So your baby’s poop is black. Should you be worried? What could be causing it? And what should you do about it? Here’s everything you need to know.
Having a baby means looking at, dealing with, and talking about poop.
And as all mamas know, baby poop can come in surprising shades and consistencies.
But if your baby’s poop is black, it can be alarming.
So what causes it? And what, if anything, should you do about it?
Let’s dive in. (Don’t worry — not literally.)
In this article: 📝
- Why is my baby’s poop black?
- Why is my child’s poop black? The final word
Why is my baby’s poop black?
Let’s start with the most important question: is black baby poop something to worry about?
The answer depends on a few things:
- The first is how old your baby is.
- The second is your baby’s diet.
- And the third is the appearance and consistency of the poop.
We’ll look at each of those in turn.
Why your baby’s age matters
When newborns first poop, what comes out is a dark, tar-like substance called meconium.
It’s what builds up in their intestines when they’re in your womb — basically a combination of protein, fats, and intestinal fluids like bile.
Meconium can be dark green, brown, or yellow.
And sometimes, it’s so dark it can appear black.
It’s usually passed between 24 and 48 hours after your baby is born. In babies born preterm, it can take a little longer.
But it’s nothing to worry about — in fact, quite the opposite. It means your baby’s intestines are working as they should.
But for older babies or toddlers, black poop will likely have a different cause. It could relate to their diet.
Or it could mean something else is going on.
We’ll take you through the details.
Black poop and diet
If you’re feeding your baby formula fortified with iron, it can lead to blackish-green poop.
It doesn’t mean there’s anything to be concerned about.
It’s just the iron reacting with bacteria in your baby’s intestines and affecting the color of their stools.
Too much iron, though, can be a bad thing.
So if your baby’s poop is black regularly, it’s a good idea to check it out with your doctor.
For toddlers eating solids, black poop can sometimes result from particular foods.
Licorice, Oreo cookies, and grape juice can all result in black stools.
If you know your toddler has been tucking into those, black poop shouldn’t be anything to worry about, particularly if it’s a normal consistency.
Thick or hard black poop
If your little one’s poop is like meconium — dark and tarry — but thicker, it’s important to get them to the doctor.
It could be a sign of bleeding in the digestive tract.
Poop that’s hard and like pebbles is usually a sign of constipation.
Again, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor so they can diagnose the problem and find a solution.
And if your baby’s poop is dark grey, it’s also a reason to get medical help.
It could mean they’re not digesting food as they should, which may result in them not getting the nutrients they need.
It’s particularly important to check in with your healthcare provider if:
- Your baby seems very unwell
- They are displaying other symptoms, or
- Their black poop lasts for more than 24 hours.
Why is my child’s poop black? The final word
In many cases, black poop is nothing to worry about.
But if the poop is an unusual consistency or accompanied by other symptoms, consult a doctor.
And if you’re not sure, check in with a health professional.
They’re there to help, so never worry about asking questions.
You can also touch base with your Peanut community.
We’re talking everything from poop to pregnancy to periods.
You don’t have to do this alone.
All the best, mama.
💩 More from The 411:
Prune Juice for a Baby: Good or Bad Idea?
Do Babies Poop in the Womb?
Newborn Not Pooping But Passing Gas? What to Know
Mucus in Baby Poop: What to Know
A Quick Guide to Teething Poop & Diarrhea
Do Babies Poop in the Womb?