Whether it’s the first diaper change or the 100th, you want to know what the color, consistency and smell of your infant’s poop means. As a parent, you will talk about poop more than you ever thought possible. Normal baby poop comes in different colors, sizes, frequencies and smells
By Chelsea Skaggs, founder of Postpartum Together
Baby’s first poop will come out like tar. You will notice it is thick and sticky. This is called meconium. Meconium is the baby’s first bowel movement and the passing of what was ingested in the womb. Meconium is made up of mucus, amniotic fluid, tissue and lanugo (the body hair a baby sheds while in utero). This newborn poop will last for the first couple of days of your baby’s life. As your baby starts to drink more breastmilk or formula, the poop will change color and consistency.
Baby Poop Color and Frequency
Two babies of the same age can have different looking and smelling poop. Babies who are breastfed and babies who are formula-fed tend to have different types of poop. If you change feeding types during your baby’s life, you will notice the difference in their bowel movement.
Breastfed Baby Poop
Breastfed baby poop is usually a mustard color. It can also have a green or brown color. Many parents are surprised to see that it is “seedy.” This seedy consistency is undigested milk fat. Breastfed babies have more consistent bowel movement than formula-fed but at times can go 2-3 days or sometimes longer without pooping.
Formula Fed Baby Poop
When a baby is formula-fed, the poop is usually a darker tan or brown and more firm. Formulas fed babies are known to poop less frequently than breastfed babies. For both breastfed and formula-fed babies, the frequency of stool may change at different times. If you are worried about your baby’s intake and output, monitor the number of wet diapers.
When you being introducing solids to your baby, the color and consistency of poop will change. It is recommended you introduce solids around 6 months of age. You may choose to introduce purees or to introduce table foods through Baby Led Weaning. Adding solids to your baby’s diet will change digestion and lead to different colors and types of baby poop. You may see the color of the foods eaten in the baby’s poop. For example, if you give your baby beets, you will likely see a pink or red color. If your baby is eating green beans or peas, you will notice the green in his stool. The introduction of solids also makes the baby stool firmer in most cases.
Baby Poop Color: What is Normal and When Should I Worry?
Baby poop comes in many colors for many reasons. Usually, the color is because of the food taken in. Sometimes, though, different colored poop warrants a call to the doctor.
Infrequent green poop is normal. For a breastfed baby, green poop can be from mom’s food intake or antibiotics. If green poop or dark green poop is happening regularly, examine why. If newborn green poop is “frothy,” it could be too much milk intake and baby not digesting well. Green baby poop can also be a sign of an allergy for the baby. One common allergy for babies is cow’s milk. For a breastfed baby with green poop, look for other signs of allergy and try cutting out dairy or other common allergens. Green baby poop for a formula-fed child may simply be from the iron-fortified formula and is not a reason for concern.
This is the most common color of a formula-fed baby’s poop. This may also be a lighter shade of tan.
Mustardy yellow is the most common color of a breastfed baby’s poop. Many parents also notice this poop looks seedy.
For newborns, black poop is meconium (see above). If your baby is more than a couple of weeks old, it could be related to what you or the baby are eating. Keep an eye on black poop as it could also be a sign of internal bleeding. Contact a doctor if you are concerned about black stool.
If you notice red poop, check to see if the baby has had anything with red food color, any new medicines, or deep red foods. This includes your intake if your baby is breastfed. Beets are a food that causes red poop and can surprise parents. Red poop could also be a sign of blood in the stool. If your baby has been constipated, this could be a small anal tear from straining. Contact your pediatrician if you are concerned about red stool.
White poop is uncommon in babies and can be alarming. Some babies may have white poop after a BRAT type of diet when baby or mom is sick. White poop can indicate an organ issue where the liver is not producing enough bile. If your baby has white poop and it is not from dietary choices, contact your pediatrician.
Mucus in baby poop
If you notice mucus in your baby’s stool it is likely from teething or a cold. Small amounts of mucus in the stool are normal and not a cause for worry. If this is ongoing or in large amounts, talk with your pediatrician. According to the University of Michigan Health library, Bowel Movements in Babies, contact your doctor if your baby’s stools are:
- Maroon or very bloody
- Black (and your baby has already passed meconium)
- White or gray
- Your child is having a lot more stools than normal for him or her
- Your baby’s stool has large amounts of mucus or water in it
If you find yourself texting pictures of your baby poop to your significant other or good friend, you are not alone. Baby poop is a hot topic in new parenthood. Knowing the colors of baby poop you might find and what those colors mean can help you feel better about all those diaper changes- even the middle of the night ones!
Chelsea Skaggs is a postpartum advocate and coach who is committed to helping women kick the pressure to be “Pinterest Perfect” and have real, raw conversations to acknowledge and empower the postpartum experience. She provides small group coaching, eCourses, online communities and helps other women start motherhood-centered businesses. She believes that normalizing and empowering all the changes in life after baby can change the world and leads that effort at postpartumtogether.com.