We’re talking all things baby poop with the expert, Dr. Shruti Nathwani, renowned as The Children’s Medic.
Getting up close and personal with baby poop isn’t exactly one of the aspects of mamahood that you dream about.
It’s not up there with cuddles, lullabies, and the very first smile.
But having a good look at the contents of those diapers can really help you keep on top of your baby’s health.
Yep, we’re talking color, consistency, smell – it’s all important.
As Dr. Shruti says, “The contents of a newborn nappy can provide you with an abundance of information if you know how to decode it!”.
So let’s do this!
In this article: 📝
- What is normal in baby poop?
- How many times should a baby poop?
- When should I worry about baby poop?
- What poop is not normal for babies?
- Baby poop FAQs
- Baby poop: The final scoop
What is normal in baby poop?
First of all, baby poop comes in as many different varieties as there are babies.
So if a friend tells you their baby is producing five greenish-yellow baby poops per day and yours is only making three yellow-orange colored ones, don’t panic!
The key is to learn what’s normal for your baby’s poop, so you can spot when there’s a change and work out what’s causing it.
What should my baby’s poop look like?
If you look at a baby poop color chart, you’ll see a whole spectrum of spectacular shades.
We’ll take a look at the unusual baby poop colors (that may indicate a problem) below.
Essentially, the “earth tones” on the baby poop chart are what we want.
Yellow, orange, tan, greenish – all are usually normal and a sign that your baby’s digestion is ticking over nicely.
But if you see a different color of baby poop, these are also normal for different stages in your baby’s development, and also depend on what you’re feeding them.
Let’s take a look at how baby poop can change over time.
The very first poop your baby makes has a special name, meconium (helping you celebrate the beginning of your diaper-changing marathon – yay!).
We asked Dr. Shruti for the low-down on meconium, including when do newborns stop pooping meconium:
“Don’t be alarmed when you see your baby’s first stool.
The appearance will be one that you won’t forget but be prepared for multiple changes.
Your baby’s first stool, called meconium, is sticky, greenish-black, and can either be passed during labor or within the first 24 hours.
The first stool might appear offensive but it does not have an offensive odor.
If your baby has not passed meconium within 24 hours of being born please get emergency medical attention for your baby.”
Essentially, baby’s first poop is made up of everything your baby swallowed while they were in your uterus: amniotic fluid, mucus, skin cells, lanugo, and more.
In the first 24 hours of their life, your baby should pass most of this black baby poop and then the more “regular” poops will start.
Newborn poop: First days after birth
You might see a baby poop transition phase as their little body finishes passing the meconium.
According to Dr. Shruti:
“The stool then changes to a runny, odorless, yellow/mustard if breastfed and a more solid, smelly, lighter brown if formula-fed.
A formula-fed baby’s stool consistency might appear to be paste-like and a breastfed baby’s stool can appear seedy, with a scrambled egg-type consistency.
If you switch from breastmilk to formula milk, you will notice the stool become thicker in consistency and slightly darker.”
So a glance into the diaper may reveal wetter, yellow-green baby poop, sometimes mixed in with some mucus that your baby swallowed during delivery.
If you’re ever concerned about blood in baby poop, do consult your healthcare provider.
Baby poop up to 6 months
For the first 6 months, your baby tends to be on an all-milk diet.
So what kind of baby poop does this create?
Well, it’s slightly different depending on whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding.
- Breastfed baby poop: Mustard-yellow, quite runny or curd-like, and sometimes with tiny seed-shaped whitish fat particles.
- Formula-fed baby poop: Dark yellow or tan to brownish-green baby poop, and firmer than breastfed baby poop (something like peanut butter – it shouldn’t be firmer than that).
A note on formula-fed baby poop from Dr. Shruti:
“Some formula milk, including iron-fortified milk, can cause stool to appear green.
Iron is an essential nutrient and component in formula milk and as long as your baby seems happy and well it can be continued.
Breastfed babies can also pass the odd green stool which should not be concerning if they are well overall.”
Baby poop in the weaning stage
Baby poop after starting solids is where it gets smelly.
It will start to get firmer and closer in appearance to adult poop over time.
The color of baby’s poop will vary a lot more, based on what they’ve been eating.
For example, tomatoes might give a reddish hue or broccoli a greenish tone.
You might also see some bits of undigested food in their baby poop, such as the skins of veggies.
That’s because your baby’s digestive system is still getting used to processing these new substances.
So why is baby poop after starting solids so stinky?
The extra fats and sugars in their diet lead to a more powerful aroma at diaper-changing time.
How many times should a baby poop?
Want to know just how many dirty diapers you’ll have on your hands during those first few months?
Well, once again, how often your baby poops depends on what they’re being fed.
- Breastfed babies: Breastfed baby poop is more frequent than formula-fed. Think 2–5 (or more) stools per day for the first 6 weeks. After that, you might see fewer baby poops as their body processes the breast milk very efficiently. You may even see a gap of several days.
- Formula-fed babies: Formula-fed baby poops tend to make an appearance 1–4 times per day, but it’s normal for them to go a day or two without pooping (as long as the stools are soft when they do appear).
But remember: there’s a huge amount of variation here.
Your baby may poop more or less than is “average” and still be perfectly healthy.
We asked Dr. Shruti how often should babies poop:
“In the first few days of life, your baby might pass one or more stools per day.
This will increase to around 2 stools per day and will continue for the first few weeks of life.
Breastfed babies pass stool more frequently than formula-fed babies and can even pass a stool after each feed.
After around 6 weeks of age, a breastfed baby’s stool frequency can change to 1 stool every few days or even 1 stool a week.
