Babies: Bloody, mucousy stools in baby

Our five-month-old son has had infrequent spots of blood and mucus in his bowel movements. He is completetly breastfed and, until recently, has had several bowel movements daily. What could this be?

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Robert Steele

Robert W. Steele, MD, is a board certified pediatrician at St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, MO. He graduated from medical... Read more

Whenever an infant has blood in the diaper, the first thing we as physicians try to figure out is where exactly the blood is coming from. Is the blood coming from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract or from the urinary tract? This can be challenging especially in female infants. From what you describe, it sound like it is from the former.

The next thing to figure out is where exactly in the GI tract the blood is originating. The most common place is from the rectum. Infants commonly get small rectal tears from passing stool (especially if the stool tends to be hard). Usually this causes a small amount of blood to streak the outer edges of the stool and usually goes away in about 24 hours but may return. If the blood is originating from further within the GI tract, the blood tends to be mixed in with the stool and darker in color.

Your baby is almost due for his six month checkup, therefore I suggest you bring this up with your doctor.

Things your doctor will want to know or figure out:

  1. What color is the blood -- bright red or more brown to black
  2. Are stools ever black?
  3. Is you child otherwise growing well?
  4. Is diarrhea associated with these stools?
  5. Is your child in daycare?
  6. Is there anyone in the house with gastrointestinal symptpms?
  7. Is there any family history of bleeding disorders (e.g. hemophilia)
  8. Does your child get constipated?

You can expect your doctor to do a thorough exam as well, and will examine for rectal tears at that time.

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