Father holding his tiny baby in his hands. 

Newborn Diarrhea & Green Poop

Breastfed Baby Stools Jan 5, 2021

Table of contents

Why Is Breast Milk So Important?

Breast milk is the best remedy for a baby during diarrhea because it provides immune protection and gut protection. Continued breastfeeding will help a baby recover quickly, and breast milk is significantly easier to digest than any formula. (1)

How to Know if Its Diarrhea

Is your breast milk the same as dairy?

No, your breast milk is not a dairy product. It is nothing like cow's milk and is specially designed to be perfect for all your baby's needs.

Most breastfed babies tend to have loose stools. These are sometimes mistaken for diarrhea. To tell the difference between a normal stool and diarrhea, you need to consider state-of-being and a few other things.

Newborn babies often have a stool after every feeding, but after about a month, a decrease in output is common (usually about three stools per day). At eight weeks, a breastfed infant may have one bowel movement every ten days or may have a few every day - all babies are different. Frequency is not always a good way to judge whether your baby has diarrhea or not unless you notice a definite increase in stools (up to 16 stools per day).

Diarrhea stools will typically smell bad and be watery compared to regular bowel movements.

It might take a few weeks before the stools go back to normal after a stomach bug because diarrhea causes gut irritation and inflammation, which takes a while to heal.

If your baby has a stomach bug, it has to be given time to pass on its own. The real concern is dehydration, as dehydration can occur quickly in infants.

What Does a Normal Breast-Milk-Stool Look Like?

It is usually soft, yellow, and sometimes runny. It may contain small seed-like structures; these are often said to look like scrambled eggs or mustard.

normal breastmilk poop
Normal Breast Milk Stools, although they may be runnier.

Normal stools and urine output for breastfed babies.

What to Do If Your Baby Has Diarrhea

  • If your baby can drink anything, it should be breast milk. Breast milk is absorbed so quickly that even if your baby vomits after breastfeeding, some of the milk will still have been absorbed, including valuable immune-boosting factors and gut-protecting agents. Breast milk should be your number one choice, as no other supplements will contain precisely what your baby needs to get better.
  • Small yet frequent feedings are best to keep the volume of feeds to as little as possible; this will help your baby keep the milk down. Although, if your baby wants to feed more, that's okay, too; some babies use breastfeeding as a source of comfort when feeling ill. In this case, to limit the amount of milk taken in at once, you can pump milk beforehand to drain the breast. Breastfeeding your baby on demand will ensure that they do not become dehydrated.

Extra Tips

  • Take your baby's temperature regularly so that you will know immediately if they develop a fever.
  • To avoid diaper rash, keep your baby as clean and as dry as possible. Use a diaper ointment after each change.
  • Always wash your hands before and after changing your baby's diaper to prevent the spread of germs to and from your baby.

The Cause of Diarrhea in Newborns & Older Children

Breast milk helps to protect the gut.

Studies show that breastfed babies get diarrhea much less than their formula-fed counterparts.

  • Viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi organisms can cause diarrhea. Babies at daycare are at higher risk as these germs spread quickly.
  • When solids are started, sensitivities to certain foods can cause diarrhea. In older babies, some fruit juices can also cause runny stools.
  • Introducing solids too early or too abruptly can also cause issues.
  • When your baby is teething, they ingest lots of salivae. This excessive saliva can cause looser than usual mucousy stools. ¬†Also, teethers are germ magnets.
  • The foods in a breastfeeding mother's diet can cause a reaction if her baby is allergic to something. Get your baby tested before changing your diet. The most common allergen is cow's milk. Many formulas are derived from cow's milk, so you need to check your formula if you are combination feeding.
  • Laxatives can sometimes be passed to the baby via breast milk and cause diarrhea.
  • If your baby is irritable, has green, explosive stools filled with mucus, and you have an oversupply of milk, your baby may be drinking too much of the watery foremilk that contains too much lactose for them to handle. See foremilk/hindmilk imbalance.


Should I Give My Breastfed Baby Pedialyte?

Avoid giving over-the-counter remedies for diarrhea and dehydration for newborn diarrhea. Find out why giving a breastfed baby Pedialyte instead of breastmilk may delay healing!

The more your baby breastfeeds, the more your baby is protected, and dehydration is less likely to occur. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended!

What About Green Diarrhea?

An occasional greenish hue to the stools is normal, as well as a certain amount of mucus. However, constant green, explosive stools are a sign of a sensitivity to something in the mother's diet. As mentioned above, it could also indicate a foremilk-hindmilk imbalance, which is only prevalent if the mother has an oversupply of breast milk. If you are struggling with hyperlactation and you think your baby may have a lactose overload, visit our foremilk-hindmilk page for help.

When to Go to a Doctor?

  • A baby with diarrhea, who develops a fever and a temperature of more than 38.3 degrees, calls for immediate attention.
  • Any newborn diarrhea accompanied by repeated vomiting needs professional medical attention.
  • A dehydrated baby with a dry mound who has not wet a diaper in over six hours requires help.
  • Your baby is sleeping more than usual and seems weak.
  • There is blood in your baby's stool.
  • Your baby cries without the appearance of tears.
  • Skin that is pinched should not stay pinched when you let go.
  • Your baby is clammy, particularly their digits.
  • Your baby seems to be breathing faster than usual.
  • A sunken fontanel (the soft spot on the top of your baby's head).

References

1. The cost of not breastfeeding

Comments

Natural Diaper Rash Remedies
Simple - brown flour.
by Anonymous

"I have three grown children and my granddaughter now. Brown flour in a frying pan. I got this remedy from my mom, who got it from her mom, who got it from her mom etc. It works, and the benefit is NO CHEMICALS!"


Egg whites!
Melissa (Canada)

"Works miracles! The doctor prescribed two medications, and neither worked. Zinc and petrolatum did nothing. Put on the eggs, and in 24 hours, the diaper rash was almost gone, and the skin was blistered and bleeding when I put it on the first time! Good luck!"


Mustard oil diaper rash remedy
by Samra (Dubai)

"My Shahmeer has had a nappy rash every time he has teethed. I always applied mustard oil to it and left it open for at least an hour. Change at least five diapers daily and clean them with water every time. The next day all the rash disappeared, leaving clear skin."


Runny Poop at 4.5 Months
by Gurug Akhila (Indiana)

"My LO is 4.5 months and is pooping 4-5 times daily (a little at a time). It's yellow and seedy but watery and comes out of his diaper. Sometimes it's frothy too.

Is this normal? He used to go once daily with a thicker consistency when 2-3 months old."


Re: Very normal
by: Tracy

"Yes, it sounds very typical. The change could be due to many different things.

It could be due to introducing solids or liquids into your baby's diet. This is because your baby's digestive system needs to become accustomed to digesting anything other than breast milk.

It could also be that your baby is going through a growth spurt, which is common at four months. Is he breastfeeding more often than usual? The increase in feedings will increase your milk supply, increasing the amount of lactose taken in, which has a laxative effect.

Another reason could be that your baby is starting to teethe. Babies usually have a runnier, acidic-smelling poo during teething because they ingest more saliva.

Hope this helps."

Tags

Tracy Behr

Mom of two, breastfeeding helper, and lover of all things natural! Studying a breastfeeding counselor course via Childbirth int. & plant-based nutrition via the Nutrition Inst.

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