New parents tend to obsess over any changes in a baby's bowel movements, and because a baby's stool comes in a wide variety of colours and textures, it can be a source of great angst and stress. Relatives and friends are quick to assume something is wrong with the baby if the stool changes, yet many times varying stool colours and mucus content are caused from simple changes in the diet or drooling due to teething. Mucus in a baby's stool often does not signify a severe problem; however, if the condition persists over an extended period of time, it should be addressed by your paediatrician.
Normal baby stool colours include light tan to dark brown and pale yellow to dark green, depending on whether the baby is breast or formula fed. Normal baby stool texture is soft, loose and seedy. A few liquid texture bowel movements is usually not reason for alarm, but frequent watery stools can be diarrhoea as a result of a stomach or bowel infection, a viral infection, a food intolerance and even a reaction to stress and anxiety. It is important to note that babies that are solely breastfed will have liquid texture bowel movements as a rule and there is no need to worry.
If there is an unusually large amount of mucus in a baby's stool, a virus might be the culprit. Many times the only symptom of a virus in a baby is a green mucus stool. Teething can also cause green mucus stools. Babies drool excessively, which causes an increase in saliva, which they often swallow. The saliva can irritate the intestines, resulting in green, runny, acidic stools that may contain mucus. Contact your health care provider if you are concerned about the mucus in your baby's stool.
If your baby has mucus in the stool due to a virus, your paediatrician will most likely advise you to let the virus run its course. Mucus in your baby's stool as a result of teething is also remedied with time. Stools with mucus may cause diaper rash, which can be treated by keeping the area clean and treating with diaper creams.
Baby's stool that continually contains mucus may need to be treated by your paediatrician. The doctor may recommend dietary changes, changes in formula and even prescription medications for the treatment of diarrhoea and stomach problems. For serious cases, your baby may be further examined to eliminate any possible internal intestinal complications.
Breast-fed babies can have a variety of poop colours and textures, with or without mucus, due to the mother's diet. If the baby is allergic to a certain food or food group that the mother has in her diet, the baby's stool texture and colour can change drastically.
If your baby's stool is bright red in addition to containing mucus, contact your paediatrician immediately, as this may signify blood due to a sore or crack in the skin around the anus, a possible milk allergy or a severe intestinal problem.