Some breastfed babies will continue to pass a stool after each feed.
There are variations in the number of stool each individual baby passes so how do you know if your baby is passing enough stool?
If your baby is feeding well, gaining weight, and seems well overall, then you’re on the right track!”
Again, everything changes once solid food is introduced, and you may start to see only one baby poop per day or every couple of days.
How many times should a baby poop in a day?
- From birth to a few days old: 1-2 baby poops per day.
- From a few days old to 6 weeks: 2-3 baby poops per day.
- From 6 weeks old to weaning: Can range from a poop after each feed to 1 baby poop per week.
- After solid food is introduced: 1 baby poop per day or every couple of days.
Why is my baby pooping a lot?
It depends what you mean by baby pooping a lot.
If they’ve just been born, it can be hard to tell what ‘pooping a lot’ is for your baby.
But if they’re practically a veteran at pooping, then you’ll likely know their baby poop schedule a bit more.
One thing to note about baby’s digestive system is that they are sensitive.
If you’re weaning baby, or introducing new foods (particularly foods with allergens, like wheat or milk), that can cause them to poop more often.
If you’re concerned, pay a visit to your healthcare provider.
When should I worry about baby poop?
So when can baby poop indicate that your little one is under the weather?
Let’s take a look at some of the signs:
Frequent and watery
Baby poop that’s coming more often than usual, and is extra watery and bright yellow in color, could be a sign of diarrhea.
Check in with your pediatrician, particularly if your baby: is under 3 months old, has a high temperature, or is showing signs of dehydration (sunken eyes, dry lips).
If your baby is pooping less frequently than normal, the stools seem unusually firm, or your baby is showing signs of distress when they poop, they could be constipated.
If baby has smelly gas but no poop, then they’re also likely to be constipated.
See your doc for advice on how to safely treat this.
An unusual color
The color of baby poop is a great indicator of baby’s health, so keep an eye on what’s going on in their diaper.
Here’s a breakdown of different baby poop colors and what they could mean:
- Red: Red baby poop could just be those tomatoes for dinner but if you suspect the red hue is caused by blood, it’s important to consult your doctor.
- Orange: Orange baby poop can be caused by eating orange foods, like carrots, tangerines, and apricots.
- Black: Black baby poop that’s also thick and tar-like is known as melena (different from meconium), and could be a sign of bleeding in the digestive tract. See your doc straight away.
- White or gray: White baby poop, or gray baby poop is pretty rare, but if you notice it, definitely visit your doctor as soon as possible, as it could be an indicator of a liver condition.
Mucus in baby poop can be normal if the baby is a newborn, or if they are teething and swallowing their own drool.
If you keep finding mucus in your baby’s diaper and they’re not newborn or teething, see your doc.
What poop is not normal for babies?
Dr. Shruti suggests:
“The following warrant a timely review of your newborn baby by a medical professional:
- Blood in stool
- Chalky white stool
- Green black stool (after day 3 of life) and not on iron supplements
- Green mucus-stained stool > 2 consecutive days
- Constipation (dry hard pellets) + pain
- No stool passed > 7-10 days or earlier if baby appears unwell
If you are worried about your newborn’s stool, don’t hesitate to take a picture and show it to your healthcare professional.
A visual aid can be very helpful alongside a detailed history and examination of your child.”
Baby poop FAQs
Still have more questions about baby poop?
Ah, the joys of motherhood… Well, we’ve got you covered, mama!
What does baby poop look like with milk allergy?
If you suspect a milk allergy, mucus in baby poop can be a pretty good indicator.
Baby poop that’s loose and watery, or even frothy baby poop can also be signs of lactose intolerance.
Keep a note of what you’re feeding baby, take a snap of the baby poop, and show it to your doctor (tell them what you’re doing first, no one likes unprompted pictures of baby poop).
Is it OK if baby poop after every feeding?
Yes, that’s absolutely fine ‒ it’s totally normal for baby to poop after each feed.
Why is my baby pooping yellow so much?
Yellow baby poop is also pretty normal in formula-fed and breastfed babies, but if you notice an increase in frequency and runnier baby poop than usual, pop in to see your doctor.
Why do breastfed babies poop more?
If you’ve had a formula-fed baby and another who’s breastfed, you might notice that breastfed baby poop is a more common occurrence.
This is because of one of the key ingredients to your homemade breastmilk ‒ immunoglobins, which can act as a sort of laxative.
Why is my baby’s poo green?
Green baby poop is pretty common in breastfed babies, as your breasts start to produce more mature milk.
If baby’s eating solid foods, it can also be due to the foods they’re eating ‒ greener foods can cause green baby poop.
What does diarrhea look like in babies?
Baby diarrhea essentially looks runnier than normal baby poop, and can be yellow, brown, or green in color.
If your baby has diarrhea, it’s worth checking in with your doctor.
Baby poop: The final scoop
Try not to worry too much about every tiny change in your little one’s baby poop.
As long as everything is in the normal range for them, and they seem happy and comfortable, you can relax.
And remember, if your baby does ever get a little constipated or has a dose of diarrhea – it’s not your fault.
Even babies with super-healthy diets get digestive upsets now and again.
But if you’re at all concerned, ask your doctor. Not keen on leaving the house with a sick baby? Try a telehealth pedatric platform, like Blueberry Pediatrics, so you can get the care your little one needs without leaving the house.
Mama, you are truly the queen of diaper-changing. (But bring on potty training!)
Special thanks to Dr. Shruti Nathwani for fact-checking this article.
Are you an expert in your field? Tap here to apply to share your knowledge with our community.