What you feed your baby has a noticeable effect on his stools. If and when your pediatrician finds it necessary to change your baby’s diet, you must prepare yourself for some adjustments--in most instances, these are manifested in your baby’s stool. More often than not, this change is a transitional adaptation and should be no cause for alarm. To aid you in what to watch out for, here’s a quick guide to your baby’s bowel movements:

Parents must always remember that formula-fed babies have firmer stools than breastfed infants, because infant formula is digested differently compared to breast milk. Breastfed babies’ stools have a soft and unformed consistency, with a yellowish mustard color and a sweet smelling odor. When a baby is on infant formula, the stool is firmer or has about the consistency of peanut butter. The color is usually light yellow to brown, with a slight pungent odor.

Not all infant formulas are the same, however, as there are some which are made from Hydrolyzed Whey and are “hypoallergenic.” These infant formulas, some of which have added probiotics, might cause stools to be slightly different from those of a standard formula-fed baby’s. These stools have a soft, paste-like consistency, with a yellowish mustard to green color and a slightly pungent odor.

Always remember that transitioning your baby to infant formula must be done only upon the recommendation of a health professional. Your pediatrician can best determine if there is a need for infant formula and which infant formula would be the most suitable, depending on the circumstances and the baby’s nutritional needs. When changes to a baby’s stool start to become evident, parents should not worry, but instead consult their pediatrician to discuss their observations.

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