Today is my Maternal and Newborn Care Exam.
In celebration of finishing this course, let's chat about baby poo and digestion:
A baby's first stool (aka poo) is thick and black. It is known as meconium. This stool has been collecting in the baby's bowels since the 16th week of the pregnancy (crazy!). Meconium is made of bile fatty acids, mucous, and sloughed off epithelial cells.
Moving on, if a baby is breastfed, his or her stool will be liquidy, mustard-colored, and odorless. Babies who are fed formula will have harder, darker, and much smellier stools! The iron contained in formula can be constipating for babies, contributing to development of these hard, dark, and smelly stools.
The newborn baby's stomach can only hold 15 to 30 mL. That's only a tablespoon or two! Amazing. This is why newborns need to be feed all.the.time! And while we adults have gastric emptying and bowel movements every 8 to 24 hours, babies empty their bowels every 2 to 3 hours, which means there is a lot of poo. The glycogen stores of babies are also very small (note: we store fuel for between meals and sleep through glycogen), also contributing to their constant need for food.
Mothers know that they need to burp their babies after a meal and that "spit-up" is a common occurrence Babies often get this regurgitation as their cardiac sphincter of their stomach is still weak and doesn't properly seal off the stomach, allowing some milk to come back up.
|Source unknown; not my picture.|
In terms of newborn food, you've probably heard that "breast is best". However, we were taught that the terminology to use when promoting breast feedings is now "formula has risks". The problem with the former phrase was that moms thought that "sure breast is best, but formula is pretty good too!". This new caption is aimed at educating moms that there are risks involved with feeding a child formula!