Decipher the meaning of baby poop in this article.
In this article:
What Different Baby Poop Color and Texture Tells You
What Does the Poop Color Mean?
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What is your baby’s poo telling you? Stool color can be helpful in figuring out what’s going on with your baby but the clinical picture and exam is also very important! Notify your doctor if you have any concerns. #newborn #baby #poop #babypoop #pediatrics #pediatrician #drjohnpham
You know you’re a mom when baby poop is a matter of utmost concern. It’s easy to feel unsure whether the poop color in the diaper is normal or not.
Your baby’s stool evolves as they grow bigger and start eating or drinking. It means the color and texture of their feces can change as well. If newborn poop bothers you, check out this baby poop color chart we prepared for you!
1. Green Poop
Do you know one of your baby’s first poops is not only dark green but also black? It can even resemble tar or motor oil! It has a unique name: meconium.
Babies don’t have the best-working digestive system by the time they are https://www.instagram.com/p/Bh48bqtnRSh born. It explains why you have to wait until they’re about 6 months old before they can begin eating solids.
It doesn’t mean they don’t have a functional digestive tract when in the womb. By the end of week 13 of pregnancy, the fetus already has a complete digestive system. It also suggests babies do poop, but in most cases, they prefer to wait until they’re out into the world.
That’s not all. Babies tend to eat almost anything they can get their hands on, so to speak, while still in the uterus. This includes amniotic fluid, bile pigments, and fatty acids, to name a few. In the end, the first poop, which is meconium, looks genuinely gross.
Amniotic Fluid Definition: It is the fluid within the amniotic sac and surrounds the baby. It is clear and yellowish.
The baby can excrete this type of stool within 24 to 48 hours after birth. Green baby poop may also occur due to the following reasons:
- Transitional—Meconium is not the baby’s poop due to breastfeeding or formula feeding. Still, green feces known as transitional poop may develop during the early days of a breastfed baby.
- Milk Overload—An excessive supply and consumption of breastmilk may result in issues in the gastrointestinal tract. It is also another possible cause for green poop among breastfed infants.
- Medications—Some medications the mom or the baby takes may have a side effect such as green poop. This is because they may stimulate the digestive system to move the bowel faster than it should.
- Iron Supplement—If the baby’s supplement or diet is high in iron, you may see dark green baby poop. It happens when gut bacteria reacts to the mineral.
2. Mustard Yellow
If you’re exclusively breastfeeding your baby, chances are, their poop will be yellow—mustard yellow, to be exact. Sometimes it is pasty, seedy, or runny; mothers may confuse it as newborn diarrhea.
Many doctors, however, consider yellow, along with green and brown, as normal baby poop colors as long as the infant doesn’t have other symptoms.
Why do babies have yellow poop, though? It’s all because of bile.
When the baby eats food (or, in this case, drinks milk), the undigested food travels from the mouth to the stomach. The acids then break it down into different components.
The digested food then travels farther where it encounters bile. Bile is the green-yellow substance secreted by the liver. It is an essential digestive fluid since it helps break down the fatty acids present in food such as breastmilk.
The digested food then proceeds to the small intestines where the body absorbs the nutrients. The non-absorbed nutrients then move on to the large intestine. With the combination of probiotic strains present in the intestines, bile, and digested food components, you have yellow (or sometimes brown) poop!
3. Pasty Brown
If your baby’s poop has a pasty texture with a yellowish or brownish color that somehow resembles peanut butter, then you’re probably into formula feeding.
Formula-fed babies poop less often. They also tend to have firmer stool compared to the runny poop of breastfed babies.
Their stool also has a stronger odor than that of exclusively breastfed babies. It doesn’t smell as strong as the poop of those who are eating solid foods.
The healthy poop of a baby doesn’t smell the same way as adult human feces. In fact, a breastfed baby poop may smell a bit sweet.
Note: Formula-fed infants are more likely to have hard stools than those who drink breastmilk. When that happens, the baby is prone to constipation.
The best option is to see a pediatrician for guidance. Usually, the baby may have to limit their diet to milk only until there are changes.
4. Thick and Brown
Once your baby starts to munch on solids, expect some changes in those diapers!
