Baby Poop: A Guide to Understanding Your Child's Health

29 Apr

Although new babies do not come with an instruction manual, they do leave hints regarding their health status. A lot of information is hidden in a baby's diaper, and many new parents naturally spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out what the signals (the consistency, the amount, the color) left for them imply, and what it all signifies. 

So, what does a baby's diaper say about his or her health? 

Though a majority of baby poop descriptions fall into the normal range, it is important to recognize the unusual feces and address it with your baby's doctor. Let's take a closer look at each of the traits:


Pooping patterns in babies vary greatly; some poop after every meal, while others only poop once or twice a week. The most crucial thing is that your baby's poop should be relatively soft. Breastfed newborns usually poop after each feeding which means about six to ten times per day, but after three to six weeks, they usually slow down and have fewer bowel movements. Some babies who are exclusively breastfed may only have one bowel movement each week. Formula-fed newborns, on the other hand, should poop once a day at the very least. If your baby's pooping habit is quite steady and he is functioning normally, there's no need to be concerned.


  • Loose stools: Poop that is extremely loose, and watery may suggest that the baby is not absorbing nutrition properly. This can happen due to milk protein allergy or infection in the gastrointestinal tract.  These diseases are usually viral and go away without treatment. However, a newborn can become dehydrated in these situations. So, if your baby seems ill, call your doctor right away.

  • Hard stools: Otherwise known as small “ball-like” stools may indicate constipation. Constipation is common when babies first begin eating solid foods, but it can also be an indication of milk or soy protein sensitivity or intolerance to anything in breast milk or formula. Hence should consult your pediatrician for possible solutions. 

  • Mucus stools: Likewise, mucus in infant poop is usually normal. Meconium nearly always contains it, and small amounts of mucus in your baby's poop are normal as they grow and eat a wider variety of foods.  Mucus in baby poop is usually transparent or slightly milky in appearance. However, if mucus in a baby's poop is accompanied by other symptoms, like blood, high temperature, loss of appetite, vomiting, and weakness, it could indicate an infection or improper digestion. Contact your baby's healthcare provider immediately.


What does my baby's poop color mean? A Baby’s poop color and texture change considerably – and sometimes alarmingly – over the first few days and months of a baby's life and is a constant cause of worry for parents. Here's what to anticipate:

  • Black: The first stool of a newborn is likely to be black and tar-like known as meconium which contains mucus, amniotic fluid, and skin cells. But it should only persist for a couple of days.

  • Yellow mustard: A newborn’s feces maybe a mustard yellow once the meconium has passed. Breastfed babies are also more likely to have this color of feces.

  • Bright yellow: Bright yellow poop is common in breastfed and occasionally formula-fed babies. However, bright yellow poop that is significantly more frequent and runnier than usual could be diarrhea. Dehydration can be exacerbated by diarrhea.

  • Orange: Pigments in your baby's digestive tract cause orange poop. Both breastfed and formula-fed babies are susceptible.

  • Red: Due to dark red foods and drinks such as tomato juice or beets, your baby's poop may sometimes turn red. Certain red-colored medications, like amoxicillin or cefdinir, may also cause red poop. However, blood in a baby’s poop due to intestinal infection, or from milk allergies or from an anal fissure, could also be the reason for red color poop, hence should be addressed by a pediatrician. 

  • Dark green: Poop that is dark green in hue is particularly prevalent in babies who are starting solid green foods like spinach and peas. Your baby's feces may also become green because of taking iron supplements.

  • White: White poop indicates that your baby's liver isn't making enough bile to help them digest their food properly. This is a significant issue and should be addressed by a pediatrician at any stage.

Monitoring your baby's stool might help you spot health issues. Do not hesitate to contact your child's pediatrician for any abnormalities spotted.

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