About the author: Suhayla is one of the primary content creators and contributors for the MMM team. When she’s not writing for us, she’s busy being a Mama to two young children and also is a pharmacist in one of London’s NHS Trusts. She particularly enjoys writing about islamic parenting, promoting wellbeing for mums and is an advocate for breastfeeding, after a challenging journey with her first. Want to reach out? Send her an email: [email protected]
Once the baby is here all the worries of labour are a distant memory and soon everything becomes about caring for this new blessing. It’s a flurry of feeds, nappy changes and naps in the first few months and often we find ourselves questioning what exactly is normal? Or if not normal then at least what is common? Here at MMM, we’ve birthed a few babies ourselves and we’ve been through it all including the google search for baby poop colours which will happen in the middle of the night at some point in your parenting journey. Here are five things we’ve learnt about our newborn babies’ tummies along the way.
5 Things You Need To Know About Your Newborn’s Tummy
1. Poop changes in colour, size and texture
In the first 24 hours baby will pass a sticky greenish-black stool called meconium, it then changes (likely with a few greenish variants along the way) to what can only be described a lovely mustard colour than runs like no other for breastfed babies or a more solid light brown colour for formula-fed babies. Just when you think you’ve cracked it, you’ll start introducing solids (usually at around six months) and stool will change all over again. It’s okay – it’s usually completely normal for things to change as the baby’s gut develops and is introduced to new foods. Familiarise yourself with what is normal and don’t be afraid to ask your health visitor or GP if you are ever concerned.
2. Colic is NOT your friend
If you’ve got a crier on your hands they may well have colic. It usually begins when a baby is a few weeks old and will settle as they grow, disappearing by the time they reach 4 to 6 months of age inshAllah. Colic is one of the hardest ‘common’ complaints parents find as it usually means that the baby is hard to settle and there is endless crying. We meant it when we said it is NOT your friend. However, it is common and affects around 20% of babies regardless of whether they are formula or breastfed1
The medical definition for colic is ‘an otherwise healthy baby that cries inconsolably for 3 or more hours a day, at least 3 days per week (and it’s been happening for 3 weeks or more)’
How do you manage it? There isn’t really a one size fits all cure for colic – speak to your GP and health visitor first to rule out any other causes however burping effectively, sitting baby upright during feeds, holding them close and rocking them are all ways of trying to keep them calm.
3. Burping is KING
Following on nicely, as a new parent one thing you really need to get down is burping technique – we’ll spare you the specifics on this one but there are many different positions out there – try them all and find which one works for your baby. Ensuring that your baby is burped will inshAllah help them feel comfortable and keep them happy!
4. A bit of spit up is normal
Spitting up is common and happens in around 50% of babies as they essentially get the hang of feeding. There are lots of things you can do to help reduce spit up – including burping, feeding whilst upright and keeping pressure off their tummies. A bit of spit up here and there is completely normal, however if your baby is not gaining weight as they should be then speak to your doctor. As babies grow and are able to control their tummies better and sit up (around 6-7months), this stage usually fades away.
If you are worried about the amount your baby spits up do ask your health visitor – remember there is no such thing as a silly question when it comes to your baby.
5. Constipation doesn’t just affect the elderly
Babies get it too and it’s a pain! Constipation in babies can happen for lots of different reasons, firstly as with many things medical there may well not be a reason. However, it could be due to a change in baby’s diet (perhaps they’ve just started drinking formula milk or solid food), dehydration (if they’re feeding less or inefficiently) or in older babies who are eating due to a lack of fibre. It’s one of those things that will affect some babies more than others and can be a challenge to get a handle on.
There are lots of different signs and symptoms associated with constipation – we won’t get into too many specifics here but if you notice that your baby is pooping less often, their stools are hard and pellet like or they find it difficult to poop they may be constipated.
Increasing fluid (and fibre for older babies) and tummy massage are ways to help relieve constipation. For breastfed babies try to up their breastfeeds, whilst formula fed babies can be supplemented with water between feeds. Doing circles with babies’ legs as though they are riding a bicycle is also a good way to help get the gut moving.
If in doubt – always ask! Your health visitor or doctor will always be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
There you have it Mamas, our golden nuggets for understanding your babies’ tummies. Did your baby go through any of these? Let us know in the comments below.