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Be forewarned, being a parent is not for the fainthearted or those with weak constitutions! Changing your baby's diapers will always be a journey into uncharted territory. The contents of that tiny diaper will change daily, if not hourly. You will make shocking discoveries and, though occasionally unsettling, they will be for the most part completely normal.

The first diaper you change for your new baby will leave you with your mouth open and wondering to yourself, "What have I gotten myself into?" During the first 24 hours of life a baby will produce one or more bowel movements of meconium.

Meconium is the tarry, greenish-black substance that gradually fills a baby's intestines during the time in the uterus. Don't be alarmed, the appearance of meconium is a good sign and will be welcomed by the pediatrician. The passing of meconium is a sign that the baby's bowels are unobstructed and functioning properly. Don't be surprised if you think you're hearing tiny cannons ignite and fire in the bassinet because the physical characteristics of meconium can only be surpassed by the sometimes loud entrance it may make.

Another sign of meconium can arrive before that first diaper and even before your baby. Sometimes at the stage of labor when the amniotic sac ruptures the fluid may be a greenish-brown as opposed to a pale, straw colored fluid. This is most often a sign that the baby has passed some meconium while still in the uterus. This will happen particularly when the baby has been under stress in the womb, and very often when a baby is post-mature (technically 42 weeks gestation or beyond). By itself meconium staining is not a sure sign of fetal distress but because it does suggest the possibility, you will want to report this your doctor immediately.

Happy diapering and yes, it is impossible to change a diaper while using one hand to pinch your nose!



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Cord Blood Registry
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen

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