Noticed blood in your baby’s poop? We know—this can be scary. But it’s not always a sign of something serious. Here’s the lowdown.
Seeing blood in your baby’s poop can be alarming.
It’s also surprisingly common.
Sometimes, it can be a sign that something serious is up, so a trip to the doctor is the best idea.
That way, together, you can plot the best way forward.
In this article: 📝
- When should I worry about blood in my baby’s stool?
- What causes blood and mucus in baby stool?
- Is blood in baby poop an emergency?
- Infections that may cause blood in your baby’s poop
When should I worry about blood in my baby’s stool?
We know you’re looking for a direct answer here—but unfortunately, there isn’t one.
Blood in your baby’s poop may be a sign of a temporary issue that can be easily resolved, or it may signal something more serious.
It’s always a good idea to get your little one checked out by the doctor if they have blood in their poop so that you can find out the cause.
If at all possible, try to save some blood as a sample so that your doctor can test it.
What causes blood and mucus in baby stool?
Some possible causes of mucus or blood in their poop are:
As the Seattle Children’s Hospital tells us, the most common cause of blood in poop is anal fissures (or tears).
These are linked to constipation and can happen if your baby passes a hard or large poop.
Constipation can happen for a few different reasons, including when their menu switches up—from breastmilk to formula, for example, or formula to solids.
While anal fissures sound a bit scary, they usually heal completely—and there are ways to help this process along.
Talk to your doctor about the best treatment options.
They may recommend an ointment or soaks.
As for treating constipation, while laxatives are only on the cards when your baby gets a bit older, some home remedies can really help.
A relaxing bath, stomach massage, or moving their legs around a bit can go a long way.
If your baby is over six months and has started on solids, your doctor may recommend adding more liquids and fiber to their diet.
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Sensitivities or allergies to certain foods
An allergy to cow’s milk can be a particular culprit here, leading to something called colitis.
This causes slimy-looking, blood-streaked stools and typically happens when your baby is two months old or less.
If this is the case, switching to a formula that’s cow’s milk free will help.
Some antibiotics can cause blood in your baby’s stool.
If they’re on medication, check in with your doctor as soon as possible to see if you should continue their treatment.
Blood in breastmilk
Again, this may sound alarming, but it’s usually nothing to worry about.
If your baby swallows some blood in your breastmilk, it may come out coloring their poop on the other end.
Cracked nipples, breast engorgement, and mastitis can all be at the heart of it.
And while it’s usually not a sign of a serious medical condition, it’s important that you feel comfortable while breastfeeding.
Speak to your healthcare provider about how they can support you through this.
Also, sometimes it looks like there’s blood in a stool when, in fact, it’s just been colored red by something your baby ate or drank.
Beets are a major culprit, as are foods and drinks that contain food dyes, such as some juices, candies, and baked goods.
Is blood in baby poop an emergency?
If your baby has blood in their poop and shows any of the following symptoms, it’s important to get to the emergency room as soon as possible:
- A high fever
- Appearing to be sick or confused
- Bloody diarrhea
- Swollen stomach
- Pink urine
- Very lethargic or excessively fussy
- Not wanting to feed
Also, if they’ve suffered any sort of physical injury, it’s important to get them to the emergency room as soon as you can.
If their poop appears to be tarry and black, this could be a sign that there is bleeding somewhere in their gastrointestinal tract.
(Note that if the poop is dark green and you have a newborn, it could be a substance called meconium. This is harmless. In fact, it’s wonderful! This is the stuff of their very first poop, and it’s made of what they ingested while still in your womb.)
Infections that may cause blood in your baby’s poop
Some infections can also cause blood in poop.
If your baby has a bacterial infection like salmonella or E.coli, it can cause bloody diarrhea.
One of the biggest dangers here is the risk of dehydration, so your doctor may need to treat them by upping their fluid levels.
If you notice a bright red rash around your baby’s anus, it may be a contagious skin infection caused by the streptococcus group of bacteria.
For this, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics.
Finally, a more serious illness called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) causes tissue in the intestine to get inflamed and die off.
This can lead to a hole forming in the intestines, allowing bacteria to leak into the bloodstream or belly.
NEC is more likely to affect premature babies.
So if your baby was born early and has blood in their poop, it’s particularly important to get to the doctor as soon as possible so they can get treatment.
Having a sick baby is super stressful.
You don’t have to do this alone.
Reach out to your Peanut community.
We’re here to support you through this.