What Your Baby’s Stool Is Telling You

What Your Baby’s Stool Is Telling You

22 Aug 2022 | 9 min Read

Reema Shah

Author | 614 Articles

As new parents, you might have several questions regarding your baby’s stool. Most new parents also commonly ask – how many times does a newborn poop? The answer is about one to four bowel movements per day which are completely normal. Be prepared to witness different colours like blackish green stool, green stool and other colours if you’re first-time parents and are still figuring things out. Read on to find out more about a baby’s poop colour and what each of them means.

Here Is the Guide On How Your Infant Poops First Few Days, Weeks And Months After Birth

Here’s a rough guide to what you’re likely to find in your little one’s poop over the first few days, weeks, and months after he or she is born.

Meconium
The first few diapers of your baby will usually contain a gooey, dark-green, tar-like substance, with hardly any smell. The green poop in babies is completely a normal colour of stool and is called meconium.

This poop is made up of skin cells, mucus, lanugo hairs and other particles that your baby has swallowed while he or she was in the womb along with amniotic fluid.

When Does Regular Poop Start

It usually takes a few days to pass out all the meconium from the baby’s system. After that, they begin to have regular baby poops. The baby poop’s colour will shift from a very dark brown stool almost black colour to a yellowy green and the mucus present is also less.

baby's stool
A baby’s stool who is breastfed appears like Dijon mustard in the first few months / Credit – Pexels

Here is what you’ll probably find in your little one’s poop:

  • Breastfed babies
    A healthy normal breastfed baby poop colour in the first few months may look a little like Dijon mustard which has a little bit of runny consistency. It might also have whiteish and seed-like fat particles. It is normal to see a little bit of mucus in the baby’s poop. The baby’s stool colour may also change depending on what you’re eating. For instance, if you eat green vegetables like spinach, you might see a green tint in the contents of your little one’s diapers which is totally normal.
  • Formula-fed babies
    If your baby is feeding on formula milk, their poop won’t usually be as runny as that of a breastfed baby. It will have a paste-like consistency but won’t usually be firmer than peanut butter. It will be more of a darker yellow or tan colour.
  • Babies in the weaning stage. When you start introducing solid foods to your little one you’ll start to notice some major changes in the look and smell of your baby pooping. The stool will get firmer and the colour will vary more often too.

How Different Types Of Food Bring Changes In Baby’s Poop

If your child is eating finger foods, their poop might have undigested bits of food like the skins of peas or tomatoes. This is because your child’s digestive system is still new to processing all these new foods. The poop starts to smell stronger during the weaning period too due to sugars and extra fats consumed.

Black, mustard and bright yellow colour can be when your baby is breastfeeding or is on formula milk.

baby's stool
Green poop in infants might happen because the breastfeeding mum has consumed green foods like spinach / Credit – Canva

What Does Colour in Poop Mean?

You might be surprised by a change in the colour of your baby’s poop, which can range from the mustardy hues of breast-milk poop and the yellow-tan of formula-fed baby poop to various other shades of yellow, brown, and even green. You might also find mucus in baby poop, which can create a translucent or milky colouring.

Green poop can be alarming the first time you see it, but it’s usually harmless. All sorts of things can cause it, from certain medicines (taken by your baby, or by you if you’re breastfeeding) to green foods eaten by your baby directly or passed on through your breast milk. Sometimes, what you see is simply a product of your little one’s normal digestion.

Generally, all the earth tones (yellow through green and brown) are OK, but if you ever need reassurance about the colour of your baby’s poop, don’t be shy about reaching out to your baby’s healthcare provider for advice.

