transitional stools

Transitional stools are the loose, yellow-green watery stools passed on the second or third day of life. They typically appear when mother's milk starts to come in and increased amounts of lactose are secreted in the breast milk. The loose stools are caused by a temporary lactose intolerance which arises from the fact that at birth, the digestive cells lining the small intestine are dormant and do not contain high levels of the enzyme lactase. The undigested lactose in the colon acts as a laxative. Exposure to the sugar switches on the enzyme producing machinery of the cells (the sugar "induces" the enzyme) however, and the looseness of the stools diminishes rapidly. Thus they are a good sign that mother's milk is starting to come in. The greenish hue is caused by the presence of meconium, the tarry fetal stool which is first passed after birth.

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