What to Expect from a Baby Diaper

The Scoop on Baby Poop

Nappy changing
Science Photo Library - RUTH JENKINSON/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

It's true, when your new baby is born, you will shift your focus to what's in the diaper. You can't help it. First of all, everyone winds up telling you that this is the best way to tell if your baby's health is going well. Out of concern for your baby's well-being, you become a diaper watcher. It's inevitable and okay.

Though most parents don't know what to look for or what the difference is between meconium and transitional stool. So here's a quick guide to show you what to look for and what it means.

Meconium - Your Baby's First Stool

Photo © Robin Elise Weiss

Meconium is the first stool your baby will pass. It is a thick, green, tar-like substance that lines the intestines during your pregnancy. Most babies will have their first bowel movement within a few hours after birth. Occasionally meconium stools will be passed while your baby is still in utero.

If this happens your baby will need to be vigorously suctioned after birth to ensure that your new baby doesn't inhale any meconium into the lungs. Inhaling meconium can lead to aspiration pneumonia. As meconium passed prior to birth can indicate fetal distress, your birth team will monitor you more closely during labor to ensure your baby is tolerating labor.

Meconium can also be a problem to get off your baby's bottom. I highly recommend using something on the diaper area of your newborn to help you during diaper changes. You can use petroleum jelly, unpetroleum jelly, baby oil, or nearly any diaper cream. This just makes diaper changes a bit easier on you and the baby.

Transitional Stool - Stage One

Transitional Stool from a Newborn Diaper
Photo © Robin Elise Weiss

Your newborn will slowly begin to pass the meconium after birth as he or she begins to eat. The meconium will begin to change in consistency. These stools are called transitional stool. The first stage you will notice is slightly lighter in color than the meconium.

Transitional Stool - Stage Two

Transitional Stool from a newborn diaper
Photo © Robin Elise Weiss

The next stage of transitional stool is Stage Two. This stool is lighter in color and slightly less thick than meconium.

Transitional Stool - Stage Three

Photo © Robin Elise Weiss

Stage Three transitional stool is much lighter and thinner than meconium. It is just before regular stooling begins. Each of these stages can last a varying amount of time, depending on how long your breast milk has been in or how long your baby has been eating. Colostrum has a natural laxative effect and will encourage your baby to stool more frequently. The same can be said of breast milk.

The advantages of getting rid of the meconium and transitional stool are that it can help prevent jaundice or make jaundice leave more quickly.

Breastfed Stool

Photo © Robin Elise Weiss

In a healthy, breast fed infant, you'll notice that the stools are yellow. They are also fairly runny. This is not considered a problem. You will also notice that there are small seed like objects in the stool. Breast fed diapers are often called baby poop mustard because they look a lot like mustard.

Your new baby should begin having stools daily by 3-4 days. Your baby should be having at least 3-4 soiled diapers a day by the first week of life. While your newborn will have different sized stools, large and small, you should only count a stool as one of these stools if it is larger than a quarter. Report any problems with stooling to your baby's practitioner or pediatrician.

Vaginal Mucous

Vaginal Mucus in Newborn diaper
Photo © Robin Elise Weiss

Baby girls will have vaginal mucous after birth. It may be streaked with or contain small amounts of blood. This is akin to a first period. It is caused by a surge in hormones from the mother. You should not be concerned. You will see this in conjunction with mucous.

If the blood does not seem to be with mucous or comes in the still you need to report this to your baby's doctor as it may be a problem.

Continue Reading