Why parents should care about poop?
By: Dr. Lisa Di Enno, MD, FAAP
Hey parents! When you have a new baby at home, it’s normal to worry whether you are doing everything right. But, sometimes, while you are busy worrying that you are keeping your child safe and healthy, infant constipation may appear.
What do you do if your infant isn’t pooping? How often should he poop? What is her poop supposed to look like? Deep breath – and hold your nose – we are going to dig into infant constipation.
The Color of Poop
Believe it or not, the color of poop is not as important as you may think. There is a general color that most poops are. For instance, those who are strictly breastfed will have poop that is a bit liquid-ish and mustard yellow. Those who are most often fed formula, however, tend to have more of a green-ish color poop that has peanut butter or clay consistency to it.
Although the color of your baby’s poop often stems from what they’ve eaten and is nothing to be alarmed about, there are 3 colors of poop that you do not want to see. And, if you do, you most definitely what to contact your pediatrician. So, what are these colors? White, bright red (like blood), or black.
Regardless of the color – if you are concerned, take a picture and show your pediatrician. This is a much more effective method than trying to describe what it looked like. The doctor will appreciate this measure.
The Poop Schedule
Babies don’t have a scheduled time to poop, but they should poop rather regularly. Some may go once per day or once every other day. Those babies who are fed breast milk exclusively can go up to a week without having a bowel movement.
Spend less time worrying about the color and the frequency – and focus on the kind of poop. Is it hard or soft, for example? This will give you a much better idea of how the child is doing. You want a nice soft poop every time. Hard poop indicates that the child may be constipated. Having hard poop regularly needs to be addressed.
If it has been determined that your infant is suffering from constipation, dietary changes are often recommended first by pediatricians. This could mean upping the fiber content, adding more high fiber foods. Or, suggesting drinking 1 ounce of juice for each month of the baby’s age. The most effective juices are apple, pear, and prune juice. This increased fiber helps to loosen up the poop so its easier to pass.
As a last resort, medication interventions are also available if needed.
Have more questions about the health of your child? Ready to speak to a pediatrician? Schedule your virtual appointment today!
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Dr. Lisa Di Enno is the Chief Medical Officer at XpertCare Pediatric Digital Clinic. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.