Dealing with baby poo is part and parcel of being a new parent, particularly if you’re the chief nappy changer in your house! But baby poo is also a great way to keep a check on your little one’s health. In this post, we’ll give you the lowdown on what to expect from your baby’s poo and whether it’s normal or needs further investigation.
Note: the information in this article is based on breastfed babies, not those who are bottle-fed.
There are an infinite number of baby poo colours and consistencies. They change according to your baby’s age, the foods you’ve consumed while breastfeeding and also the foods they’ve consumed as they get older.
Here’s the main ones:
Newborn poo – is greeny-black in colour and tar like in consistency. It’s technically referred to as meconium and is made up of amniotic fluid, mucus and skin cells ingested when in utero.
Breastfed infant poo – changes from greeny black to more of a mustard yellow as your baby starts to ingest and digest your breast milk. It may still have a tinge of green but could also run the gamut from yellow to orange or even light brown. The tar like consistency shifts to more a liquid formulation. As baby grows, the consistency can best be likened to a mixture of ricotta cheese and Dijon mustard!
The best thing about breastfeed poo? It doesn’t smell. Don’t believe us? Test it out at the next nappy change!
Green poo – infant or newborn poos that are bright green and frothy may signal your baby is getting too much foremilk (low calorie milk) during their breastfeeds. Ensure you drain your breast fully before switching to the other. This allows your child to get the richer hind milk at end of the feed.
Green poo can also be an indication of oversupply. If it happens consistently, seek out a lactation consultant and have a chat. Your local ABA group can help you here.
One further reason you may notice green poo is if you give your baby an iron supplement.
Black poo – sometimes you may notice little flecks of black blood in your baby’s poo. This can happen if they ingest blood from a cracked nipple. This won’t harm them but you should ensure you treat your nipple crack before it worsens. If you notice black blood flecks in your baby’s poo on a regular basis, let your doctor or health nurse know at your next visit. If your infant’s poo colour changes from yellow to pure black very quickly, visit your doctor as this may indicate a more serious problem.
Solid food poo – once your little one begins solid food, the days of lovely smelling nappies are over. Their baby poo colour will change to brown or dark brown and the consistency will thicken and be mushier. You may even discover bits of undigested food in amongst it all from time to time. But if this happens regularly, consult your doctor. They’ll check baby’s intestines to make sure they are working properly.
As your child cuts down their breastfeeds and transfers to a mainly solid diet, their poo will also begin to harden up and be more ‘adult-like’. They should still be able to pass their stools relatively easily without straining pain. If not, constipation could be the reason (see below on what to do if this happens).
All the following colours and consistencies warrant further investigation from a medical professional:
Bright red – this usually means there is blood in your baby’s stool. There are a variety of reasons for this from an infection to an injury from constipation (rare for breastfed babies) or a milk protein allergy.
Slimy poo – a green tinged slimy poo means mucus is present. If this happens consistently – say for two or more days - get it checked as baby may have an infection or allergy.
Pebbles – when breastfeed babies start solids, they can sometimes experience bouts of constipation or pebbly poos. A few pebbly poos here and there are ok but if it’s a consistent thing, get it checked out by a doctor. They may suggest watered down prune or pear juice to help things get moving in the right direction again.
Diarrhoea – with breastfed babies, this can sometimes be hard to diagnose. The main determinant is the velocity – if it explodes out of your baby’s nappy, it is likely diarrhoea. This could be from an infection or an allergy. Babies are particularly susceptible to dehydration, so if your child has three diarrhoea-filled nappies in a day for two days in a row, see a doctor. If their diarrhoea is bloody or mucus-filled, see a doctor as soon as possible.
White poo - white, chalky grey or very pale yellow stools require an immediate trip to the doctor. Some children suffer from a rare disease called biliary atresia which prevents bile from draining from the liver.
We hope we’ve given you a good scoop on all things baby poop. As always, we provide this information for your reference but it is not professional health or medical advice. Speak to your GP, health nurse or specialist if you have concerns about your child’s bowel movements or health in general.
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