Inside the nappy

As a first time parent, or even if you’ve had children before, you might not realise how obsessed you’ll become about your baby’s poo! You’ll even have conversations with your partner, parents and friends about it! This is totally normal; as parents we just want to know if we’re doing everything right and one way of telling our baby is healthy is through their poo. So what is normal?

Your baby's first poo is called meconium. This is sticky and greenish-black. Some babies may do this kind of poo during or after birth, or at some time in the first 48 hours. After a couple of days the colour of the poo will change to a yellow or mustard colour. You may find if you’re breastfeeding that your baby’s poo is runny and doesn’t have much of a smell. If you decided to change from breast feeding to formula feeding, you may see that your baby’s poo becomes darker and paste-like.  A formula fed baby’s poo may be firmer, darker and smellier.  Some infant formulas can even make your baby’s poo a dark green colour. Don’t worry; all of these interesting colours are normal!

If you have a girl, you may see a white discharge on her nappy for a few days after birth. This is caused by hormones that have crossed the placenta to your baby, but these will soon disappear from her system.  Sometimes these hormones can cause a slight bleeding, but in both cases there is nothing to worry about.

Common questions

Your midwife would expect your baby to poo at least once in the first 24 hours. They’ll then get into their own pattern.

Babies who are breastfed may poo at each feed in the early weeks then, after about 6 weeks, not have a poo for several days at a time. Formula-fed babies may poo up to 5 times a day at first, but after a few months this can go down to once a day.

Yes, some foods will have an effect on your baby’s poo! Onions or spicy foods can sometimes make a difference, but it’s still absolutely fine to eat these things. Eating a healthy varied diet whilst breastfeeding may help your baby to explore new tastes.

Yes it is. Many babies will strain or cry when passing stools. As long as their poos are soft, they are unlikely to be suffering from constipation, even if they haven’t done one for a few days. It’s always good to remember that they might not need to poo every day.

Your baby’s poo may change from day to day or week to week. If you notice a definite change of any kind, and you’re worried, talk to your health visitor or doctor.