

The main concern with diarrhea is the possibility that dehydration can develop. If ever is also present and your infant is less than 2 months old, call your pediatrician immediately. If your baby is over 2 months and the fever last more than a day, check his urine output and rectal temperature; then report your findings to your doctor so she can determine what need to be done.

The frequency of bowel movements varies widely from 1 baby to another. Many pass a stool soon after each feeding. This is a result of the gastrocolic reflex, which causes the digestive system to become active whenever the stomach is filled with food.

By 3 to 6 weeks of age, some breastfed babies have only one bowel movement a week and still are normal. This happens because breastmilk leaves very little solid waste to be eliminated from the child's digestive system. Thus, infrequent stools are not a sign of constipation and should not be considered a problem as long as the stools are soft (no firmer than peanut butter), and your infant is otherwise normal, gaining weight steadily, and nursing regularly.

If your baby is formula-fed, he should have at least 1 bowel movement a day. If he has fewer than this and appears to be straining because of hard stools, he may be constipated. Check with pediatrician for advice on how to handle this problem.

2 comments on "BOWEL MOVEMENT"

germz on November 29, 2011 at 3:55 AM said...

have you read about the different colors of bowel? That you will then know if a baby is breastfed or fed with formula milk?

well, can't go into details since iv already forgot about it after graduating nursing...hehe nice post.

Antoine Lockhart on March 14, 2013 at 2:46 AM said...

I don't like peanut butter. It would keep me inside the John for an hour after I eat it. Don't your think it's a good idea to go to holistic clinics?

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