The baby’s first poop

Looking Forward

The baby’s first poop

Baby’s first poop, meconium, is the normal first stool of a newborn and it’s usually passed on the first or second day. 

Babies born before their due date typically take longer to pass meconium, so there may not be any reason for concern yet. After a few days, the poop color changes.

Meconium, the black poop
Meconium helps to keep the large intestine open while the baby grows in the womb. During the last few months of the pregnancy, Your Child has been swallowing amniotic fluid in preparation for breastfeeding. As a result, the intestine secretes a thick, sticky, and greenish-black substance called meconium. This greenish-black tar can cling to your baby’s skin. To remove it you can try just to use wipes with water or if you want some olive oil.

Meconium doesn’t smell
It’s believed that meconium is sterile, unlike other babies produced from colostrum and breast milk, which is why it doesn’t have any smell. But once air enters the gut, the bacteria E. coli colonizes the bowel, making stool become brownish-yellow and smelly.

Pass meconium by breastfeeding
To help Your Child pass meconium early and avoid jaundice, make sure you start nursing as soon as possible after birth. The more the baby nurses, the earlier the meconium will pass.

Poop changes color
A few days after birth, Your Child’s poop may change color. If breastfeeding, the color morphs into a dark green stool and then resembles Dijon mustard. For formula-fed babies, the color is tarry black, then green, then more tan-colored stool. Their stool also stinks more. You may see some differences in color, but provided Your Child’s poop is an “earth tone” like green, yellow, or brown, then there’s nothing to worry about. However, if Your Child’s poop is white or red, then it could be a sign that there’s a problem.

First poop reveals alcohol consumption
A baby’s first poop can reveal if their mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. When there are high levels of fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) in the meconium, it shows the mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy, and this can alert doctors that a child is at risk for problems with intelligence later in life. Detecting fetal alcohol exposure at birth may lead to early interventions which may reduce the effects later.


Dr. Wanwadee Sapmee Panyakat (OB-GYN) (11 January 2019)


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