The contents of your baby's diaper are often a great mystery. New parents are often surprised by the way a breastfed baby's stool looks, while veteran parents can still have concerns over something that just seems a bit off. A watery stool may be a sign of diarrhea in your baby, so it's important to identify any problems.
Normal Breastfed Baby Stool
In the first few months, when a baby only receives nutrition from his mother's milk, the stools will be loose and watery, especially compared to adult standards. The consistency of the stool should be like mustard and the color should be a yellowish-brown, notes HealthyChildren.org, a website from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and it's also normal to see small white "seeds" in the stool. From baby to baby, wide variations are normal and you should start to see a pattern emerge with your baby's stool.
Though a breastfed baby's normal stool is sometimes watery, it's still possible for a baby to have diarrhea. To determine this, look for a visible "ring" surrounding the colored area of the stool. This is extra liquid absorbed by the diaper. A breastfed baby's diarrhea is also likely to be green in color, a bit "frothy," and may have a bad odor or bloody streaks throughout. When this is accompanied by a high fever or lethargy, it's a stronger sign that your child is sick.
Causes of Watery Stool
A baby may have watery stool from an infection, which is likely to come with a fever or other signs of sickness. It could also occur from something the breastfeeding mother ate. Dairy and sugar are typical culprits. In some children, teething leads to stools that are more watery because the child has additional saliva she is swallowing.
When to Go to the Doctor
In most cases, you can simply try to feed your baby more often and his watery stools will clear up in a few days. It's fine for your child to have watery stools for up to two weeks, as long as he appears active and well, according to AskDrSears.com. However, if your child does have diarrhea, dehydration can be a serious concern. Look for signs of lethargy, dry mouth or eyes, significant loss of body weight and few wet diapers. Contact your child's doctor at the first signs of dehydration.