Your newborn - the essentials
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Know-how: What's in a nappy?

In the first six months of life, a baby's nappies go through quite a change! From the black tarry first nappy to green poo days to no-poo days… what's it all about?


Posted: 13 March 2007
by Laura Lee Davies


Having eaten nothing but his own body hair, excreted bodily fluids and anything else floating around his amniotic fluid for nine months, your baby's got quite a challenge getting used to a new feeding regime once he's born. His First Nappy is really quite something to be behold, but soon your baby's nappy will settle down into something gooey but less scary-looking!

Nappies - what's normal?
It's important to know How to Change a Nappy so you don't over-clean the skin but also don't make your baby's bottom sore by leaving a wet nappy on for too long.
A pooey nappy – even though in the early months they are fairly sweet smelling – is usually easy to detect by its smell!
If your baby is being breastfed, the nappies will usually look a mustardy yellow colour and be fairly light in scent. Formula milk does tend to make the poo slightly more strong in smell, and the poo is likely to be less runny than a breastfed baby's.
If your baby has had a vaccination or some baby paracetamol for some reason, this might affect the consistency or colour of the poo, but sometimes your baby will just do a greenish coloured poo even if he is not at all ill. This is fine and nothing to worry about.
(In these early months, let his crying, temperature and desire or lack-of desire to feed be your guide as to whether or not he is unwell at all, not nappies, unless he has not passed water – that is, done a wet nappy – for a whole day.)
Once your baby is weaning, poo will become thicker and smell much more strongly. This comes as a bit of a shock at first but hardened parents soon get used to it!

How often do babies poo?
In the early months, whilst a formula-fed baby might tend to have a daily poo, neither they nor breastfed babies are particularly regular.
As long as your baby is passing water (make sure nappies are damp, or smell of wee when changing them), you should not worry if your baby even goes a couple of days without a poo. Unless there is some reason why your baby appears to be in pain or seems to have a fever, you don't need ot consult your doctor over an absent bowel movement or two.

They are what you eat
If you are breastfeeding, and have a strong-tasting meal, or perhaps have eaten a lot of spinach or other deeply-coloured food stuff, you might see your baby's poo appear slightly different over the following few nappies. Do not worry – so long as you are eating well, your baby is in no danger. Probably enjoying the slightly different flavoured milk for a change!


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Discuss this story

My little one is 4 months. This morning when I changd his nappy he had like cotton strands in his nappy mixed with his stools (that's the best way I can describe it)if anyone knows what this could be please let me know the advice or information would be much appreciated.

Posted: 18/02/2007 at 10:52

Ann what colour were they?

Posted: 19/02/2007 at 18:58

Hi, Mags

They are black, went to the h/v today and she said she had no idea what they could be. Made appointment today with G.P hopefully she will know.

If you know anything more please let me know thanks.

Posted: 20/02/2007 at 11:43

Ann how did you get on with the GP, i had thought thread worms, but then noticed you had said black, could it be fibres from something he has been eating? like fruit, (plums in partiuclar)

Posted: 26/02/2007 at 14:26

Hi Mags,


Really sorry that I have not posted back after seeing the G.P she said exactly the same as you but he has no fruit ie plums or bananas. But it has started to clear up and he is feeling well in himself. Thanks for your concern.

Posted: 27/02/2007 at 11:31

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