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Your New Baby: A Troubleshooting Health Guide

Her Poop Looks Weird!

For the first few days after birth, your baby will pass meconium, a greenish-black sticky substance that filled her intestines while she was in the womb. For the next three to seven days, she'll have yellowish-orange bowel movements that may look like the inside of a cantaloupe  -- seedy, with a ring of water around them. "That first week, when our daughter's bowel movements went from black and tarry to clear and watery, we thought she had diarrhea," says Giselle Lederman of San Francisco. So she called the nurse at 3 a.m. "We learned it was just part of the transition."

After about a week and for about the next six months, the consistency and frequency of your baby's bowel movements will depend on whether she's breast- or formula-fed. While it's normal for an infant to have a bowel movement anywhere from once every couple of days to five or six times a day, breastfed infants tend to have them less often; breast milk is so readily digested that it leaves little bulk. Breastfed babies also tend to have soft, light-mustard-colored stools, while those of formula-fed infants are firmer and tan-colored.

If your infant's stools have become hard or she's straining, she may be constipated. Try giving a little extra water during the day; if you're mixing a formula from concentrate, make sure you're preparing it properly.

Call the pediatrician if: you see mucus or blood in her stool or if she starts having diarrhea (watery bowel movements after each feeding); it could signify a food allergy or an infection. Alert the doctor if your baby hasn't pooped during her first week or if her stools remain black and sticky.