The ultimate colour-coded baby poop guide
Green, yellow, red and black - these are just a few of the colours your baby's poop could be! How can you decipher this poopy rainbow? With our handy guide, of course!
When a woman becomes a mummy, she develops a whole new range of interests and obsessions, most of them revolving around her little one.
Baby’s weight, height/length, food and milk intake and of course… poop! Only a mum 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 the complex process. This guide is especially for all you mummies who might not be quite sure how to ‘read’ your baby’s poop.
We’ve even colour-coded our rather cute poopy pictures, to make that poo extra-easy to analyse!
You’ll usually spot blackish tar-like poop 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 is one of the main causes for 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 are 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 poop. 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 diarrhea, 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, e.g. spinach = greenish-yellow poop.
3. Yellow brown
This hue, 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 colour shades will range on the brown colour spectrum – from green-brown and yellow-brown to a more tan-brown.
An unusual colour for poop, 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 round 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, diarrhea 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.
Diarhhea 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 diarrhea, not to delay showing him to a paediatrician.
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 poop means your baby 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.