Newborn babies go through an average of 10 diapers per day & you may be spending a significant amount of time looking at their bowel movements.
The color of your little one's poop will probably change quite a bit day-by-day. There's a wide range of normal shades & consistencies, & most variations are normal. Some stool colors might indicate a health problem. Thankfully, our baby poop chart is here to help!
Changing formula frequently can also contribute to or amplify changes in poop & symptoms that your baby experiences.
It is also normal for infants to not have a bowel movement daily. They can go up to 5 days without one. If it has been 5 days or you think your baby seems uncomfortable and you think they need some relief to help pass stool, you can do these things to help:
If the poop looks like black coffee grounds, has large amounts of red blood or clots, or is mucus-y (like someone blew their nose in the diaper). Or if it has been 6 days since the last bowel movement. This is when you should contact your provider.
If the poop looks like any of the ones in the image shown, there is no worry, it is very common and normal and there is no need to contact your doctor.
The first time your baby poops, you'll be confronted with something that looks like sticky, greenish-black tar. Called meconium, it's a mixture of amniotic fluid, bile, and secretions from the intestinal glands. Meconium doesn't smell bad, but it's much harder to clean up than regular poop. You can actually apply a layer of petroleum jelly to your baby's skin to act as a barrier.
Within two to four days of birth, your baby will start having transitional poops—a mixture of meconium and breastfeeding (or formula) stools. They're dark green or brown in color, and they have a sticky consistency (although they're softer than meconium). Transitional poops stick around until your baby is eating well.
By the end of the first week, healthy babies digest food in the usual way. Baby poop is then made up of bile from the liver, which is added to food when it leaves the stomach, along with bacteria and undigested components of milk. If you're breastfeeding, your baby's poop will be bright yellow, watery, sometimes seedy, and lightly yeasty-smelling. It may remind parents of mustard, cottage cheese, or scrambled eggs.
If your baby drinks formula, their poop will become yellow-brown, green-tan, or brown in their first or second week. This poop is thick and firm, similar to peanut butter or toothpaste. It might have a yeasty aroma from the fermentation of sugars in formula, similar to the process that makes bread rise. Newborns who get a combination of breast milk and formula also produce brown or dark yellow baby poop.
When your baby starts eating solid food, a range of healthy bacteria populates their intestines, producing browner and smellier poop. Depending on what your baby ate, it can also be red, orange, green, yellow, or blue. These bowel movements may reveal undigested food chunks, and they tend to be very smelly.
Diarrhea can manifest as yellow, brown, or green baby poop with a loose, watery consistency. It can be caused by food intolerances, antibiotics, and less commonly, viral infections or parasites. Babies with diarrhea are at risk of dehydration, so make sure to monitor them closely.
Also note that mucus in baby poop might resemble diarrhea, and it can also have a yellow, green, or brown color. Mucus occurs in bowel movements from a milk allergy, infection, or excessive swallowing of saliva from teething.
Backed-up infants tend to make dark brown or black baby poop. Constipation is thick and hard, and it resembles small pellets, marbles, or logs. It can happen when fluids and fiber aren't absorbed properly—sometimes from a milk-protein allergy or food intolerance.
Bright green poop is usually a sign that food has moved rapidly through your baby's system, perhaps because of a mild tummy bug, as bright green bile has not had time to be broken down. If your baby has smelly gas along with greenish poop, it could be the result of them drinking too quickly either from the breast or a bottle. Discuss strategies for slowing it down with your pediatrician; once that's taken care of, the poop should return to normal.
Undigested vegetables, as well as iron-rich foods or supplements, can also make your baby's poop appear dark green.
Does your baby have red-tinged poop? It's probably specks or streaks of undigested blood, possibly from a milk allergy, rectal fissure (tear) from constipation, or less commonly, an infection. Red flecks can also appear when your baby swallows nipple blood during breastfeeding, or from dark-red foods and drinks. Call the pediatrician if there are large amounts of blood or clots.
Call the pediatrician for dark red or black baby poop that has the consistency of coffee grounds, since it might indicate gastrointestinal bleeding.
Chalky white or gray baby poop can indicate a liver problem, low bile, or lack of nutrient malabsorption. Contact your pediatrician.