When you have a baby, there’s no way to avoid it. You’re going to be dealing with baby poop. If you aren’t sure what’s in store for you or where to begin, we’re here to help you figure it all out. Here’s the scoop on infant poop.
You never expected poop would become such a fascinating and ever-present topic of conversation. If you’ve wondered why new parents suddenly spend their moments discussing diaper activity, here’s why—an infant’s poop can give you some great information.
It may not be the baby encyclopedia you’ve been dreaming of. Before rushing through the next diaper change, you should know what the different textures and colors of baby poop can mean.
Your baby’s poop will change, depending on their age and their diet. Here are some of the most common types of infant poop.
Meconium is your baby’s first poop. It consists of all of that your baby has ingested during the course of your pregnancy. What your child’s been munching on aren’t delicious nutrients, but rather whatever they’ve had access to while in utero.
This poop is thick and tar-like. It’s usually very dark—a black-green color. Sometimes this meconium is present at delivery (called terminal meconium). This may indicate that your baby has been in distress during labor. While there are many times where terminal meconium is not problematic, it can sometimes be aspirated, which is dangerous.
This meconium poop will linger for the first few days of life. It will slowly transition to a less thick poop as the baby becomes hydrated with milk or formula. The color and texture of this poop will change, depending on if your baby is breastfed or formula fed.
Excessive watery poops may be a sign of food intolerance or allergy. If you’re nursing, you may want to consider keeping a food journal or altering your diet. If your baby is formula fed, another formula may be a better fit for their digestive tract.
If your child is a little older, diarrhea can be a sign of teething or an illness. If your baby is less than 3 months old and has diarrhea, a pediatrician visit may be warranted. The same is true if your child is running a temperature.
Mucousy poop can accompany a cold and post nasal drip. It can also accompany teething. Alternately, stringy poop may just be a reflection of the kinds of foods your child is eating. If it’s ongoing, though, you should discuss it with your pediatrician.
A frothy poop can let you know your breastfed baby isn’t getting to the good stuff when it comes to nursing sessions. Foamy poops can be a result of getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk.
The foremilk is the first milk your baby gets during a feeding session. The nutrient-rich hindmilk comes later. If your baby is getting too much of the foremilk, you can try a quick pump before nursing. This will help ensure your baby is getting the nutrients they need from the hindmilk.
If your baby is formula fed, foamy poop may indicate an infection. Go ahead and touch base with your pediatrician to see if there’s anything you need to be concerned about.
If your baby’s poops are small, hard, marble-like poops that more closely resemble rabbit excrement than human, your little one may be constipated. Your baby may just be dehydrated, so try upping their fluid intake first. You may want to introduce some water or watered down juice, to encourage the gut function.
Constipation can be highly uncomfortable for your baby. Straining and small poops will frequently be accompanied by abdominal distress and crying. Don’t be afraid to have your baby checked out if constipation doesn’t resolve within 24 hours. While it may be nothing to worry about, your doctor can likely help make your child more comfortable.
The consistency of poop will tell you quite a bit about your child’s health and diet. The color of baby poop can give you additional information.
This is the ideal poop for a breastfed baby. It may even be “seedy” looking. If your baby is nursing well and producing plenty of mustard-colored poop, you’re on the right track.
If your child is formula fed, healthy poop may be thicker and darker than a breastfed baby’s. Formula milk usually has iron added in and this may make poop darker and more green than a breastfed baby’s.
Bright green baby poop may accompany frothy poop and be a result of your baby not receiving enough hindmilk. If the poop is consistently this color and texture, talk to your pediatrician about changes you can make to feeding routines.
Your baby may have bright yellow poop if they’re nursing and you’re eating certain foods. Bright yellow poop could also be a result of certain medications. If you’re nursing, these might be medications you’re taking.
Orange baby poop doesn’t usually indicate there’s something to be concerned about. It’s frequently a result of a breastfeeding mom’s diet. Some medications may be responsible for orange poop as well.
Red baby poop can be no big deal at all. It can also be a pretty big deal, though, so you’ll need to really evaluate any red poop you come across in a diet.
A small amount of red or red flakes in a diaper can indicate your baby was straining to have a bowel movement. Red may also be present if your nipples have been cracked or bleeding and your baby has accidentally consumed some while nursing.
If there is a significant amount of blood in your baby’s diaper though, you’ll want to talk with your pediatrician. This can indicate an inflamed bowel and may be the result of an allergy or intolerance.
In addition to this possibility, red in the stool may mean there’s an infection, injury, or other significant medical concern. This isn’t something to sit on—make an appointment to see your pediatrician to get your baby’s gut and bowel back in order.
If your baby is at least three days old and still has black stools, you may want to have them evaluated by a pediatrician. This can indicate your baby is struggling to absorb needed nutrients.
Black poop may accompany a diet that involves an iron-supplement or iron-infused formula. If this is the case, black stools can be quite normal. If, however, your child isn’t exposed to extra iron, this can be a sign of internal bleeding. If that’s the case, make an appointment with your doctor.
Grey poop could be a result of certain foods in a child’s diet. If your baby’s not on solids yet, though, it can indicate a problem with the gallbladder or the liver. Make an appointment with your doctor to have the problem evaluated.
Chalky, white baby poop may be indicative of a serious liver malfunction. Make an appointment with your doctor to determine the appropriate course of action.
Baby poop might not seem like an exciting topic of conversation, but it certainly can be informative. Remember that it’s normal for breastfed babies to go a few days in between bowel movements.
Your body becomes efficient at providing just what your baby needs and results in less waste. So go ahead and count those dirty and wet diapers—and keep tabs on your baby’s health.
Cristin is a co-founder of Smart Parent Advice, and the loving mother of two wonderful children. In her free time, she can often be found in a yoga studio or catching up on her favorite shows.