After your baby starts solids, what you find in his diaper might surprise you. It changes color, it changes firmness, and there can be a lot of grunting and pushing without much to show for it. Don’t worry. With the right information, you can make sure your baby stays on the right track. Here’s what you need to know.
How many times a day should my baby poop?
A baby who is breastfed can go days without poop and will likely poop more often after starting solids. Formula-fed babies may or may not see a change in how often they poop. “Normal” poops can be from five to 28 times per week, with an average of one to two times each day. The key is to take note of your child's own poop pattern and look for changes in what’s normal for him.
Changes in poop color and firmness
This may be the biggest surprise—the color of baby’s poop will change depending on what he eats. It might be blue from blueberries or red from beets. When you see a color, always think about what baby ate that day. Adding solid food will make baby’s poops firmer, more like adult poop.
Baby stools that contain blood or mucous, or ones that become more watery over time, are not normal. If this happens, call your baby’s doctor.
Is it constipation?
When starting solids, babies may have trouble going because the poops are thicker and sometimes harder. If straining or pushing becomes uncomfortable, your baby may hold it in, making matters worse. Here are some signs that your baby may be constipated:
- You notice a decrease in the number of baby’s poops.
- Your baby pushes or strains more than usual when he poops.
- Baby’s poops are hard and dry, like small pebbles.
Getting things moving
Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your baby’s poop, and get tips to help.
For younger babies new to solid foods, try an ounce or two of prune, pear, or apple juice. The sugar in juice helps pull water into baby’s intestine, making poops softer and easier to pass.
For babies who are eating solid foods, try these purees: pears, prunes, and peas. Offer oat cereal instead of rice. Also, make sure your baby is getting enough fluids from breastmilk or formula, and the right amount of water for his age. You can also try an ounce or two of prune, pear, or apple juice.
If you’re formula-feeding and your baby is having hard poops or constipation, you might ask your doctor about changing to a formula with partially hydrolyzed protein that helps make poops softer.
There are things you can do to help prevent baby from becoming constipated in the first place. This includes offering baby a variety of foods, making sure he gets enough to drink, and keeping him active each day.