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Baby Poop 101: The Ultimate Guide for the Practical Mom

Baby Poop 101: The Ultimate Guide for the Practical Mom

Did you know that there’s more to baby poop than meets the eye?

The color of your baby’s stool, as well as its consistency and frequency, will give you clues about their health.

It’s one of the challenges most new moms and dads aren’t ready for. I know I wasn’t! I thought it was all about knowing how to change a diaper and breathe through smells.

Turns out, you’ll be a master in diaper changing within your first few weeks! What you’ve got to keep an eye out for is analyzing what your baby’s poop is saying.

For the first four or five months after Ollie was discharged from the hospital, he had runny, bloody stool. At first, it was very scary, but it turns out it was only allergies.

To this day, we don’t know what he was allergic to, for months we tried eliminating gluten, dairy, eggs, and nuts from my diet, but to no avail. I had to go to an extreme elimination diet that lasted a few months.

After a week of eating nothing but chicken, corn, white rice, and avocado (with a multivitamin complex and under the watchful eyes of doctors and dietitian) his stool began to improve. And, guess what?

It wasn’t only what was in his diaper that got better, he started putting on more weight, sleeping better, was less irritable, and was more mobile. All thanks to us paying close attention to his baby poop!

We became experts in the process, and found out lots of things we could have never imagined about baby’s depositions!

Did you know, for instance, that your baby’s first poop is supposed to be dark green? So dark, in fact, it’s almost black.

Yes, black!

There’s so much more to baby poop than… well… poop, keep reading to find out all about it!


So, What’s Meconium?

Baby Poop: What's Meconium

Meconium is the very first stool your baby will pass.

It’s mostly composed of substances your baby ingested while they were in the womb! That’s amniotic fluid, tissue, lanugo (the soft hair of newborns), bile, and water.

Your baby’s stool will progress from meconium to a newborn baby’s poop in less than a few days.

Meconium (the first baby poop) should be dark green, so dark it’s almost black, and have a tar-like consistency (viscous and sticky).

It will also be almost odorless.

And, speaking of baby poop color…

Baby Poop Color Guide

Baby poop will progressively change in color and consistency after the first few days, and your new normal will be runnier, and yellowish.

Here’s a complete guide on what the color of your baby’s stool is telling you!

Dark Green Baby Poop

What does dark green baby poop mean?

You can find that some formula-fed babies can pass dark green stools.

This is because of how your baby’s digestive system processes the iron in her formula, and it’s completely normal.

If you’re giving your baby an iron supplement, it’s also likely that her poop will be dark green.

Mustard Yellow Baby Poop

What does mustard yellow baby poop mean?

This is the expected color of your baby’s poop if you’re breastfeeding them.

However, formula-fed babies can also pass stools that are mustard yellow.

Healthy baby poop of breastfed babies will also have a seedy consistency and have small flecks that come from the breast milk.

Brownish Orange Baby Poop

What does brownish orange baby poop mean?

Brownish-Orange baby poop is normal for formula-fed babies.

The consistency of a formula-fed baby’s stool is also firmer than that of a breastfed baby.

If you’re breastfeeding your baby and have eaten food that may contain red or orange dyes, then your baby’s stool could also be orange.

Last but not least, once your baby starts eating solids, their stool will be orange if they eat orange-colored foods, such as carrots.

Talking about solids, you can read all about starting your baby on solid food in my Complete Guide To Starting Your Baby on Solids.

Greenish Tan Baby Poop

What does greenish tan baby poop mean?

This is a tricky but common color of baby poop.

A breastfed or formula-fed baby can have a greenish-tan stool, it’s completely normal, especially if there are no changes in the consistency of the stool.

But, if your baby is getting over a stomach bug, she will also have a greenish-tan poop. In these cases, however, the consistency may change.

If your baby’s stools have mucus in them, it could be a sign of an allergy to milk protein. Or, allergies to other types of food, you’ll find milk protein allergies everywhere because it’s the most common, but in our case, it was allergies to something else (we never found out what was causing the allergies and I went on a strict elimination diet).

Allergies are not only present in formula-fed babies but also in breastfeeding babies since you can pass cow’s milk protein and other food protein and nutrients through your breast milk.

Additionally, this is a normal color for babies who are teething. And, in fact, it can be a sign of early teething.

Are you not sure if your baby is teething? Here’s my Baby Teething Guide so that you can check all the symptoms, and know exactly what to expect.

Bright Yellow Baby Poop

What does brigth yellow baby poop mean?

If you’re breastfeeding your baby and taking medicine, your baby’s stool could be bright yellow, and as long as it doesn’t have a runny consistency, it’s no cause for concern.

Diarrhea in babies could also be bright yellow, green, or brown. You’ll recognize it because of the runny consistency.

If your baby has diarrhea, her stool will have few or zero lumps in it, and it will be so runny that it will most likely explode out of her diaper.

See your pediatrician if your baby’s stools look like diarrhea three times within 24 hours.