Baby poop will become more solid or thicker. It may be the texture of an adult poop once you begin feeding them solid foods. Unfortunately, it also means a stronger smell than what they passed when they were exclusively ingesting milk and water.
Poop color can go to extremes. It may be coal black or tarry, or it can also be white.
It’s rare for babies (and for adults) to have white poop. The same thing goes for pale gray or yellow with a chalky texture. It can mean their digestive system isn’t working correctly or the liver is producing less bile than it should.
To be specific, it’s possible there is a blockage in the biliary system. It’s a network of tubes or ducts that connect the gallbladder and the liver. Contrary to what some believe, the liver doesn’t stop producing bile, but the gallbladder stores it until it’s ready for use.
When one of the ducts that lead to it doesn’t function properly because of the blockage, the gallbladder won’t be able to store and excrete it. The body cannot digest the fatty acids well enough.
As mentioned above, bile can make the stool yellow or brown. If the color is not as vibrant, it’s possible the issue is in the biliary system. One of the most common medical conditions that exhibit this is biliary atresia, which is congenital.
The baby can appear healthy during the first month until the primary symptoms appear. These include sudden and rapid weight loss, irritability, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).
Meconium can sometimes be pure black. After the first few days after birth, black baby poop may not be normal anymore.
An infant may pass black stools for different reasons. It may be because they ingested red blood.
It occurs when the mom’s nipples are cracked or dry. When the baby bites—and they sometimes will—the nipples can bleed.
Food and medications may also contribute to the color. Take prune juice, for example.
In more severe cases, black stools may mean issues in the gastrointestinal tract, particularly the stomach lining. There may be an infection or bleeding in the area.
Seeing red in a baby’s diaper is enough to alarm any mom, but there are also different causes of red stools. One of these is the food they eat.
Do they like to eat beets? This superfood may be the culprit.
A baby may also poop red because of food allergies such as dairy or when they have a bacterial infection. If the baby is passing hard stools, red feces are possible as well. It’s because the straining may eventually hurt the rectum.
Other Poop Issues of Babies
Poop is so complicated that it doesn’t appear as a plain-colored mass. It may also have some foam or mucus, and sometimes, it tends to have white curds or seeds. Let’s explain each one:
1. Frothy Baby Poop
Spotting a frothy poop is easy. It tends to be foamy or bubbly. If they’re a breastfed baby, it may be a sign the infant receives too much foremilk than hindmilk.
The mother produces only one type of breastmilk, which has high-fat content and some sugar. The amount of fat present, though, depends on the stage of the feeding.
As soon as the baby starts to drink the breastmilk, the first few gulps are probably foremilk, which is low in fat but high in sugar called lactose. If the baby is into formula feeding, the frothy stool may be due to an allergy to the milk or an infection.
2. Baby Poop with Mucus
Sometimes the stool has a jelly-like component, which is actually mucus. What causes mucus in baby stool?
One of the possible reasons is excessive swallowing of saliva. It happens when the baby starts teething since it increases the likelihood of drooling.
Breastfed babies also tend to have a higher chance of developing mucus. Breastmilk can travel to the intestines faster than formula milk.
It may also be a sign of infection or allergic reaction. The excessive production of mucus may be the body’s defense against these threats.
3. White Curds in Baby Poop
In other situations, the baby’s stool appears with flecks of “seeds,” which look like cottage cheese. Others call these white curds.
They are undigested breastmilk, which should not worry you, mainly if the stool color is mustard yellow, brown, or even green. Although it is more common among breastfed babies, it can also happen among those who drink formula milk.
Learn about what each poop color and texture means in this video:
Parenting is an overwhelming and daunting task, especially if you’re a first-time mom. Take, for instance, knowing the quality and meaning of the baby’s stool.
Use this baby poop guide to help you figure out what’s happening with your infant. Their poops are good indicators of their health and well-being, after all.
Many of the types of stools don’t have to worry you, but still, work closely with the pediatrician to be sure. It’s just a phase, soon enough, you’ll be training your little one to potty!
Do you find this baby poop guide helpful? Let us know in the comments section!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on July 20, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.