Nappies and poo

You might find it hard to believe, but you're very likely to develop an interest in poo - your baby's poo to be precise. Poo can tell us a lot about a baby's general state of health and wellbeing.

Perhaps you once mocked your friends’ new-found interest in poo and nappies after they became parents But now it’s your turn! Here are some things that are useful to know:

First few days
Babies normally wee within 24 hours of delivery, and then twice to six times every 24 hours over the following days
Your baby's very first poo is an important one, and is bound to happen within the first 24 hours after birth It's called meconium and is a greenish, black colour, very sticky (difficult to clean away – try baby oil) and can be passed for a few days It gradually changes to runny yellow/green with a slightly acid smell, if you’re breastfeeding

The next weeks
In the beginning babies will often poo at every feed During their first month they can have between one and four bowel movements in 24 hours, although some babies have fewer

These early poos are often runny and expelled with some force, so don’t assume your baby has diarrhoea – it’s quite normal Green poo in an otherwise healthy baby is fine too
When babies reach the age of two to three months, they have fewer poos, and these have a different smell
Next few months
Once this stage has passed, a breastfed baby’s poos are generally like mustard in colour and consistency They don’t usually smell offensive
How often breastfed babies poo varies tremendously Some babies do a poo in every nappy, while others only go once a week But one thing they should always do is wee The average healthy newborn should have five or six wet nappies a day

Many parents worry if baby hasn’t had a poo for a few days There’s no need to worry if your baby is eating, sleeping well, and is otherwise their usual self

Children fed on formula generally have poo that is firmer, darker, and stronger-smelling They’re also more likely to get a little constipated If this is a problem, you should consider changing to another formula See your midwife or Plunket nurse for advice Breastfed babies never get constipated

Do you want to know when to change a nappy? Click here

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