What Ya Got In That Diaper?
In our practice it is rare we will weigh a baby. We find that there are a lot of numbers for mom to keep up with, often causing worry and anxiety. Some lactation consults will weigh before an after a feeding. Not only do we find this number to not be an accurate indication of volume intake, we also find that it can cause a mother unneeded stress. We just simply ask " how many poopy diapers are you changing a day?". If baby is peeing and pooping often they are taking in the volume they need to grow and thrive. Frequency can vary by baby, many newborns poop after almost every feeding (roughly 6-10 times a day- that seems like a lot of poop but totally normal!). Between 3-6 weeks old this slows down a bit, and breastfed babies have bowel movements less frequently. Breastmilk has very little waste and your baby uses it very efficiently, therefore there is little waste that is needed to be removed via poop.
Poopy diapers can indicate more than just growth. We also ask our clients about the color of the dirty diapers they change. In the early days of life baby’s dirty diapers are meconium, the dark green/black tar like substance forming the first feces of a newborn. When we see a dirty diaper where the poop is in transition from meconium to the mustard yellow seedy consistency of a breast milk output we know that the mother's milk is shifting from colostrum and supply is being established. This generally occurs between 2-4 days old and becomes lighter in color and less sticky.
Healthy breastfed baby poop can vary in color being anywhere from bright yellow to slightly greenish in color. The consistency is mushy or creamy. There are many shades of normal in breastfed poop, if your baby is having no other symptoms there is no cause for concern.
Low calorie poop is often is bright green and frothy in consistency resembling algae. This is an indication that baby is getting too much foremilk, the low calorie milk that comes first in a feeding, and not enough hind milk, the higher- fat milk. This could indicate that feedings are too short or that mom has a possible over supply.
As a general rule, if you see anything out of the ordinary in your baby's stool reach out to your doctor. Poop with mucus can happen if a baby is extremely drooly, but it can also indicate an infection or allergy. If accompanied by other symptoms call your doctor to discuss. Blood tinged poop is often associated with a milk-protein allergy. These or any other out of the ordinary changes in appearance or frequency you should discuss with your doctor.
Without too many more poopy details, we recommend this: Trust your body and your motherly instrincts. You are amazing.