Baby Poop: Everything You Need to Know

févr. 10, 2022 | 3 Minutes Lire

There’s no way around it: new parents will be talking about poop a lot—more than you ever imagined possible! But poop is so much more than a messy obligation to manage until your baby gets potty trained. Your baby’s poop tells a story of what is occurring in the body of your newborn, infant or toddler. Knowing what’s normal—and not so normal—along with understanding the variation can help you know when changes in your wee one’s stool require a visit with your pediatric healthcare provider.

Baby poop comes in various colors, consistencies, and frequencies, and this is considered healthy and normal. Here’s how to decipher what’s going on with your baby’s bowels.

Poop color visual guide

Your newborn baby’s first poops

Meconium is the first poop you will notice in your newborn, and it won’t look like “normal” poop. But it definitely is for a newborn! Meconium is a greenish, sticky, tar-like substance that gradually fills your baby's intestine while they are growing in your uterus. The appearance of meconium following birth is normal and is a good sign that your baby’s bowels are working.

Next is transitional stools. Some 24 hours after giving birth to your child, you will begin to see transitional stools, which are dark greenish-yellow in color—this means most if not all of the meconium has passed. These early poops are loose, and sometimes have a seedy texture, which is more commonly seen in breastfed babies. Within day two to three of your newborn baby’s life, they should have about two transitional poops. By day three to five, you should expect three poops, and their bowel movements will continue on from there.
In those first few poops, you may see traces of mucus and blood due to your baby swallowing some of your blood during birth, especially in baby girls. This could be caused by hormones from the mother. However, if this happens after the first week, save the bloody diaper and call your pediatrician immediately.

Types of baby poop and what they mean

What to expect, depending on food source: Newborns are either formula-fed or breastfed. Here’s what to expect for both where poop is concerned.

Formula-fed babies: Formula-fed babies should have orange or greenish-tan poops, and they might be a little more formed and pasty than a breastfed baby’s poop. Your formula-fed baby will most likely poop once a day, but it could be once every two to three days. If your baby has gone longer than a week without pooping, call your doctor.

Breastfed babies: Breastfed babies have poop that is either yellow or orange. It is often described as mustard-colored and seedy, or not fully formed. It could be pale yellow or orange, or bright. Your baby’s poop should be about the size of a mandarin orange each time, and a little mucus is normal. Breastfed babies have frequent poops throughout the day, usually after they eat. Be sure to change your baby’s diaper as soon as you see the wetness indicator change colors to prevent diaper rash.

No matter how your newborn is fed, you can expect the number of poops to decrease around two months of age or so as they become more efficient poopers.

Colors of baby poop and what they mean

The color of your baby’s poop is a huge indicator of what’s going on in their little tummies. Seeing a different color poop in your baby’s diaper can be alarming, but many of these colors are normal and ever-changing. If anything appears that you think is not normal, call your child’s doctor and save the dirty diaper.

Colors of poop
The color of your child’s poop can tell you a lot about what’s going on in their body.

Yellow, green, orange, brown or tan: Congrats, your baby is pooping normally! Each time your baby poops it might be a different shade of one of these colors. Your baby’s digestive system is still maturing, so expect a lot of variety.

Thick and brown: As your baby's diet changes with the introduction of solid food, their poop will become soft and mushy. It is considered normal.

Dry, hard and brown: This color bowel movement may be a sign of constipation. Please be sure to contact your baby’s healthcare provider for an official diagnosis and care plan.

Thick and yellow: Formula-fed babies will have this color poop with a soft butter-like consistency. The odor may smell like regular poop but not as strong.

Dark green: If your baby is taking iron supplements—and many do—their poop might be dark green. If your baby is at a solid-feeding stage and is having dark green poops, you most likely introduced a dark green food to them. If your baby’s poop has green streaks with mucus, that could also be a sign of an infection.

Bright green: This color poop with a frothy consistency in breastfed newborns may indicate your baby is changing between breasts too often and getting less of the fatty hindmilk (creamier and more calorie-rich). You may want to consider feeding more frequently and ensuring one breast is fully empty before offering the other breast.

