The Scoop on Poop

Problem Poop

Most of the time, you won't bat an eyelash (or hold your nose) at your baby's diaper contents. But see your doctor if your child develops any of these red flags.

Problem: Blood in the stool

Poop Protocol:
Your pediatrician may suggest a change in your baby's diet to soften the stool or advise switching to a hypoallergenic infant formula.

What It Could Be:
Most likely anal fissures, or cuts, from passing a hard stool. Could also indicate a milk allergy or a bacterial infection in the intestines.

Problem: Light-colored, almost-white stools

What It Could Be:
No bile flow; possible liver disfunction.

Poop Protocol:
This needs immediate evaluation by your doctor, who may perform blood tests, an ultrasound, and other liver tests.

Problem: Mucus in the stool

What It Could Be:
A milk allergy or an intestinal infection (though in some babies, mucus is normal).

Poop Protocol:
Your baby may need a formula change; some doctors will order a stool culture to check for bacteria.

Problem: Recurring hard, pellet-like stools

What It Could Be:
Constipation; inadequate fluid intake.

Poop Protocol:
Your pediatrician may suggest switching infant formulas or recommend a medication to help soften the stools.

Problem: Excessively watery stools

What It Could Be:
Infectious diarrhea; formula intolerance.

Poop Protocol:
Your doctor may perform stool tests for viruses or bacteria and recommend changes in your baby's diet.

Problem: Explosive stools

What It Could Be:
Excess gas from formula intolerance or swallowed air (while crying or feeding, for instance); narrowing or blockage of the anus.

Poop Protocol: Your doctor may refer you to a pediatric surgeon if he's concerned that your infant might have a bowel obstruction.

Problem: Grease or oil in the stool

What It Could Be:
Poor absorption or excessive intake of fat.

Poop Protocol:
This requires a thorough exam; your pediatrician may perform a stool analysis for fat, as well as screenings for cystic fibrosis.

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