Education Blog

How to Diagnose and Address Newborn and Baby Diarrhea

September 17, 2021

Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish between newborn and baby diarrhea from baby poop. Baby poop can change quite dynamically, so it is not surprising that baby poo is constantly changing. Baby poop texture and consistency can vary from very soft to cottage cheese-like to as firm as play dough.

It can be hard to determine if baby’s bowel movements are normal or abnormal. Good news is that newborn or baby diarrhea often presents with other symptoms that may help you determine if it’s time for you to see a doctor.

According to Dr. Jean Moorjani of Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Florida, soft baby stool shouldn’t be a concern for infants who are breastfed, especially for babies. She explains that we see a variety of baby poop in breastfed infants. It’s normal for babies to poop after each feed. The poop can be lighter than a mustard-colored mustard seed, and may appear liquidy. This is a normal amount of poop for a baby who has been breastfed.

Formula-fed babies tend to have fewer bowel movements. These poops are darker and more smooth than breastfed baby poop. Moorjani recommends that parents evaluate their baby’s bowel movements and how they behave in light of this variety of baby poop. Diarrhea can be linked to sickness which may be caused due to many reason such as change in formula. She says that pediatricians are not usually concerned as long as the children behave like themselves and eat well.

What does real baby diarrhea look? It will likely look more like poop than water. Diarrhea is likely to be translucent, occur frequently and in large quantities. A pediatrician should be called if a baby is acting strangely, such as if they are agitated, have trouble eating, or seem listless. A lack of caution in poop matters is not something that has ever caused harm to babies.

Moorjani advises, “Look for the unusual in your baby.” “Look at the whole picture.”

If in doubt, seek help.