We’ve talked about how to poop when it comes to adults—and what your poop says about your health. But what about newborn baby poop?
To understand what’s going on with your baby’s poop, we’ll talk about color, texture, and frequency.
Before we start – a special gift for you
We cover a ton of information in this post, but I’ve distilled it down to a handy little cheat sheet. Click here to get it for free!
Baby Poop Color Chart
Similar to adults, your baby’s poop color, form, and texture is a great way to understand what’s going on in his or her digestive tract from top to bottom.
This dark, tarry poop is called meconium. It consists of amniotic fluid, secretions of the intestinal glands, bile pigments, fatty acids, and intrauterine debris. Here’s more information on green poop.
If you are exclusively breastfeeding, and your baby’s poop is bright or mustard yellow (and sometimes a slight orangish), congratulations, your baby poop is normal.
If your baby is on formula, and their baby poop is tan and slightly solid (think a thin peanut sauce), then it’s normal.
This baby poop color usually means there is some digestive distress. One reason for green poop is a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. That means baby is not getting enough of the rich creamy milk at the end of a feed and, consequently, getting too much of the liquidy foremilk that is higher in lactose and lower in fat. This usually happens if you have a fast letdown or oversupply. In most cases, it eventually normalizes. Making sure baby finishes one side before offering the other can help fix this problem.
Another reason for a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance is if baby has a bad latch. If so, baby may have a hard time getting the thick creamy hindmilk out of your breast. See a lactation consultant if you think this may be the case.
Lime Green poop can also be a sign of a stomach bug. If this is the case, baby’s poop may be frothy and/or mucusy as well.
Another possible reason that your breastfed baby’s poop is green is sensitivity to something you are eating (most likely dairy). An elimination diet is the best way to deal with this problem.
Finally, if baby has recently eaten spinach or kale, this is most likely the cause of his green poop.
Keep in mind, just one or two diapers with green poop isn’t a big deal. If your baby continues to pass green poop day after day, it’s worth investigating.
Dark green poop is a normal variation of poop from a baby who is taking an iron supplement. It can also be due to the transition from meconium to regular fecal matter.
Baby poop will start to turn brown as he/she begins to eat more and more solids.
Boring, but totally normal and ideal.
Chalky white or gray poop can be a sign that baby is not digesting properly and that his liver is not producing enough bile. Call your pediatrician right away.
Red poop isn’t necessarily something serious. For example, this can happen after eating beets.
If baby’s poop is otherwise normal but contains flecks of red, it’s most likely caused by a dairy allergy. Eliminate dairy and see if it improves, though note it may take a few weeks to full leave baby’s system. Of course, check with the doctor as well.
If baby’s poop is hard and dry (a sign of constipation) and contains red streaks, it’s likely caused by small tears in the skin created by straining to poop.
If baby’s poop is thin and watery and has red streaks or her poop is a raspberry color that looks like congealed fat, it may signal a bacterial infection. Call your pediatrician right away.
After the first few days of meconium, a tarry black poop could signal bleeding. Call your pediatrician right away.
However, if baby is breastfeeding and you have cracked and bleeding nipples, you may find little black flecks in baby’s otherwise normal poop. It’s a result of baby digesting a bit of your blood and isn’t harmful.
Baby Poop: Texture
The texture of your baby or infant’s poop can say a lot about his/her health and wellness.
Breastfed Baby Poop
A breastfed baby’s normal poop will be loose and, at times, grainy or seedy. Those little “seeds” are undigested milk fat—totally normal.
Formula fed baby poop
A formula fed baby’s normal poop will be thicker than a breastfed baby’s, having the consistency of toothpaste or hummus.
Baby on solid food poop
When baby starts eating solids, her poop’s texture will start to firm up but will still be mushy (like a glob of peanut butter) until she stops nursing.
Undigested food in baby’s poo
Baby poop with bits of undigested food in it is considered normal. However, if baby consistently has trouble digesting a certain food, you may want to hold back on offering it until baby is older.
Or, look into the best infant probiotics to help support your baby’s digestion and assimilation. (Click here to see my review of the best infant probiotics on the market.)
Also, if baby eats a lot of one kind of food (and it ends up in the diaper), you may want to restrict the amount he eats at one time. Remember, if it’s coming out whole, he isn’t getting any nutrition from it anyway.
Hard, dry baby stool
If your baby is having hard, dry poops (like rabbit droppings) that are hard to pass, he or she is probably constipated.
Breastfed babies don’t typically get constipated, since breastmilk has the perfect balance of fat and protein. If baby is formula fed and not eating solids yet, you should talk to your pediatrician—they may suggest switching formulas. (Here are some healthy formulas!)
Beginning solids may bring on constipation. Don’t introduce solids until at least 6 months, and make baby is showing signs of readiness before you do. Baby’s digestive tract needs time to adjust to what he’s eating. Back off on the solid foods and breastfeed on demand.
Baby or newborn diarrhea
Alternately, if baby is suddenly passing especially loose stools, you may be looking at diarrhea. This may be caused by a viral infection like RSV. Call your pediatrician, who can run tests to rule out bacterial infection.
If baby is already eating solids, put him on a BRAB diet (a variation of the BRAT diet):
- Apples/apple sauce
Bananas, rice, and apples have qualities like tannins that can help firm up stool; breastmilk is great at balancing your baby’s diet and healing the gut.
You can also look into infant probiotics, which can normalize baby’s stool.
Frothy or mucousy baby poop
Baby poop that is frothy or especially mucousy can signify that something isn’t quite right. It could be the foremilk/hindmilk imbalance that we talked about earlier, or it could be a bacterial infection.
On the other hand, sometimes mucousy poop is just the product of a teething baby who is drooling more (and swallowing that drool). If you are concerned, or baby is showing signs of illness, talk to your pediatrician.
Red or bloody baby or newborn poop
Blood in baby stool is a scary sight to see. But, do remember that red baby poop could be caused by something she ate like beets or tomatoes.
If their diet is only breastmilk or they haven’t had red foods lately, you’ll definitely want to call your baby’s doctor. We talked about other reasons for red poop above (from dairy allergy to constipation), but it’s always best to talk to your healthcare provider.
Baby Poop: Frequency
How often should breastfed babies poop?
If baby isn’t uncomfortable or fussy, there’s probably nothing to worry about.
Your breastfed baby should have four or more good sized poops a day for the first 6-8 weeks. After two months of age, anything from daily poops to once a week poops is considered normal. This is because breastmilk is so well absorbed and there’s very little waste leftover.
Having said that, I was always grateful that my babies went daily!
How often should formula fed babies poop?
Because formula is denser and less absorbable than breastmilk, a formula fed baby’s range of normal is 1-4 times a day.
And keep in mind that frequency isn’t a sign of constipation, texture is.
Newborn Baby Poop Smell…
Breastfed baby poop typically smells sweet.
Some mom’s have noticed that baby’s poop has a slightly vinegary smell that occurs just before a tooth pops through. I think it smells like yogurt!
Formula fed baby poop tends to smell stronger.
Foul-smelling poop could be a sign that something isn’t quite right, but usually it’s just a sign that baby has started eating solids (lucky you!).
Again, if the smell is extremely foul, consider doing a stool test to rule out any other potential issues.
Get my baby poop cheat sheet PDF (includes pictures)
Don’t forget to download my exclusive baby poop pdf one pager below!
How About You?
Where does your baby fall on the poop spectrum? What surprised you most about your baby’s poo?