Defecation in the baby
The general term baby usually refers to the technical term used by an infant who is older than one month but younger than 1 year. Despite the fact that infants are initially only fed milk, they naturally also pass stool / feces. The feces of the very first stool a newborn has (from birth to the first month of life) is called meconium.
Read more on the topic: Meconium
How often do babies have bowel movements?
In the first two days after birth, the newborn has to pass stool for the first time, which is considered special. It is the so-called Meconium - also called Kindspech - the very first stool elimination. This stool results from bile and other substances that the child swallowed in the womb. It's green-black and very sticky.
More on this: Sticky stool in the baby
After the first chair has been put down, it is by no means the case that one can speak of a fixed chair frequency. The variability in the frequency of stool is quite large. Towards the end of the first year the frequency levels off to a certain extent. The frequency in the first few weeks can be 3-4 times a day or even more in babies.
However, it is also possible that there is no stool for a few days to a week. It is important to always watch the baby here. If it has to push hard and z. If, for example, it turns red, it may mean that it is still constipated, which makes it difficult to pass out.
However, if the baby feels well and likes to drink enough, short-term defecation is not a cause for concern.
In the further course of the first year, the frequency is by no means fixed. From around three months of age, a stool frequency of around 2-3 times a day is the average.
Is Green Stool Dangerous?
In the first few days after the birth, the tough black-green stool, that Meconium, retired. Over the next few days, the baby will pass a green stool, also known as a transitional chair.
This is a mixture of the rest Meconium and new stool that is created by the intake from breast milk or infant milk.
In the further course, the stool in breastfed babies brightens and becomes and takes on a light green to light yellow color, while the stool also becomes more fluid and mushy. In babies who are fed with infant formula, a brownish, yellow-brown or green-brown color is more likely. It is a bit doughy and has a consistency similar to peanut butter, although it can sometimes appear slightly crumbly. The color of the stool can therefore have many variations that can be classified as normal.
There are other reasons why a baby may have green stools. On the one hand, this includes feeding what is known as hypoallergenic food (HA food). The result can be green and smelly stools.
Even if the baby is given food supplements such as iron supplements or complementary foods such as vegetables, which are greenish in color, the stool can appear greenish.
More on this: Green stool in the baby
Another reason for greenish bowel movements is that the infant drinks too much of the so-called front milk while breastfeeding. When breastfeeding, the mammary gland first secretes what is known as front milk, which is lower in fat and calories. It contains a lot of lactose, milk sugar.
After a certain suckling time, the infant reaches the hindmilk. This is richer in fat and has a different composition. So if the infant only sucks on each breast so long that it does not yet receive the hindmilk, it can happen that it is mainly fed with the foremilk. One solution is to offer only one breast for each breastfeeding process, so that it is sucked "empty".
In children who receive baby food, cow's milk intolerance can also manifest itself in the form of green stools. However, the greenish stool occurs more frequently in children who are fed artificial baby milk, even without a pathological cause.
You might also be interested in: Baby's allergy to cow's milk
If the reasons already mentioned do not apply and the green stool lasts longer, this green stool can also indicate a viral infection. If the stool persists for a long time, after the transition phase already mentioned in the first week after birth, in which green stool is very regular, a pediatrician should be consulted.
So greenish stools are often normal in infants and are not directly a cause for great concern. Especially with children in the transition phase (first week after birth) and with children who are fed artificial food, green stools are the rule.
Baby's slimy stool - what's behind it?
First of all, slimy stool should not be confused with diarrhea. In contrast to diarrhea, slimy stool is characterized by increased toughness, whereby the stool frequency is not increased and the stool itself is not watery. However, diarrhea and slimy stool can occur together.
There are several reasons why an infant's stool can turn slimy. One of the reasons is increased salivation, as can happen, for example, when teething. The saliva passes through the gastrointestinal tract and gets into the stool, making it slimy.
Other reasons can be a change in diet and food intolerance. A food allergy can also play a role here. If the baby is feeling well and showing no signs of illness such as fatigue, fever or fatigue, the slimy stool can be observed for the first time. It should resolve within a few days.
If the slimy stool occurs with diarrhea, it can also be that there is a viral or bacterial infection of the digestive tract. If bloody admixtures are added, this is an alarm signal. A doctor should be called in here as soon as possible. Apart from the gastrointestinal infection, other and more serious diseases also come into consideration.
Also read our article on the topic:
Slimy stool in babies - causes & therapy
Foamy stool in the baby
Greenish and frothy stools occur especially when the baby is given a lot of lactose. This is present in breast milk and especially in the so-called front milk. If an infant is breastfed and often, but usually only briefly, drinks it from the breast, it may happen that the infant ingests a lot of the breast milk without drinking the higher-fat hind milk. The increased lactose content can cause the stool to become frothy.
