Baby Poop Guide: Colors, Times, and Whatnots

    Updated 14 April 2020 |
    Published 14 August 2019
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Kate Shkodzik, MD, Obstetrician and gynecologist
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    Your precious newborn comes with a complete set of fingers and toes and a fully operational digestive system. The first time you unfasten your child’s diaper, you may be tempted to exclaim, “What is this?” Flo answers this and other common baby questions, along with providing a baby poop guide to help you understand the ins and outs of baby poop.

    How often should newborns poop? 

    Those first sleep-deprived days after labor and delivery often pass in a blur of feedings and diaper changes. Newborn moms frequently wonder, “How often should a baby poop?" Your child’s poop schedule is as individual as their hair color and in many cases is based on what they eat.

    Breastfed babies may poop several times a day — sometimes after every feeding. Infants on formula may poop slightly less, and some healthy infants may only go once every couple of days. If your baby eats regularly and continues to gain weight, their poop schedule shouldn’t be of too much concern.

    Baby poop types 

    During your child's life, their stools are continually changing, mainly due to the introduction of new foods. Occasionally, an unusual poop may be the first symptom of a problem in your child's health. It's best to become familiar with the most common kinds of baby poop so you can recognize anything out of the ordinary. Baby poop charts like the one below can help you prepare for unexpected surprises in your child's diaper.

    Newborn poop

    Your newborn’s first poop may look like tar in consistency and color. This substance is called meconium and is quite normal. It's made up of materials that were in your baby's digestive tract while they were in your uterus. As an added benefit, meconium is odorless since the baby’s colon is still free of bacteria.  

    Poop from a liquid diet

    After feedings have started, breastfeeding moms may notice their baby’s poop is thin with tiny seeds, almost like mustard. Babies on formula may have slightly thicker bowel movements which have the color and consistency of peanut butter.

    Poop from solid food

    As you start to give your baby solid food, their poop changes to the more familiar dark brown color with a slightly mushy consistency. The types and colors of foods influence the colors of the stool and also bring about less-than-pleasant odors.

    Abnormal poops

    Less common infant stool types can range from watery diarrhea to hard, round pebbles. Sometimes breastfeeding moms may require antibiotics, which can loosen infant stools. Illnesses or other food sensitivities may cause runny poops as well. Diarrhea is when your baby poops more often, and it is looser than average, even watery. Infant diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration, so always consult your doctor if diarrhea continues longer than 24 hours.

    Constipation is the exact opposite of diarrhea, with poops that are harder than usual and less frequent. Constipation may begin once you start your child on regular food. Consult your doctor if your child is straining to have a bowel movement and keeps having unusually hard stools.

    Excessive slimy poops or the presence of bright red blood are also cause for concern and should be discussed with your doctor.

    Baby poop colors

    Baby poop can contain almost every color in the rainbow. We've made a list of the most common poop colors and explained each one so you can rest easy during the next diaper change.

    Newborn poop color

    Meconium, your baby's first poop, is a deep black or dark olive-green tarry substance, and it frequently alarms new moms and dads. Completely normal and odor-free, this poop usually lasts one or two days after birth and is followed by the more traditional mustard-colored baby poop.

    Breastfed infant poop color

    Breast milk provides infants with healthy nutrients and powerful antibodies, and it gives their poop a distinctive mustard yellow color. Breastfed infant poop contains tiny seed-like clumps, creating even more similarity to Dijon mustard.

    Formula-fed infant poop color

    Continuing with the food theme, formula-fed babies have poops that are light tan to yellow, resembling peanut butter in color and texture.

    Poops from solid food

    While most infants on solid food have brown poops, the colors of solid foods can stain baby stools. Broccoli and green beans can cause a greenish tinge, while beets may add a reddish hue. Always think back to what your child had for supper before you get worried about baby poop colors.

    Uncommon poop colors

    Poops with red streaks or spots can signify bleeding somewhere along the digestive track, and green stools mixed with slime may be a sign of infection or an allergy. White, especially a chalky clay color, may indicate a problem with your baby's liver. Consult your doctor if any of these poops show up on a regular basis.

    Baby poop color chart

    New parents quickly become seasoned poop viewers. Use this handy baby poop guide to identify the most common colors and their probable causes. 

    Color Probable cause
    Black Very common in newborns, gradually disappears two to three days after birth. In older children, black poops could point to the presence of blood high up in the digestive track or blood from mom’s cracked nipples
    Yellow/Green Usually a transitional color as your baby starts feeding on liquids
    Yellow Typical color of breastfed infant poop
    Tan Expected color of formula-fed infant poop
    Brown Poop color resulting from eating solid food
    Red May be the result of foods such as berries, beets, and fruit juice. Could be a sign of bleeding, with brighter blood indicating a location closest to the end of the gastrointestinal tract  
    White Liver blockage
    Green May be caused by foods such as spinach, broccoli, and beans. Slimy, green poop could indicate an infection or allergy

    As the baby poop guide shows, colors and textures of stools vary widely between children. Your baby's poop will most likely fall into the yellow, tan, or brown category for much of their childhood, but occasional changes are nothing to be alarmed about. In most cases, your child's unusual-looking "present" may only result from an expanded diet and colorful food choices.

    History of updates

    Current version (14 April 2020)

    Reviewed by Kate Shkodzik, MD, Obstetrician and gynecologist

    Published (14 August 2019)

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