What Different Colours Suggest About A Baby’s Health

  1. Green Poop
    Green poop is usually harmless. It can be caused by certain medicines that are taken by your baby or by you if you’re breastfeeding.  At times, green foods eaten by your baby directly or passed on through your breast milk can also be the reason. If you’re wondering what black potty means, it can be meconium which is black or dark green.
  1. Black Poop
    In some cases, black stool can be caused by blood, which may turn from red colour to black colour inside the intestines over time. Even very dark green poop can sometimes appear black. Plus, there’s meconium which can also look black, and is normal.
  1. Brown
    This is a common poop colour for babies and there’s nothing to worry about.
  1. White or Gray
    Very pale white or clay-coloured stools are very rare, but if you see poop call your baby’s healthcare provider, as it could indicate a liver condition that needs treatment.
  1. Red Stool (Blood in Stool)
    If you see traces of red in your baby’s poop it can be due to blood. Visit a doctor to find out what’s causing it. However, there are plenty of harmless reasons for red poop. A newborn baby might have swallowed a little blood during delivery. In the case of breastfeeding mums, their nipples might be bleeding and the blood might be mingling with the breast milk. It could also be certain foods like beet that your little one is eating if he/she has started to eat solids.
  1. Watery Stool
    This loose stool in babies indicates diarrhoea and can occur up to twelve times in babies in a day.
baby's stool
Formula-fed babies tend to have darker yellow or tan colour milk / Credit – Pexels

What does the abnormal baby poop look like?

Dark Red or Black Baby Poop

If your baby’s stool is dark red or black in colour, it might indicate gastrointestinal bleeding. Blood in baby poop should always be consulted by a doctor.

White
This could indicate digestive issues and needs a doctor’s advice.

Bright Yellow
Overly runny consistency could be a sign of diarrhoea.

Silver, Wine-red Maroon, or Raspberry Gel-like Poop
All of these poop colours need immediate medical attention.

How Much Poop Is Normal?

If your baby is breastfeeding, about two to five bowel movements are normal. However, in the case of formula feeding, it can be once a day. 

Baby Diarrhoea

However, if your infant has stools that are very runny or larger — maybe even leaking out of their diaper — and are more frequent than usual, then they have diarrhoea.

If your baby is partly or completely formula-fed, it might have less watery or loose poops. Formula milk usually gives babies firmer poops that are light tan in colour. Diarrhoea in formula-fed babies will still be a bit watery, though the colour can vary just as with normal stool.

How To Cure Diarrhoea In Babies

Keep your baby hydrated as much as possible. If your baby is still breastfeeding, ensure that they feed enough.

If There Is No Poop?

No poop or constipation is common in babies after they’re introduced to solid foods but it can occur in younger children too. Constipation in newborn babies is hard/firm stool which comes less than once a day. In older children and toddlers, the hard stool comes once in three to four days. If your child or baby strains for more than ten minutes to pass stool, it can indicate constipation.

How to Deal With Constipation in Babies

Talk to your doctor if your child has any of these symptoms-

  • Loss of appetite 
  • Vomiting 
  • Bloody stool
  • Lethargy
  • Fever

When To See A Doctor

If your baby has a bloody stool, diarrhoea or any signs of constipation, see your doctor immediately.

Key Takeaways
A baby’s stool comes in many colours and most variations are considered normal. However, if your baby is pooping colours like red, white, black or pale yellow make an appointment with your doctor. 

FAQs:

What does the baby poop look like with a milk allergy?

If your little one has a milk allergy, you may see diarrhoea. The undigested milk in baby stool can even lead to bloody diarrhoea and mucus in the stool. Plus, your baby may also experience vomiting, rash, eczema or abdominal pain. Symptoms of this intolerance tend to develop within the first week of exposure.

2. What does lactose intolerant poop look like?

Sometimes your child might pass loose, watery, yellow and green coloured stools after two hours of consuming milk or any other dairy product. This could be a sign of lactose intolerance in the baby.

3. Toddler pooping small amounts many times a day? Is it normal?

Some children may go number two several times a day, while others may go once every other day or every two to three days. If you’ve noticed that your child seems to be pooping a few times each day, that’s not to worry for.

4. Can changing formula change poop colour?

A baby’s stool that is dark green or greenish-black may be caused by a reaction of bacteria in the intestines to the iron sulfate in a supplement or iron-fortified formula. The poop will remain this colour as long as your baby is on the formula.

5. What does it mean when your baby’s poop is seedy?

A healthy baby poop colour in the first few months may look a little like Dijon mustard which has a slightly runny consistency. It might also have whiteish and seed-like fat particles. 

Cover image credit – Flo Health

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