A baby's digestion is constantly changing during the first year of life. Therefore, what ends up in your baby’s diaper or nappy also changes. A baby's first bowel movement is black and viscous. It is referred to as meconium. Later, a baby’s stool will be soft or even liquid and its colour may be pale yellow to ochre. As soon as babies eat baby food, their stool changes again. It becomes firmer and smellier, and the colour often matches that of the food the baby has eaten. During the baby’s first check-ups, the colour of their stool is assessed using what’s known as a ‘stool colour chart’ in Germany. You can ask your midwife or paediatrician for a chart like this.

It is normal for a newborn’s first stool to be black. This dark stool allows the baby to get rid of what was ingested in the womb. Cells, amniotic fluid, bile and mucus are excreted. The colour of a baby’s stool usually changes during the first five days. It turns green and eventually yellow. If the stool remains black or if you notice black stool in baby’s diaper at a later time, you should seek the advice of a paediatrician.

Yellow or ochre: these are the colours usually found in the contents of younger babies' diapers. The stool is often slightly lighter in babies who are breastfed than in babies who drink formula. The smell and the firmness of the stool also differ. The stool of breastfed baby’s is less solid and smells less.

Diaper content that is whitish or grayish may indicate a gall bladder disorder or liver inflammation. Doctors then speak of discoloured stool. If this is case, please make an urgent appointment with your paediatrician.

Stool that is red in colour can have harmless causes. It can occur, for example, if your baby is already getting complementary foods and has been given beetroot. But there could also be blood in their stool. This is an indication of problems in your baby's stomach or intestines that need medical attention.

If you notice that your baby is straining or even in pain when defecating, you should see a doctor. It is possible that the baby's stool is too hard. When the baby tries to push it out, small tears in the anal mucosa can occur. Some doctors may prescribe aids that stimulate the baby’s digestive system.

A baby in the first year of life is considered to have diarrhoea if their stool is noticeably thin and if such excretions end up in the diaper more than five times a day. Make sure your baby drinks enough so they don't get dehydrated. If your baby suffers from frequent vomiting, they also need extra fluids. If you are breastfeeding your baby, you should nurse them more often now. If you are bottle feeding your baby, you can prepare special teas that you can get at the pharmacy. You should see a doctor if you are unsure and think your child may have an infection or allergy.

Called ‘three-month colic’ in German, it affects about a quarter of all babies. It often begins around the second week of a baby’s life. It often disappears around the third month. Affected babies are restless and cry a lot. The abdomen often becomes hard and bulges out. There are different opinions about the causes of these symptoms. Many experts suspect that certain bacteria are missing from the baby's intestine or are not present in sufficient quantities. Some babies' tummies distend because they swallow air when they cry or nurse too hastily. You shouldn't be alone with your worries, however. Your midwife or paediatrician can advise you.