Bothered by the colour of your baby’s poop? Here’s a baby poop guide to help you figure out if it’s normal or not.
When you become a parent, you develop a whole new range of interests and obsessions, most of them revolving around your little one.
You’d be surprised at the things that can occupy your mind – baby’s weight, height/length, food and milk intake and even poop! Only a parent would find poop so fascinating. Its texture, smell, consistency, and colour become remarkably interesting all of a sudden, and for a very important reason.
A baby’s poop can reveal quite a bit about how he’s doing, in particular, related to his health. But deciphering your baby’s poop can actually be quite a complex process. This guide is especially for all you mums and dads who might not be quite sure how to ‘read’ baby poop colour.
We’ve even colour-coded our rather cute poopy pictures, to make that poo extra-easy to analyse!
The Ultimate Colour-Coded Baby Poop Guide
You’ll usually spot blackish tar-like baby poop colour in a newborn. This substance is called meconium and is made up of things your baby ingested while in-utero, such as skin cells, mucus and amniotic fluid.
There’s absolutely nothing to worry about meconium-caused black poo – it will pass in a few days.
Another reason for your baby’s blackish poo could be that he is passing blood in his stools. Now before you panic, do keep in mind that this could very well be blood ingested from your own cracked, sore nipples as your breasts adjust to breastfeeding.
If you are a new mum and new to breastfeeding, make sure that your baby is latching on correctly as poor latch and positioning are some of the main causes of sore nipples and blood-tinged breastmilk.
Speak to a lactation consultant for tips, and to show you exactly how to position your baby. However, if you are really concerned, or not sure that the dark stool is caused by blood in your breastmilk, consult a doctor without delay.
One last reason for almost-black poo in a baby could be iron. If you are giving your little one an iron supplement, don’t be surprised to see dark green or black baby poop colour. But if your baby is not on an iron supplement, then please do check with a paediatrician to make sure the dark colour is not caused by digested blood.
2. Mustard yellow
If your baby is exclusively breastfed, don’t be surprised if his poop looks like cream cheese with seedy mustard mixed through! In fact, it may even look like diarrhoea, but unless your baby is showing or experiencing other symptoms (e.g. fever, more cranky than usual), there’s no need to worry.
Breastfed baby poop looks gross but actually doesn’t smell terrible. It might also take on the shade of food you last ate. So if you just had spinach, then don’t be so surprised to see greenish-yellow poop.
This baby poop colour, accompanied by a pasty texture (kind of like peanut butter), is more common among formula-fed babies. Their poop is also more formed and smellier than that of breastfed babies.
Generally, formula-fed baby poop colour shades will range on the brown colour spectrum – from green-brown and yellow-brown to a more tan-brown.
An unusual baby poop colour, but white poop does happen rarely. Poop gets its colour from bile, so an absence of bile literally drains it of its colour, resulting in chalky white poop.
White poop might be an indication of a problem with the gallbladder or liver, so it’s best to take your baby to the doctor if you notice poo this colour, just to be on the safe side.
The red tinge in your baby’s poo could very well be blood, unless of course, he has been gorging on beetroot.
Now before you panic, a common cause of blood-tinged poop is when baby ingests your own blood with his breastmilk, either due to cracked nipples or other issues. This can be easily sorted by speaking to a lactation consultant or doctor and you’ll notice the red in your baby’s poop fades away.
However, if you are not sure that your baby’s red poop is caused by your own digested blood via breastmilk, then it’s best to consult a doctor as soon as possible. Other causes of bloody poop could be an allergy (e.g. milk protein), bacterial infection or due to perforations around your baby’s anus due to constipation.
6. Bright green and frothy
Does your breastfed baby’s poo look like a frothy milkshake that has been invaded by algae? If it does, it’s highly likely that he’s probably getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk.
Foremilk is the low-calorie, thirst-quenching milk that comes first in a feeding, and hindmilk is the hunger-satisfying higher calorie milk. So if your baby’s poo is indeed frothy and green, it could mean he’s not feeding for long enough on each breast. To solve this problem, start the new feed on the breast you last ended on.
7. Watery yellow/green/brown
In babies, diarrhoea tends to be extremely watery and appears to be made up more of water than solids. It tends to take on a watered-down yellow/green/brown hue and will often leak out of your baby’s diaper.
Diarrhoea in a baby should be taken quite seriously as it can lead to dehydration if not stopped in time. It is usually a sign of an infection or allergy.
If your baby has diarrhoea, consult his paediatrician right away.
Wait, is that a piece of bright orange diced carrot in your baby’s poop? And that cannot be a green pea! If you spot your baby’s poop dotted with brightly coloured pieces of food, don’t get too alarmed.
This happens occasionally because certain types of food get only partially digested, or don’t break down totally because they travel so quickly through your baby’s intestines. You may notice this more if your little one loves his food so much that he doesn’t chew a mouthful completely before he swallows.
However, if you notice semi-digested food in your baby’s poop consistently, then a visit to the doctor is warranted in order to make sure your baby’s intestines are functioning properly.
9. Dark brown
Dark brown as baby poop colour means your little one has entered the world of solid food and is doing just fine! You’ll notice a change in his poop the moment he starts solids, in fact, especially if he is breastfed.
Solid food poop is still mushy, but thicker than peanut butter. It can also be quite smelly.
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When to See the Doctor About Baby’s Poop
As you may have already figured out, the colour of your child’s poop fluctuates as he grows and is also dependent on his food. His overall wellness can also affect the texture and consistency of his bowel movement.
While some changes in the baby’s poop are to be expected and not a reason for concern, there are instances when a sudden change in the colour of his stool warrants a trip to the paediatrician.
For instance, if your child has a fever and is having frequent, watery stool, he may be having diarrhoea and needs to be checked by the doctor. Meanwhile, extremely hard and dry stools are usually a sign of constipation. You may also notice that the child is having a hard time when passing stool.
Dangers of dehydration
If he is vomiting or otherwise ill, it may be a sign that your baby is dehydrated. Dehydration is very alarming in babies as it can lead to serious complications.
If you notice the following symptoms of dehydration on your baby, call your child’s paediatrician right away.
- less than six wet diapers a day
- more fussy than usual
- his mood that’s less playful than usual
- crying without tears
- excessive fatigue
- skin that changes in colour or has a wrinkled appearance
- sunken soft spot on the head
- sunken eyes
To protect your baby against the complications of dehydration or diarrhoea, it’s good practice to ask your child’s paediatrician what food you can feed your baby before giving it to him. More importantly, don’t hesitate to consult his doctor if you notice something weird on your baby’s poop – colour, texture or consistency.
Update by Camille Eusebio
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.