Red Baby Poop

What does red baby poop mean?

This is an alarming color, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be concerned.

If your baby has red flecks in his stool, she might be constipated or swallowing blood from your cracked nipples.

It can also be a sign of food allergies.

Our baby had tiny red dots on his stool for a few months until I eliminated most things out of my diet, he was allergic to something, and the doctors couldn’t find out what it was!

If you’re finding baby poop that has mucus, looks sticky, and has red flecks, it may be caused by food allergies you’re passing through your breast milk, or directly from the formula.

In this case, you should call a doctor to find the best method to manage the allergies.

If your baby’s stool is completely red, bright red, or has a large amount of red coloring, it could be a sign of infection or gastrointestinal injury, you need to go to the ER immediately.

Black Baby Poop

What does Balck or dark baby poop mean?

If your baby’s older than three days old and still has a black stool, it could be a sign of digestive issues.

You need to go to the doctor as soon as possible to make sure your baby’s getting all the nutrition they need.

Additionally, if your baby isn’t taking an iron supplement, it could be a sign of GI tract bleeding – blood can turn black as it passes through the digestive system.

This happens in rare cases, but you should see a doctor immediately to make sure everything is ok.

As it happens with dark green baby poop, if your baby is taking an iron supplement or drinking a formula that’s high in iron, her stool could be so dark it looks black. This is completely normal.

White Baby Poop

What does White baby poop mean?

A white stool can be a sign of liver or gallbladder issues, usually caused by a lack of bile from the liver. It can also have a chalky consistency.

If your baby is passing white stool, you need to see your pediatrician immediately.

Gray Baby Poop

What does gray baby poop mean?

If your baby has started solids, her stool could be gray depending on what she eats.

However, as with white stools, it can also be a sign of gallbladder or liver issues and needs to be addressed by a doctor immediately.

Bright Green Baby Poop

What does bright green baby poop mean?

If you’re breastfeeding your baby, and see a bright green stool, it can be a sign that they are getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk.

Foremilk is the breast milk that babies get at the start of a nursing session, and fatty hindmilk is the one they get after some time on the breast.

You can find out more and foremilk and hindmilk in this article.

If this is your case, then try manually expressing some milk before you start nursing, or feed your baby from the same breast for a longer time.

How Often Should Your Baby Poop

Baby Poop: About Consistency

During the first six weeks of life, your baby may poop after every feeding session.

Think about changing diapers from 30 minutes to an hour after feeding.

(Talking about diapers, if you’re planning on saving the big bucks with cloth diapers, check out my Ultimate Guide to Cloth Diapers)

After 6 weeks, your baby’s digestive system will have matured and they will start passing stool less frequently (yay for that!).

If you’re breastfeeding your baby, they will poop less frequently. It’s not unheard of that breastfeeding babies go up to seven days without pooping.

If your breastfed baby hasn’t pooped in a few days and her belly is soft, they seem happy, and they are gaining weight, there’s usually no cause for concern.

However, if you find that their tummy is firmer than normal, and they seem fussy, they could be constipated.

If your baby is drinking formula, then you can expect her to poop once a day. If a few days pass with no stool on her diapers, they could be constipated.

Baby Poop Texture

We’ve covered some baby poop consistency when we were talking colors. However, consistency alone can also be a warning sign.

Baby Poop: About Texture

Mucus in Baby Poop

If your baby’s stool texture is frothy or if it has mucus in it, it could be a sign of a bacterial infection or an allergy.

See your pediatrician if your baby has had a few frothy or mucusy stools.

If your baby is teething or excessively drooling, the occasional frothy poop is completely normal.

Diarrhea

Before introducing solids, babies have loose stools. Thus, recognizing diarrhea can be difficult.

If your baby’s poop is runnier than usual and leaks out of her diaper more than usual, call your pediatrician.

The main cause of concern for babies with diarrhea is keeping them hydrated, so that’s the first thing you should expect your doctor to address.

Hard Baby Poop

Pebble-like rocks can be a sign of constipation.

If you see your baby struggling to go, and see the stool looks harder and rock-like, call your doctor to understand how you can help them pass stool more fluidly.

That’s a Wrap

Baby poop is a whole new world for new parents.

You’ll get used to your baby’s healthy color and consistency pretty soon and will dexterously detect when something seems off about your baby’s poop.

Keep in mind that for the first few days, your baby’s meconium will be dark green and tarry. Then it should progress to a more mustard color and seedy consistency if you’re breastfeeding, or it may look like peanut butter if you’re formula feeding.

If you’re taking medicine while breastfeeding, make sure it’s safe to do so by consulting with your pediatrician and asking for any expected changes in your baby’s stool.

If you see baby poop that’s white or gray, bright red, black, runny, mucusy, or pebble-like, call your pediatrician just to be on the safe side!


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What's the color of your baby poop telling you? Find out everything you need to know about your baby's stool color and consistency!