Baby Poop Color Guide
In the same way that poop can be used to indicate the health of an adult, baby poop is also an indicator of your baby’s health. Generally, a baby will go through a variety of poop colors most especially in the first year of life since their diet keeps on changing.
You should know that what’s normal for adult poop does not apply to baby poop, including the color and texture. The poop of newborns is almost black, while other infants tend to have yellow-mustard or brown poop.
Breastfeeding or formula-feeding is also something that can influence the color of a baby’s stools.
Poop of a breastfed baby
Breastfed baby poop is considered normal when it’s a mustard yellow, green, or brown color. It is usually seedy and pasty in texture and can be runny enough to resemble diarrhea.
Breastfed babies have frequent bowel movements, therefore expect at least three bowel movements each day for the first 6 weeks.
Poop of a formula-fed baby
Formula-fed babies have less runny stools that are a little bit firmer than a breastfed baby’s and often have similar color and texture to peanut butter.
Healthy breastfed baby poop will not smell like formula-fed baby poop. And a formula-fed poop is a little less pungent than poop from babies who are eating solid food, whose smell you will recognize.
Formula-fed babies also pass fewer, but bigger and more odorous stools than breastfed babies.
Solid food poop
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should begin introducing your little baby to solid foods around six months of age. Once you do that, you’ll notice how the poop changes. It will become browner, thicker, and smellier.
Red or white poop can indicate health problems. In case you suspect any unusual condition, you should consult your pediatrician. Keep reading to learn what the color of your baby’s bowel movement means, to find out what is normal, and what might warrant a call to your pediatrician.
The most common baby poop colors include:
Black baby poop
Black poop is seen in breastfed and formula-fed newborns. In the first few days of life, this is expected but it is not normal in the later stages of infancy. It is normal for a newborn’s first stool to be black with a tar-like consistency. It is called meconium and consists of mucus, skin cells, and amniotic fluid.
The very first stool your baby passes doesn’t smell bad, that is because the meconium is sterile. Until the intestines are colonized with bacteria, there is nothing to make poop stinky.
The meconium should last only for a few days, so after the third or fourth day of your newborn’s life, you’ll start to see what’s known as transitional stools, which is a sign that your baby is starting to digest breastmilk of formula and transitioning to normal newborn baby poop. These stools are lighter in color, more of yellow-mustard-brown color.
Mustard yellow baby poop
Mustard yellow poop is seen in breastfed babies. This color of poop is quite normal. The poop becomes mustard yellow after meconium has passed.
Bright yellow baby poop
Breastfed and formula-fed babies will have bright yellow poop at times. However, if it is more frequent than usual and is very runny, it could be diarrhea. A newborn with diarrhea is at risk of dehydration.
Orange baby poop
Babies usually have orange poop because of pigments picked up in their digestive tract. Both formula fed and breastfed babies can have orange poop.
Red baby poop
When a baby’s poop turns red or dark red, it is usually because they have taken dark red foods and drinks like tomato juice and beets. However, red poop could also mean that there is blood in your baby’s bowel movements from an intestinal infection that should be immediately addressed by a pediatrician.
Sometimes, red poop can also occur from milk allergies or from an anal fissure. When your baby has red stool, it is good that you call your pediatrician. If your baby has recently eaten red food, you can wait to see if the next stool returns to its normal color before calling the pediatrician.
Greenish tan baby poop
Greenish tan poop is common in formula-fed babies and it is usually firmer than that of a breastfed baby.
Dark green baby poop
This color of poop is common in babies who are just starting on solid foods that are green in color. Such foods are like spinach and peas. If your baby uses iron supplements, then their poop will also be green in color.
White baby poop
White poop is a bad sign. It usually indicates that your baby is not producing enough bile in their liver to help them with proper food digestion. Such digestion problems are fatal for babies and should be immediately addressed by a pediatrician.
Gray baby poop
Gray poop is also a bad sign like white poop. It usually means that your baby is not digesting food as he/she should. When your baby has gray poop or a chalky consistency, it is time to call the pediatrician.
Baby poop color warning signs
If you notice your baby has poops that look like the ones described below, then make sure to contact your pediatrician immediately.
- Hard, pebble-like baby poop – this might indicate that your baby has constipation. Pebble poop bowel movements can signal your baby’s stool is very dry, and it’s difficult to pass.
- Red blood in baby poop – when a baby poops, hemorrhoids may bleed, causing red streaks of blood in the baby’s stool. If the blood originates further up the GI tract, then the blood is generally darker in color and mixed throughout the stool instead of just on the outside. In this case, you should take your baby to a doctor for a diagnosis.
- Mucus is baby poop – a bacterial or viral infection, such as stomach flu, can irritate the intestines and lead to inflammation. The result is increased mucus in the baby’s poop. Additional symptoms that could indicate infection include fever and irritability. In this case, you must call your doctor to get proper medical treatment.
- White baby poop – if your baby has white, chalky grey, or pale yellow stools, you must contact your pediatrician right away. This can indicate that your baby isn’t producing enough bile in their liver to help them digest food properly.
- Diarrhea – an occasional loose poop is not usually a problem. However, if you notice two or more watery bowel movements, your baby may have diarrhea. If your baby is still a newborn, you should call your doctor right away.
Your baby’s poop can say a lot about how they are feeling. You need to pay attention as you change their diapers.
Babies often go a long time between bowel movements. Most of the time, it is normal for a baby to go days or even more than a week without a bowel movement. But you should know that constipation in babies isn’t just about how often your baby poops. It also how tough it is for them to do it. Here are a few natural ways to help your baby with constipation.
Natural ways to help your baby with constipation
- Gently move your baby’s legs in a cycling motion – this may help stimulate their bowels.
- Give your baby a warm bath that can help the muscles relax.
- Gently massage your baby’s tummy.
- If you’re formula-feeding your baby, try a different brand of formula.
- If your baby is eating solid foods, try to add some that are higher in fiber.
In severe cases, you should consult your pediatrician.