A Poop Primer

Helpful information for navigating your baby's first poops.

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New parents obsess over the contents of their babies' diapers, but most of it is normal. In newborns, it can range from one thick, pale-yellow bowel movement per day to more liquid but grainy bright yellow squirts after each feeding, says Andy Clark, M.D., a pediatrics expert on JustAnswer.com. Here's the first month's poop scoop:

Three Diapering Do's

  • Keep a hand on your baby at all times so he can't roll off the table, or use the safety strap; your baby may achieve this milestone sooner than expected.
  • If you have a boy, place a cloth diaper or washcloth over his penis during diaper changes so that he doesn't urinate on himself—or on you.
  • If you have a girl, always wipe her from front to back to help prevent urinary tract infections.

Rash Happens

Most commonly caused by irritation from stool or urine, diaper rash is easily soothed with a zinc oxide or petroleum-based barrier cream (let the baby's bottom air-dry before applying it). If your baby is prone to diaper rash or wears cloth diapers, apply cream preventatively at changes and let him go diaper-free as much as possible. If a rash persists, dyes or fragrances used in diapers (or laundry detergent used to wash cloth diapers) may be irritating the skin, so try switching to dye-and scent-free brands.

According to David Hill, M.D., adjunct assistant professor of pediatrics at University of North Carolina Medical School, Chapel Hill, two situations warrant a call to a pediatrician: a lingering, bright red rash along skin folds, which may signal a yeast infection and require anti-fungal cream; or sores with discharge, potentially a more serious staph infection.

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