Breastfed newborns may poo after every feeding (about six to 10 times a day), but after three to six weeks, they will slow down and begin having less frequent bowel movements. There is no need for alarm if baby's pooing pattern remains fairly consistent and the baby's behaviour is normal. If there is a sudden change or you observe signs that they are uncomfortable or unhappy, call your paediatrician.
If you find greenish-black, tarry, sticky poo that resembles well used motor oil in your newborn's nappy, don't panic. It's called meconium and consists of amniotic fluid, mucus, and skin cells that the baby ingested in uteri. The good news is it really doesn't have much of an odour. The baby’s poo will become lighter in colour, turning an army green and less sticky when the baby is about two to four days old. This signifies that the baby has started to digest the early breast milk (or formula) and that their intestinal tract is functioning properly.
Breast fed babies will have yellow or slightly green poo that has a slightly mushy or creamy consistency. It may resemble diarrhoea. It has the appearance of Dijon mustard and fine curd cottage cheese and may have little seed like flecks mixed in. And it doesn't smell bad. If the poo gives the appearance of algae, bright green and frothy, the baby is getting too much foremilk (colostrum) which is a low calorie milk that comes first during a feeding. It just means that they're not feeding long enough on each breast to get the higher calorie hind milk. To correct this, just begin feeding on the breast you ended with in the previous feeding.
Babies fed with formula have poo that resembles peanut butter, tan-brown, yellow-brown, or green-brown. It has more of a pungent smell than poo from breastfed babies. If baby is being given an iron supplement, their poo will be dark green to almost black. But, if baby is not taking an iron supplement, and their poo is blackish in colour, call your paediatrician to make sure it's not melaena, or digested blood in the poo.
Diarrhoea in babies is very runny and appears to be made up mostly of water. It may be yellow, green, or brown and may seep or explode out of the nappy. This can signify an infection or allergy, and if it goes without being treated, will lead to dehydration. Call your paediatrician if the baby is 3 months old or younger, has more than two or more diarrhoea filled nappies, or continues having diarrhoea for more than a day or two. It's advisable to notify the paediatrician if your baby's diarrhoea contains visible blood or mucus.
If baby's poo is hard and resembles little pebbles, they're likely constipated. Baby may be visibly uncomfortable when they're pooing. One or two pebbly nappies aren’t a concern. Constipation often occurs in babies who are sensitive to or have a lack of tolerance to milk or soy protein, to something in breast milk or formula.