One attempt is to breastfeed the infant as long as possible on one breast until it is exhausted, so that the hindmilk has also been absorbed, and to observe the stool.
General information on the topic can be found at: Foamy diarrhea
When should you start feeding a baby?
An infant can be fed from the age of five to six months. Of course, one should start with foods that are easy to digest and can be made pulpy, e.g. mashed bananas, potatoes or rice. However, this is also noticeable in the chair. This can get a little darker and brownish in terms of color. In addition, it is a bit firmer, but can still be classified as pulpy. The smell also changes. The milk stool, which is quite odorless, will now transform into a stool with a stronger odor.
Because the baby is now also being fed, it comes into contact with food that it cannot yet digest completely. For example, undigested pieces of (cooked) carrots can be found. Or the stool can take on the color of food. For example, beetroot and berries, e.g. Blueberries, very intense in color and can therefore change color. This is nothing to worry about.
However, if there is permanent undigested stool or if there is a suspicion that even easily digestible food is not properly broken down and absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, the pediatrician should be consulted.
Read more on the subject at: Complementary food for babies
How can I promote bowel movements in my baby?
If the baby is constipated, there are several ways to address it. It is important that these do not have any pathological causes. The following measures are suitable to promote bowel movements.
First, make sure that the baby is drinking enough. Plenty of water and unsweetened tea can be given to prevent the stool from becoming too firm. Fruit juices such as pear or plum juice have also proven effective as home remedies for infants. However, it should be noted that these can contain a lot of sugar.
You should also pay attention to your diet. If the child is not yet being fed, the milk powder should be correctly dosed. Too high a concentration leads to a thicker milk and consequently to a thicker stool. If the baby is already being fed, you can offer food that is rich in fiber. More vegetable porridge or bran makes the intestinal passage flow faster, so that not as much fluid is removed from the stool.
In addition, massages of the abdomen and gymnastic exercises with the legs can be used to stimulate intestinal motility.
Oral lactose or polyethylene glycol can also be given, the latter being a non-digestible substance that binds water in the intestine to it so that the stool does not become as dry.
If the blockages are very persistent, an enema can be used after consulting the pediatrician. Utensils for this are available in the pharmacy. Liquid is introduced into the intestine, which then liquefies the hardened and dry stool, so that elimination is easier.
Constipation in the baby
Constipation is a common problem in infants and children. There are various possible causes.
The most harmless cause is a so-called functional disorder. No organic cause can be identified. Functional disorders can confidently be treated with the means and methods already mentioned. Constipation caused by wrong eating habits is also harmless: too little fluid; too little fiber, if you are already fed. Here the habits should be adapted. Food changes can also lead to constipation. This can be when switching from breast milk to formula food or when starting supplementary feeding.
Secondary causes can also be considered: Inflammation of the anus, fissures or fissures, i.e. tears, can prevent the baby from purging due to pain.
If the baby is already taking medication, especially those for epilepsy, these can also lead to constipation.
In rare cases there may be organic causes. Diseases such as Hirschsprung's disease or other neurological diseases can make passage through the intestines difficult and difficult. Metabolic diseases such as hypothyroidism and congenital malformations can also cause constipation.
Read more on the topic: Constipation in the baby
Diarrhea in the baby
Very often infants have particularly soft stools; this should not be confused with diarrhea, which is fluid and increased in frequency. The chair can take on different colors and even ooze out of the diaper. However, it is important to watch out for blood and mucus. In these cases the pediatrician should be consulted.
Allergic reactions or food intolerances can also lead to diarrhea. If the infant has tried something new or eaten something suspicious, this should be checked. In the case of allergic reactions, skin wheals and itching can also occur, which are taken as indicators.
70% of infectious diarrhea in infants is caused by a viral infection. This means that treatment is symptomatic. Antibiotics are ineffective in this case. It is important to ensure that the infant continues to receive enough liquid and, if possible, also eats some food, which can be more difficult in the case of vomiting and diarrhea. If the infant becomes increasingly weak and sleepy, a pediatrician or, if necessary, a children's clinic must be visited.
If the diarrhea is bloody with phlegm, a bacterial diarrhea is likely. A pediatrician or a clinic should be consulted quickly so that antibiotic and symptomatic therapy can also be combined.
If the diarrhea is mild and the child is in good condition without bloody, slimy diarrhea, you can wait about 2 days to see whether the diarrhea improves. If this improves or even disappears, it is not absolutely necessary to see a doctor.
If diarrhea persists for a long time (more than 3 weeks), organ and metabolic diseases should also be considered; a doctor's visit should definitely be carried out.
Please also read: Diarrhea in the baby