Orange: This color poop may be directly related to something your baby has eaten. Fruits and vegetables with beta carotene such as sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, and oranges may turn your babies poop orange.

Medication (e.g., some antibiotics and antacids) may also cause your baby's poop to be this color.

Warning colors of baby poop and what they mean

Some colors could spell an infection. Check with your baby’s healthcare provider if you see any of these colors.

Watery and yellow: Watery poop that lasts more than a day may signify an infection. Please be sure to reach out to your baby’s healthcare provider immediately.

Watery and green: If your baby’s poop is watery and green, it may likely indicate that your baby has diarrhea, especially if greener than usually in color. Make sure to change diapers often to prevent the development of a diaper rash.

Additionally, it is essential to ensure your baby remains hydrated. Liquid electrolytes may be helpful during this time. Please get in touch with your baby’s healthcare provider for proper dosing.

If watery green poop lasts greater than 24 hours, please be sure to contact your baby’s healthcare provider for an official diagnosis and plan of care.

Red: Red is a concerning color for baby poop for a newborn. Your child’s poop might be red from introducing a red-colored food like beets once they reach solids, but red before solid feeding should immediately result in a call to your pediatrician, as it could be blood. Red poop can also indicate a milk protein allergy.

Black: If you have a newborn, their first poop might be meconium, which is black in color. This is normal. Meconium is a substance that gradually fills in your baby's intestines while in your uterus. It is normal and usually passes within one to two days of life.

If thick, black poop occurs when your baby is more than 3 days old, it could indicate bleeding in the digestive tract. This is dangerous, and you should contact your baby’s healthcare provider immediately.

Note: iron supplements or iron-fortified formula may sometimes cause stool to turn dark brown or black. In this case, it would be considered normal. Always check with your healthcare provider to ensure it is normal for your baby.

White or gray: If your child is experiencing white poops that are often described as chalky in texture, call your pediatrician immediately, as it can be a sign of a liver problem. Gray poop signifies there might be a digestive concern.

Constipation and diarrhea

It’s very rare for newborns to actually be constipated—oftentimes, they strain to poop because they’re new to the action. Most constipation happens in older infants who are starting to eat solid foods. But constipation can occur in newborns. Signs to look out for include:
  • Infrequent bowel movements
  • Crying, straining or arching their back while trying to poop
  • Hard, pellet-like poop
  • A heavily swollen or bloated belly
  • Any change in bowel movement frequency

You can try bicycling your baby’s legs or doing a light infant massage around your baby’s tummy to help them get things going. More intense therapies such as suppositories should be discussed with your pediatrician.

Diarrhea in newborns can be caused by a few things, such as:
  • A change in the mother’s diet
  • A virus or bacterial infection
  • Use of antibiotics

If you suspect your baby has diarrhea (and not just typical breastfed newborn seedy poop), you’ll need to take action to prevent dehydration by feeding your baby more often. If it lasts more than a few days, call your pediatrician for help.

Using the right diapers and wipes

The diapers and wipes you use will go a long way in helping your baby stay comfortable while they learn to poop—in fact, Huggies® relies directly on science to create its diapers, using it to inform everything from its breathable outer covers to absorbent cores. The same applies to Huggies® wipes too. The same applies to Huggies® wipes, which are plant-based* and pH-balanced. Additionally, a triple purified water-based solution is used to create them.

*70%+ by weight

Huggies® Skin Essentials™ and Huggies® Little Snugglers are diapers specially made with newborns and newborn sensitive skin in mind. The wetness indicator on diapers can help alert parents to a need for a diaper change, reducing irritation and helping keep your baby comfortable.

Make sure your baby is also in the right diaper size to help prevent blowouts. Look for fragrance-free and alcohol-free wipes to help prevent diaper rash, especially when your newborn is pooping many times a day.

When to call your doctor

If your baby’s poop hasn’t undergone any changes in the first few days, if they’re not pooping enough or if the poop is one of the warning colors, call your child’s pediatrician.

Poop color visual guide

The information contained on this article should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your health care professional.

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