Your baby’s stool will probably change in color, softness, and frequency from time to time. Also, different babies have different bowel habits. Some have a stool with every feeding; others may have one stool every 36 to 48 hours. The consistency and color varies from day to day. Usually, breast-fed infants have liquid, yellow or mustard-colored stools. If you’re breastfeeding your baby, don’t take runny stools as a sign of diarrhea. Diarrhea is excessive water loss from the bowels. The stools of formula-fed infants are yellowish-tan. All babies sometimes have green, brown or gray-colored stools. If you ever see blood in the bowel movement, please call the office.
As long as your baby seems happy and content is eating normally, and has no signs of illness, don’t worry about minor changes in the stools. If he strains, grunts or turns red in the face while having a bowel movement, that’s normal.
Most breastfed infants will have frequent, loose stools. This is normal. True diarrhea in children is most often caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not help and may worsen such diarrhea. Treatment of diarrhea consists primarily of giving the baby adequate fluids while continuing the child's regular diet. Please call us if:
The diarrhea persists longer than four days.
The stools become bloody.
Your child shows signs of dehydration (no urine output in 6-8 hours, dry sticky tongue, hollow eyes, no tears when crying).
A persistent fever above 103oƒ occurs.
Your child is under two months of age, and there is a fever of 100.4oƒ rectally
Your child is very listless and weak
Constipation is defined as hard stools, or no stool for 3 or more days. If the stools remain soft this is normal for your child, whatever the frequency. Dietary measures are usually effective for treating and preventing constipation. Avoid too much cheese or milk, add more fruit, water, bran cereals. Older infants plums, apricots, peaches and prune juice are all good natural laxatives. For older child, in addition to these, add raisins, Fig Newtons, pitted prunes, and bran cereals.