You can tell a lot about you baby’s health by what’s in his or her diaper. It’s normal to see a number of changes in your baby’s stools as he or she grows, drinks breast milk or formula and starts eating solids, but there are cases in which color and consistency may indicate infection. Use this baby poop guide to distinguish natural changes from warning signs that require a visit to the doctor’s office.
Baby Poop Types
The scope of baby poop types considered “normal” depend on your baby’s age and feeding method.
1. Newborn Baby Poop
Your baby’s poop will look drastically different during his or her first few days after birth. Newborns have a greenish-black, tarry, sticky poop that resembles motor oil. This is called meconium and is made up of amniotic fluid, mucus, skin cells and other things ingested into the utero. Two to four days after birth, you should notice “transitional stools” that tend to be green and less tacky than meconium.
2. Breastfed Baby Poop
Breastfed baby poop is considered normal when it’s a mustard yellow, green or brown color. It is typically seedy and pasty in texture and may be runny enough to resemble diarrhea. Healthy breastfed stools will smell sweet (unlike regular bowel-movement odor).
3. Formula Fed Baby Poop
Healthy formula fed baby poop is typically a shade of yellow or brown with a pasty consistency that is peanut butter like. Formula-fed babies also pass fewer, but bigger and more odorous stools than breastfed babies.
4. Partially Digested Food in Baby Poop
Not all food is completely digestible and some foods travel so quickly through the intestines that they don’t break down completely. This can cause chunks of food to appear in your baby’s poop or for it to have a surprising color.
Baby Poop By Color
Don’t fear! Changes in baby poop color are normal. Usually, a different shade just means there is more or less of a pigment picked up during the digestive process.
5. Green Baby Poop
Babies that are given an iron-supplement will often have green baby poop. Green baby poop can also occur at 4 to 6 months when you introduce solid, green foods, such as pureed peas, spinach and beans, into your baby’s diet.
6. Orange, Yellow and Brown Baby Poop
Baby poop that is orange, yellow or brown in color is completely normal in breastfed and bottle fed babies.
7. Black Blood in Baby Poop
Oftentimes, if your baby’s poop has little specks of black blood in it, it means a baby has digested blood while breastfeeding on his or her mother’s cracked and bleeding nipples. Though this does not pose a threat to your baby, it’s a good idea to check with a doctor to make sure the blood is not a symptom of something more serious.
Baby Poop Warning Signs
Call your baby’s doctor right away if you notice any of these warning signs in his or her stools:
8. Runny Baby Poop
A baby’s diarrhea will be green, yellow or brown and runny. It can be an indication of an infection or allergy. If it goes too long without treatment, it may lead to dehydration.
9. Hard, Pebble-like Baby Poop
Your baby may be constipated if his or her poop is hard and looks like pebbles. Babies can become constipated when they are being introduced to solid foods. This could also be a sign of sensitivity to milk or soy, or a lack of tolerance to something in breast milk or formula.
10. Red Blood in Baby Poop
While your baby’s poop can turn red because of something he or she ate or drank, such as tomatoes or fruit punch, red baby poop can be a sign of blood in the stool. Red blood found in normal poop could be a sign of a milk protein allergy, while red blood in diarrhea could mean your baby has a bacterial infection.
11. Mucus in Baby Poop
Seeing slimy, green-colored streaks with glistening strings in your baby’s poop means mucus is present. Although it can happen when your baby is drooling, mucus in baby poop can also be a sign of infection.
12. White Baby Poop
Chalky white baby poop could be a warning sign that your baby is not properly digesting food. A white color may indicate a lack of bile from the liver to digest food.
In the first few years, you will experience a full range of “normal” baby poop types that simply indicate your baby is healthfully growing and changing. When alarming changes occur, however, it’s important to contact your baby’s doctor as soon as symptoms arise.