When you compare your baby’s bodily habits to your own, you’ll feel especially uncomfortable about how strange they are. My friend, who recently had a baby, was telling me that every time she opens up her baby’s diaper she feels as though there is a new surprise awaiting her. Though I was just imagining that the usual feces are probably bad enough, she went on to explain that sometimes the consistency is totally random. Lately, she said that her newborn’s stool has been watery. She wasn’t concerned, but I decided to look the problem up for her. As it turns out, watery stool is perfectly normal for babies who are still growing and developing.

Newborn babies are consistent in some ways. You’ll start to learn your baby’s routine, and you’ll be able to successfully predict certain behaviors, whether they’re good or bad. However, until your baby’s digestive system has fully developed, his or her stool will be random every time. During the first few months, it’s normal for your baby to pass very watery stools. As an adult, most of the food you eat is absorbed into the intestines and then later excreted into stool. Like much of the body, the intestinal tract of a newborn is still developing, so it doesn’t absorb food as well as it might in the adult body. Therefore, your baby will pass stools often, and they will be almost literal representations of the food that he or she ate. After a few months of growing, your baby will have bowel movements less often and the stool will be thicker each time.

As long as your baby is feeding normally otherwise, watery stools are nothing to become concerned about. Only if your baby stops trying to eat or cannot process the food at all should you begin worrying about his or her health. However, if the watery stools seem to be linked to any stomach pain, colic, or anal discomfort in your baby, you should notify his or her pediatrician right away. Newborn babies desperately need nutrition to develop and grow at a natural pace, so disruptions in that pattern could be extremely detrimental.

Your baby’s stool might be very watery, but it isn’t necessarily a sign that something is wrong in the digestive growth process. Continue to feed your baby normally, and eventually, he or she will grow out of this strange digestive phase.

Source: Lawrence Weaver: A Short History of Infant Feeding and Growth. Early Human Development Volume 88 Issue 1 pp. 57-59 March 2012  

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