There are many factors that can serve as indicators of your baby’s health. A classic example is your baby’s poop color. Interestingly, baby poop colors vary consistently in the first year of life, especially as their diet and body changes. Although this is normal, it often raises many questions in the mind of most parents who try to understand these changes. Read on to find out all you need to know about your baby’s poop colors and what they mean.
What Is Baby Poop?
Just like adults, babies need to get rid of waste products from the body. Baby poop just means ‘feces’ from your baby. As gross as this may sound, observing baby poop is super important as it gives you a peek into what goes on in your baby’s body.
Black Baby Poop
In the first few days of life, your baby’s poop is expected to be black with a coal-like consistency. This is called meconium, and it appears as a thick, black stool. Generally, meconium contains dead skin cells, mucus, and bile. Iron supplements or Iron-based formula may also cause your baby’s stool to appear dark or black.
The black baby poop is expected only in the first 72 hours of life, however, if it extends beyond this period, it may indicate a problem with baby’s digestive tract. Usually, black baby poop after 3 months of age may indicate a bleed in the digestive tract. In this case, we recommend calling your pediatrician immediately.
Another important fact about black baby poop (or meconium) is that it does not smell. This is because it is sterile and made up of materials absorbed by your baby during pregnancy.
Yellow Baby Poop
This is the first of the ‘transitional stools’ your baby would pass as his/her digestive tract matures. Generally, this is the most common baby poop color in breastfed babies. In addition, the poop may contain small seedy flecks in it. In formula-fed babies, this poop color appears brighter and firmer. Sometimes, this is a sign of diarrhea, therefore, if your baby’s stool runs too fast for comfort, visit your doctor.
Red Baby Poop
Sometimes, your baby’s stool may appear red or pink as a result of various factors. In some cases, this results from the food or drinks he/she may have consumed. However, it may also be an indicator of an underlying medical problem.
The red baby poop color may result from:
- An intestinal infection
- Blood in the breast milk due to the mother’s cracked or bleeding nipples
- Milk allergy
- A rectal fissure
Just like the color, red baby poop is quite dangerous and should be reported to the pediatrician immediately.
Orange Baby Poop
This may occur in both breastfed and formula-fed babies. The orange color results from various natural pigments in your baby’s digestive tract.
In most cases, this is just harmless and healthy poop.
Brown Baby Poop
Just like the orange baby poop, brown-colored poop is also healthy. As you begin to introduce solids to your baby’s diet, his/her poop would begin to appear thicker and darker. Furthermore, as your baby grows, the poop may begin to appear adult-like, just like the diet.
Green Baby Poop
This is usually indicative of diarrhea. Furthermore, green baby poop may be caused by:
- Dietary changes
- Slow digestion
- Food allergies
- Iron supplements
- Jaundice treatment
For formula-fed babies, the poop may appear as a combination of green and yellow. If green poop also appears watery, it may be a sign of diarrhea in babies.
White Baby Poop
In addition to looking weird, white poop simply means baby is unhealthy. Although this is rare, it may indicate that your child is not producing enough bile in his/her liver. Sometimes, white poop results from milk allergies, stomach infections or certain medications.
Some babies may also have gray poop when digestion doesn’t go as it should. Furthermore, white or gray baby poop may appear chalky with small particles in it.
Irrespective of the cause, you should report white poop to your doctor immediately.
Does Baby Poop Texture Matter?
In fact, it is just as important as the color. A proper understanding of the texture and color of your baby’s poop provides a lot of info on his/her general health status.
To help you on this journey, we’ve compiled a list of baby poop textures and what they mean.
Here we go:
The Thick Poop
For newborns, poop is expected to be thick, dark, and tar-like. This is absolutely normal, as it indicates a fully functional digestive tract. In the first few days of life, this is expected to change to the different transitional stools mentioned above.
Remember to speak to your pediatrician if baby’s poo remains very dark after the first week of life.
As your child matures, and you begin to introduce solid food to his/her diet, the poop would begin to thicken and attain an adult-like texture.
The Seedy Poop
Studies show that breastfed babies tend to have loose stool that contains seed-like particles. This is normal, and it appears as your baby begins to make the gradual shift from breast milk to solid food.
Loose, Watery Poop
Loose, watery poop that is greener than usual may be a symptom of diarrhea in babies. This may appear during breastfeeding, weaning, food intolerance or bacterial infections. On the other hand, formula-fed babies tend to have thicker and firmer poop.
In addition, babies with diarrhea tend to stool more frequently than normal. If you observe this, contact your pediatrician immediately because diarrhea may cause dehydration, which is risky for babies.
The Slimy Poop
In newborns, slimy poop is normal.
Sometimes, an older child’s poop may contain a lot of mucus, making it appear slimy. For children who are teething, this is normal because they tend to swallow excess drool while feeding. However, if your child is not breastfeeding and his/her poop is really slimy, you should speak with your doctor as it may be caused by an infection.
Hard and Dry Poop
Dry or hard poop generally indicates that your child is not getting enough fluids. In this case, we recommend increasing your baby’s fluid intake. If hard baby poops persists, you should also speak with your pediatrician for a proper diagnosis.
As your baby makes the switch from breast milk to solid foods, you may observe that his/her poop attains a firmer consistency. Interestingly, hard poop can be a sign of constipation in babies. Here, you’d find all you need to know about constipation in babies.
A Final Note from Edie & Amy
Every baby (and their poop) is different. Furthermore, the fluctuations are normal. The changes in color, texture and frequency are expected during infancy as your child matures. If you are concerned about anything regarding your baby’s poop, contact your doctor for advice.
Closely monitoring your baby’s poop color and understanding what it means is an effective way to promptly identify potential health problems.
You are not alone.