For new parents, apart from the tough task of choosing lovely coloured clothes for their little prince/princess, the only other fuss about colour is the colour of their baby’s poop. With numerous diaper changes, parents usually see a variety of stool colours. It becomes difficult to ascertain if the poop colour is normal or not. Parents often wonder if it is normal for breastfed babies to have green coloured poop.
The colour of the baby’s stools changes with age. A newborn’s first few stools are dark and sticky and the colour varies from black to dark green. After a few days, the colour changes to a lighter shade of green. As the baby gets older, the poop colour turns yellow and to a seedy-texture.
But the major concern for parents is when the baby’s poop colour is not consistent. Yes, even breastfed babies’ poop colour can vary, depending on various factors.
Now, let us understand how an exclusively breastfed baby’s poop should look like in the first week of birth.
Well, there is no hard and fast rule that your newborn’s poop should turn yellow by 5 days. For some babies, the poop turns yellow after about a week.
The poop colour of an exclusively breastfed baby will be yellow/mustard and may have a creamy consistency with seed-like flecks which are actually, partially digested fat. It is supposed to have a sweetish smell (I have not tried to smell it 😊).
However, the colour can slightly vary depending on what the mother has consumed.
YES. And it’s NORMAL. If your baby’s stools are green, first check on what you have consumed in the last 2 days. If you have consumed greens or certain herbal juices, it would have passed to your baby through you, and to its poop.
What if you hadn’t? It indicates that your baby has consumed more of foremilk, which is the low calorie, lactose-rich milk, that comes first during feeding. The high calorie, fat-rich milk, called as hindmilk, comes later during feeding.
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Well, these are not different types of milk. Foremilk refers to the first milk which your baby feeds on during breastfeeding. This milk is watery and is abundant in carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins. Hindmilk refers to the milk that comes from your breast after the foremilk. This is high-calorie, fat-rich milk which is thick and darker in colour, as compared to foremilk.
Please understand that there is no sudden change in the milk supply to your baby from foremilk to hindmilk. The change is gradual from the watery foremilk to the thick hindmilk. The flow of the foremilk is faster and hence, it reaches the baby first. As feeding progresses, the fat-globules in the ducts of the mammary glands, start to dislodge, and the milk gradually becomes thicker and fat-rich, which we call as hindmilk. The hindmilk will make the baby feel full and content after the feed.
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Lactose Overload! The foremilk which is thin and rich in lactose, causes overload on the little tummy. Its tiny intestines, may not be able to absorb all the lactose that it has been fed. This results in a green and frothy poop. Your little one may also be fussy, or gassy during such episodes. Occasionally, babies who mostly drink foremilk, may not gain weight, as they do not receive the creamy milk.
Apart from the foremilk-hindmilk imbalance, there are other circumstances during which the baby’s poop can turn green.
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As you have already understood by now, green coloured poop is not abnormal in breastfeeding babies. However, you can still take the below-mentioned steps to ensure that the green poop does not become a cause for concern.
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At the end of the day, breast milk is good for the baby and do not be overconcerned about foremilk-hindmilk imbalance. If your baby is feeding well, gaining weight, and passing stools regularly, it should not be a cause for major concern. However, if you notice that your baby is tired, sleepy, lethargic, and passing green stools, it is time for immediate consultation with a pediatrician.
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