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Vegan Baby Bowel Movements
All of my friends with babies are non-vegan so I don't really have anyone to ask. Does an exclusively vegan breastfed baby's bowel movements differ in color than non-vegan breastfed babies? My little one is 9 weeks and the last two weeks his bowel movements have changed from a mustardy color to a green and sometime brownish green and not as "seedy" as previously. Is it because I'm vegan or could there be something wrong?
Vegan Momma's Comments:
Hi fellow Vegan Momma!
Poop is one of those fascinating baby topics that to non-parents is totally disgusting. But for us, it really can tell us quite a bit about how the human body is functioning. I actually remember googling this very topic and not finding much information, so I'm glad you came here to discuss.
At our newborn photo shoot in 2013, our photographer said that normally newborn poop has no scent and ours actually smelled sweet. Interesting, right? I told her what I eat and she guessed that it's likely related. How could it not be?
I was more proud of this than worried though, and I continue to be very happy with my daughter's bowel movements, which are soft but well formed and large, showing that all the fiber she eats is helping to clear everything out of her colon and bowels and not getting stuck like animal products are prone to do.
To reassure you, breastfed babies do have seedy bowel movements, which has something to do with how their bodies break down the breast milk. I'm not sure that any research has ever been done on the different types of poop based on what the mother is eating, but to me it totally makes sense that if your breast milk is completely supplied with plant food the result is going to be a baby who processes their food in a different way.
My baby also stopped having seedy poops around the same time as yours, and she was absolutely healthy and happy. We also went through different shades of poop, and I personally would not be worried about a greenish or brownish-green poop. If you eat more green food than other moms, there's a good chance your baby is going to shed some more green than theirs.
You're probably correct in assuming that your baby's bowels will move differently than even other breastfed babies and therefore you can't compare by asking other mothers. Come here though and we should be able to offer up some opinions.
Another thing to put your mind at ease... their bowel movements change all the time. Breast milk also changes constantly to adjust to how much your baby is growing and developing, so it makes sense that you would notice a change around 9 weeks. In the beginning all the little changes can be worrisome, but you will get used to seeing differences and will start to recognize a pattern.
What I would consider alarming baby bowel movements would be extremely watery diarrhea that lasts for more than a day (because of the risk of dehydration), and going for more than a week without a stool. I have to say though, it's really unlikely that a vegan baby is going to go that long without a bowel movement. The time we hit two days without a poop I was concerned because I was so accustomed to her several times a day bowel movements. Of course it was absolutely normal and simply related to the fact that she was eating more solids and her body was learning how to process that change.
I will say this though, if you ever really worry about anything with your baby, the best move is just to call their pediatrician. A doctor can properly triage whether the bowel movements sound concerning or whether it's absolutely normal. Do not feel bad about calling whenever you feel the need; this is what being a mom is all about, especially when you're new in the role.
Anyone want to add any experience with their children having different poops than other breastfed babies?
Update in 2022: I've had three vegan babies, all breastfed, and what I'd say now is that poop changes over time. It's very likely related to what I'm eating and how hydrated I'm staying, but each child has their own intestines and that impacts their poop as well. I try to make sure I'm eating a nutrient dense diet and rehydrating with electrolytes. Breastfeeding is taxing on your body and you need to fuel properly!
If your baby is having issues with poop, sometimes a high quality probiotic can help. My pediatrician recommended Klaire Labs infant probiotic in powdered form. You can sprinkle a little onto your nipple and let your baby latch and drink it that way, though it does tend to make a clumpy mess and very little babies don't love that texture in their mouths. You can also add it to a little bit of pumped or expressed milk and let your baby drink that from a bottle.
Any big changes in poop are a good reason to check in with your doctor just to be sure it doesn't indicate something more serious.