Baby poop can tell us a lot about our baby's health. Here's a quick guide on what to expect, and how to approach certain poos when you're cloth diapering.

A Guide to the Different Types of Baby Poop and Modern Cloth Diapers

Baby poop can tell us a lot about our baby's health. Here's a quick guide on what to expect, and how to approach certain poos when you're cloth diapering. 

Newborn Poop

As a new parent, you may be surprised at how much time you spend thinking about your baby's poop. But the truth is, baby poop can tell us a lot about our baby's health. Here's a guide to help you navigate the world of newborn poop:


Meconium

The first poop your baby will have is called meconium. It's black, sticky, and tar-like. It is usually passed within the first 24-48 hours after birth. Although meconium can stain cloth diapers, it can actually be washed out of them quite easily.


Here are some tips for cleaning meconium from cloth diapers:

  • You don't need to rinse meconium off the diapers before washing them.
  • You can wash meconium-stained cloth diapers with your regular laundry.
  • Meconium can stain natural fabrics worse than synthetic fabrics, so consider using fleece or synthetic fabrics if you are concerned about staining.
  • If you want to avoid dealing with meconium-stained cloth diapers, you can use disposable diapers for the first few days after birth.

Transitional

After a few days, your baby's poop will transition to a greenish-brown color and have a looser consistency. Transitional poop is not water-soluble, which means it can stain cloth diapers. However, drying your diapers in the sun, or sunning, is a great way to make the stains disappear. 


Breastfed or Chestfed

Breastfed or chestfed babies' poop is usually yellow, seedy, and runny. Breastfed baby's poop is water-soluble and very easy to clean. You can literally just toss these dirty diapers in your dry pail or wet bag until wash day.


Breastfed poo is also prone to staining, but this can be easily remedied by sunning.

  • Normal: Mustard yellow with occasional tints of green or brown, runny with some seed-like particles. 
  • Signs of Illness: If you notice red, black, white, gray, or consistently green poop, it may be a good idea to contact your pediatrician. 

Formula-fed

Formula-fed babies' poop is usually tan or yellow and thicker than breastfed babies' poop. Formula-fed baby's poop is not water-soluble, which means that it needs to be rinsed from the diapers before washing in the washing machine. This can be done with a handheld sprayer, disposable bamboo liner, dunking and swishing in the toilet bowl or another poo removal method.


Similar to breastfed or chestfed poop, formula-fed poo can also be prone to staining. Stains can be easily removed by sunning damp diapers outside to dry. 

  • Normal: Formula fed poo is usually thick and pasty, similar in consistency to hummus or peanut butter. Expect to find see shades of yellow, green, and brown. 
  • Signs of Illness: If you notice red, black, white, gray, or consistently green poop, it may be a good idea to contact your pediatrician. 

Colors to Watch Out For

  • Green: Green poop can be a sign of a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance in breastfed babies or a sign of infection. While green poop is usually no cause for worry, it's a good idea to call your doctor if your baby has green poop and is also ill, or if you're concerned that something is wrong. 
  • White: White poop can be a sign of liver problems. If you notice white poop you should call your baby's pediatrician as this can indicate that the baby is not producing enough bile in their liver to help them digest food properly.
  • Red: Red poop can be a sign of bleeding in the digestive tract. Blood in the stool can be an indication of a fissure, allergy or intolerance, infection, or the baby my have swallowed blood while breastfeeding. If you notice red poop in your baby's diaper, it's important to contact your pediatrician to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. 
  • Black: Black baby poop is normal for newborns younger than one week, however after one week of age, stool should no longer be black in color. Black poop can be a sign of bleeding in the upper digestive tract or from iron supplements.  Babies who drink iron-fortified formula may have black poop regularly in their diapers, and this is totally normal. However, if you notice black poop after one week of age, it's a good idea to consult with your pediatrician. 

    Frequency

    Remember that the number of diapers needed varies from baby to baby and will change as babies grow and mature. Most families have 30-40 cloth diapers per child when cloth diapering from the newborn stage. 


    Pediatricians recommend changing a newborn's diaper every two to three hours, or as often as needed. Because newborns can have up to 10 poops per day, it is important to check their diaper frequently.


    As babies get older, they may need fewer diaper changes. You can generally wait longer between diaper changes for older babies, but it's still important to check their diaper frequently and change it as soon as it is soiled.  

    • Newborns: Newborns can poop 10 or more times a day. It's not unusual for every diaper to be a number two in those early days. 
    • Older babies: As babies get older, they may poop less frequently. 
    • Overnight: It is important to make sure your baby is comfortable. Remember, finding the right overnight diaper for your baby may take some experimentation, but it's worth it to ensure a good night's sleep for both you and your baby.

    If you have any concerns about your baby's poop, do not hesitate to contact your pediatrician. 

     

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