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7 health risks that can be detected from your baby's poop

Posted 1:00 p.m. Tuesday

We all poop and babies poop more frequently than adults, which is a pain when it comes to changing diapers, but is a blessing when it comes to making sure you have a happy and healthy baby. Baby poop changes color and consistency often as they grow from newborns to toddlers (and depending on what they eat). Newborns living off of breast milk will have runny light-colored poop, but as you introduce solid foods that will slowly change. Most of the time there is no cause for concern when the color or texture of your baby’s poop changes, but here are seven cases where it is best to contact your doctor immediately just to make sure.

1. Hard pebbly poop

Most of us know that hard pebbly poop is a sign of constipation, which occurs frequently as you change your baby’s diet and begin to introduce solid foods. It is nothing to worry about, unless it persists past just one or two pebbly diapers according to babycenter. Persistent constipation can be a sign of milk or soy protein sensitivity or an intolerance to something in your breast milk or formula.

2. Black tar-like poop

Meconium, or the first poop after birth, is supposed to be black and tar-like, but if poop is tarry after that, be worried. According to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center this could indicate a gastrointestinal bleed and you should see your doctor right away.

3. Red poop

Poop tinged with red is never a good sign, but paired with the consistency of your baby’s poop it can tell you a few specific things according to babycenter. If there is some red mixed in with pebbly poop, it is likely a sign of a torn anus or hemorrhoids. If there is some red mixed in with normal poop, it can be a sign of milk protein allergy and if diarrhea is tinged with red, that can be a sign of a bacterial infection.

4. White poop

White, chalky or gray poop is a sign that your baby’s digestive system is not functioning properly and he may have a rare disease called biliary atresia according to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. Biliary atresia is a blockage in the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and can be life threatening. Other symptoms of this are dark urine, extremely foul-smelling poop, slow growth and limited weight gain.

5. Looks like grape jelly

This is one symptom of a very serious condition called intussusception which basically means there is intestinal blockage happening. Less than four in 1,000 babies suffer from this each year and when caught early it is almost always fixable. Unfortunately, if not caught this can lead to serious inflammation and swelling which can eventually block or tear the intestine.

6. Too frequent diarrhea

A couple runny diapers here and there is nothing to worry about, but consistent diarrhea can be a sign of infection or allergy. If it goes on for too long, diarrhea can lead to dehydration.

7. Mucous poop

This is just what it sounds like. If your baby’s poop looks like mucous and has the same slimy consistency, it could also be a sign of infection or allergy.

Most of the time it is unnecessary to scrutinize the mess your baby leaves in his diaper, but it is smart to be aware of what is normal and what could be cause for concern. If your baby has any of the stool signs listed above, see a doctor immediately, but most changes in poop color and texture do not need a doctor and will resolve themselves. The most important sign to look for when trying to diagnose your baby is a smile. A happy baby is usually a healthy baby, but keep these signs in your back pocket just in case.

Kelsey is a student at Brigham Young University studying to broaden her horizons through the written word. She loves the outdoors, family, car washes and punny witticisms.

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