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In the first hours of life, the newborn baby removes meconium. Meconium is the material that accumulates in the intestine of the fetus during pregnancy, it is a viscous, thick substance, dark green almost black. It is made up of dead cells and secretions from the stomach and liver.
Generally, the baby's first meconium stool is done in the first 24 hours of life. However, if the fetus sheds meconium within the intrauterus uterus (that is, the amniotic fluid is stained with meconium), the baby may have decreased blood oxygen before delivery.
In the first 2-3 days of life the baby will eliminate all the meconium from his intestine, and the stools will be dark or black in color. After these 2-3 days, the stools begin to be greenish, clearer, which is called 'transitional', for another 2-3 days, to later reach the light yellow color of the newborn's stools.
During the first month of life it is quite normal for baby has 6-8 bowel movements a day; they are usually rare, once per intake, yellowish and lumpy, with little odor. If the baby is fed breast milk, the color, consistency and smell may vary depending on the mother's diet.
Other newborns do just one bowel movement a day, and this is also normal, it will be more abundant in these cases. The stools must be of a soft, semi-liquid consistency, this will mean that the state of hydration is adequate.
If the stools are scanty and hard in the first days of life, it can be a sign of dehydration, and the pediatrician should be consulted for a clinical and weight assessment, and to assess whether breastfeeding is properly established.
Some babies perform bowel movement once every 2-3 days; As long as the stool is of a soft consistency and the baby does not have vomiting or abdominal pain, and continues to eat in the same way that it usually has no pathological significance. There is also the entity called 'false constipation of breastfeeding', which involves a period of a few weeks, in which the breastfed baby has fewer bowel movements per day. It is not a true constipation, since the stools are still soft. It is a physiological period, normal in the infant, that does not require any additional medical treatment, such as laxatives.
When introducing artificial lactation we will observe that stool color, consistency, and odor change. The color of the stools of children fed with artificial feeding is more brownish, with a more intense smell, more similar to that of older children, due to the change in the intestinal flora. Also, the consistency is usually more pasty-hard in children fed with artificial milk.
Sometimes they may appear streaks or streaks of red blood in bowel movements. The reason may be the existence of cracks in the mother's breast (in the case of breastfeeding), but also intestinal pathology, or an allergy to cow's milk proteins. In these cases, the pediatrician should be consulted.
In the newborn it is important to monitor that the stools are normal and adequate, since they are indicative of a correct functioning of the digestive system, as well as an adequate intake. When in doubt, remember that you should always consult your pediatrician.
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