Baby poop changes all the time: it comes in all sizes, colors, consistencies, and smells! It’s so different from our own that we are often left wondering what’s normal and what’s not! That’s why we’re breaking down baby poop – so you’ll know what’s typical versus what warrants a call to your pediatrician.
Breaking Down: Baby Poop
Written by: Jessica Diamond, MPH, RDN
Baby poop changes all the time: it comes in all sizes, colors, consistencies, and smells! Baby poop changes over time because it is influenced by their diet and yourdiet (if breastfeeding). It’s so different from our own that we are often left wondering what’s normal and what’s not! That’s why we’re breaking down baby poop in this article – so you’ll know what’s typical versus what warrants a call to your pediatrician.
The Many Colors of Poop: What Each Means
Dark Greenish Black: Otherwise known as meconium, this dark poop is how every newborn starts! As they begin to feed and poop regularly, their meconium will be replaced with green and then yellow-colored poop.
Green: After they’ve eliminated all the meconium, your newborn’s poop will be green before turning a yellow-tan color. This transition usually happens within 3-5 days.
Yellow Mustard Seed: This is the most common type of poop in breastfed babies. It’s usually watery and seedy (like little mustard seeds) and smells sweet.
Darker Tan: This is common for formula-fed babies. Their poop is typically thicker in consistency (like a nut butter) and stronger smelling. The color can range from tan to greenish, yellowish, or brown.
Bright Green and Frothy: You might see this kind of poop if your breastfed baby is getting too much foremilk, which is the milk that your baby drinks at the beginning of a feeding. Your baby might be getting only foremilk if you have an oversupply of milk or if you are not emptying one breast entirely before switching to the other (e.g., you feed for only 5 minutes on one side and then change breasts). You can avoid giving your baby mostly foremilk by emptying your breast before switching to the other side. But, if this doesn’t sound like it applies to you and your baby has bright green poop and is not acting like themselves, reach out to your pediatrician.
Dark Green: Dark green poop is usually a result of iron. This is not a concern if you’ve started your baby on an iron supplement or iron-fortified formula or if you are taking iron while breastfeeding.
Brownish Green: After your baby starts on solid foods, their poop will turn brownish green. You’ll notice that their poop changes colors depending on the foods they eat. For example, carrots may make their poop orange or spinach may make it green. You might also notice little pieces of their food showing up in their poop, which is really common.
Call your pediatrician if your baby has red, white, or black poop. You know your baby best, so if something seems off or if they have a fever, it is a good idea to speak with your pediatrician.
And keep in mind, some babies poop upwards of 10 times a day while others poop only a couple times per week. Both of these are normal! Poop is so individualized that you’ll want to understand your baby’s poop habits inside and out. This will help you know when things are a-okay versus when you need to reach out to your doctor.
If you or your child is having a health emergency, please call 911 or your emergency services number immediately.