What does a Healthy Digestive System look like?

Now, you may be wondering, "How can I possibly know if my little one’s digestive system is strong and healthy?" It’s actually easier than you think.

One of the obvious signs of a healthy digestive system is regular bowel movements. When your baby has an easy poop schedule, chances are his digestive system is functioning normally.

Follow our handy guide to get started on identifying your baby’s digestive health!

 
Why is Healthy Digestion so important?
Learn about the Gut and Gut Microbiota!
What does a Healthy Digestive System look like?
Easy steps to a Happy Tummy!

Know the 5 Signs of a Healthy Digestive system

 

 

1) No Tummy or Digestive problems.

When your child is not experiencing bouts of diarrhoea, constipation or bloating etc, the chances are, his digestive system is running smoothly.

 

2) A Happy and Smiling baby!

A gleaming smile is always a good sign and it tells a lot about the digestive system. It shows that your child's digestive system is doing its job when it comes to digestion and ensuring comfort.

3) Regular Poop schedules

Soft poops are the best poops. Easy and regular bowel movements show that your baby's digestive system is functioning normally and there are no signs of infection! Find out here what does your little one's poop say about his digestive system and overall health.

 

4) Strong Natural Defences.

When your baby is strong against illnesses that seem to be affecting other small children, his digestive system may be the one to thank. Your baby's digestive system can grow to become strong by accommodating to a mix of good and bad bacteria.

5) Healthy Gut Microbiota.

When the gut has a large diversity with more good bacteria than bad bacteria, it can help defend your baby against harmful illnesses.



 
 
 

The Clue’s in the Poop

Has your baby ever cried or made a fuss after a meal or two? Perhaps, looking at his poop, could lend you some clues.

  • Form: What is the consistency and shapes of your baby’s poop? Are they are round and hard or long and soft?
  • Frequency: How regularly does your baby poop? Are his bowels fully emptied?
  • Color: What tint of yellow, black or green is your child’s poo?

What has your baby poop today? Do a quick check with our easy stool reference, to see if his poop is normal! Remember, the form, frequency and color of your baby’s poop all matter!

 
Learn about Stool Forms in Bristol Stool Chart 8

How can you describe your baby’s bowel movements to your doctor without bringing a stool sample?

The Bristol Stool Chart offers a simple and easy way when talking about shapes and types of your baby’s poop!

  • The ideal stool is generally type 3 or 4 (most ideal), easy to pass without being too watery. This can be a sign of your baby’s healthy gut.
  • If your baby’s stool is type 1 or 2, he is likely to be constipated.
  • Types 5, 6 or 7 tend towards diarrhoea.

You can now quickly estimate the ‘health’ of your baby’s stool (and his gut), and consider a plan to improve his bowel movements.

Can you find which poop most closely resembles your baby’s?

Type 1

Separate hard lumps, like nuts. Difficult to pass. Often relates to constipation.

Take note of constipation!
Young babies with constipation should be brought to a doctor. For older babies, ensure their diets are supplement with plenty of fluids and high-fibre foods! If such stools persist, a doctor should be consulted.

Type 2

Balls of poop stuck together into lumpy, sausage-like shape. Thick and large in size. One of the most common types during constipation

Take note of constipation!
Young babies with constipation should be brought to a doctor. For older babies, ensure their diets are supplement with plenty of fluids and high-fibre foods! If such stools persist, a doctor should be consulted.

Type 3

Sausage-like shape with cracked surface. Stool is thinner, smaller and not as lumpy, when compared to Type 2.

Easier to pass.

Type 4

Sausage or snake-like poo! Healthy and good stool that is smooth, soft and easy to pass.

Your baby’s ideal stool!

Type 5

Soft blobs with clear cut edges and easily passed. Symptom of diarrhoea.

Take note of diarrhoea!
Check your baby’s diet and ensure he gets plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration! It would be advisable to consult a doctor regarding his condition.

Type 6

Mushy and porridge-like stool; Fluffy pieces with ragged edges. Symptom of diarrhoea.

Take note of diarrhoea!
Check your baby’s diet and ensure he gets plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration! It would be advisable to consult a doctor regarding his condition.

Type 7

Watery and entirely liquid stool. No solid pieces. May be bacterial infection.

Take note of Bacterial Infection!
If the poo is red or bloody, seek help from your doctor! It might be an indication of bacterial infection.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Does the Frequency of your Baby’s Poop Matter?

It’s best to have at least one complete bowel movement a day. And more importantly, to feel like your bowels have (fully) emptied afterwards. Poop schedules vary among people, depending on age, diet and metabolic rate etc.

Your baby’s bowel movements will become less frequent as he grows older. On average, most babies poop 2 times a day by 4 months9. The frequency (how regularly) and effort (how thorough) it takes for your little one to pass his stool is more important than the number of times he poops a day. As long as your baby’s stool remains soft and he is growing well with no abdominal pain or bloating, it is fine if he continues on a regular poop schedule.

But since bowel movement is one of the best ways our body eliminates toxic and waste, it is definitely best for your baby to do once every day.

8Heaton, K W & Lewis, S J 1997, 'Stool form scale as a useful guide to intestinal transit time'. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, vol.32, no.9, pp.920 - 924
9Quote from Houston pediatric gastroenterologist Bryan Vartabedian, M.D., author of First Foods (St. Martin's, 2001)

 

Analyse the Stool with its Colour!

Believe it or not, the colour of your baby’s poop is important. It can indicate his gut health and overall well-being. Keep in mind if your baby eats beetroots, a lot of leafy greens, or food dyes, his stool colour may change, and this is perfectly normal.

 

 

Black

Poop could be coloured due to dietary sources such as cherries or red dragonfruit; or treatment with iron, bismuth and carbon. However, solid black poop may signify a more serious problem. Your baby’s digestive system could be bleeding somewhere. Consult your doctor right away.

Red

Red or blood stained poop could be due to several reasons:
- If poop is normal, it could be due to dietary sources such as beetroot which can dye poop slightly reddish.
- If poop is in hard pallets, your baby may be constipated, resulting in blood from small tears in the anus.
- If poo is watery and red, this may be a sign of bacterial infection. Consult your doctor.

Yellow

Usually occurs during diarrhoea or after treatment with medication.

Green

Green stool is associated with incomplete breakdown of bile as stool passes through the gut more rapidly than usual. Also, green poop could be due to the consumption of green vegetables such as spinach.

Grey

Might be due to high amount of mucus or fat in poop.

White

Very pale poop could be an indication of inadequate bile production and jaundice. If jaundice lasts for more than 2 weeks, consult your doctor as it could be a liver problem.

 

 

Are you interested in learning more ways to keeping your baby’s gut strong?

You’ve come to the right place. Continue to discover more tips on building a healthy gut!

 

Important Notice

Breast milk is best for babies 

Breast milk is the best for babies. The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Unnecessary introduction of bottle feeding or other food and drinks will have a negative impact on breastfeeding. After six months of age, infants should receive age-appropriate foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. Consult your doctor before deciding to use infant formula or if you have difficulty breastfeeding.

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