Baby poop comes in a variety of colors, and those colors can change depending on your baby's diet. Your newborn's very first poop, called meconium, is greenish-black and tarry. Breastfed poop is yellowish, soft, and seedy; while formula-fed poop is thicker and brownish in color. Solid food poop has more substance and a stronger odor. Babies can be constipated and have diarrhea, just like adults, which will make their poop look different than usual. These photosgive you the full scoop on newborn poop. (A note for the squeamish: This gallery contains real photos. )
What should baby poop look like?
Baby poop comes in a wide range of colors and a variety of textures, and deciphering what's normal and what's not can be puzzling to a new parent. If you're spending more time than you'd ever imagined staring quizzically at the contents of your baby's diaper, you're not alone! Bowel movements are one of the most common concerns parents ask their child's doctor about.
This baby poop chart will give you the full scoop on your newborn's bowel movements. The following photos and information will help you understand which baby poop colors are normal and which ones warrant a call to the doctor as your newborn grows, drinks breast milk or formula, and starts eating solids. You'll find out what's harmless, and when there may be a cause for concern.
If you still have questions about your baby's bowel movements after reading this guide, don't hesitate to call or email photos of any questionable baby stools to your child's provider.
(And for more helpful tips on when to call your baby's pediatrician, as well as other great safety info, check out the Infant CPR, Choking, and Safety class from BabyCenter Courses.)
Note: These are pictures of real baby poop! Please view only if you're comfortable looking at them. If not, you can read this description without photos instead, or watch this animated video.
Newborn poop (meconium)
You may be surprised to learn that normal newborn poop doesn't look very normal at all. For your baby's first couple of bowel movements, expect to find a greenish-black, tarry, sticky sludge that kind of looks like motor oil when you open your newborn's diaper. Since meconium is made of mucus, amniotic fluid, dead cells, and other stuff your baby ingested in utero, it doesn't really smell – so you may not realize it's time for a diaper change.
When your baby is 2 to 4 days old, their poop will become lighter in color – sort of a yellowish green – and less sticky. This so-called transitional stool is a sign that they've started digesting early breast milk or formula and their intestinal tract is working just fine.
Photo credit: marima / Shutterstock.com
Breastfed baby poop
Normal breastfed baby poop, like as seen in this photo, is yellow or slightly green, and has a mushy or creamy consistency. It may be runny enough to resemble diarrhea, though baby diarrhea is usually very liquid in consistency. Breastfed poop typically looks like Dijon mustard and may be dotted with little seed-like flecks. Interestingly, it smells slightly sweet.
There are many shades of normal when it comes to breastfed baby poop. One you might see is a greener tone, which could signify that you ate something different than you normally do. If your baby isn't experiencing any other symptoms, there's no need to worry.
If you see bright green and frothy poop in your baby's diaper that almost looks like algae, they're probably getting too much foremilk – the low-calorie milk that comes first in a feeding – and not enough hindmilk, the higher-fat, super-nutritious stuff that comes near the end. It could mean that you're not feeding your baby long enough on each breast. To remedy this, start each new breastfeeding session on the breast you ended on the last time.
Formula-fed baby poop
Formula-fed babies have thick, pasty, peanut butter-like poop on the brown color spectrum. Its color ranges from tan-brown to yellow-brown or even greenish-brown.
The thicker consistency of formula is slightly harder to digest than breast milk, so some of its ingredients end up passing right through your baby's digestive system. Formula-fed baby poop is also more pungent than poop from breastfed babies, yet a little less pungent than poop from babies who are eating solid food, but you'll recognize the smell.
If at some point you decide to switch formula brands, expect the look – and feel – of your baby's poop to change. Its aroma might change, too.
Iron-fortified baby poop
Green baby poop is a sign of iron in your baby's formula. The iron in formula doesn't absorb as well as the iron in breast milk – hence the greenish hue. If you give your baby an iron supplement, their poop may turn dark green or almost black. This doesn't happen often, but it's normal.
One thing: If your baby's poop looks blackish and they're not taking an iron supplement, it's a good idea to call their doctor. Rarely, blood in infant stool can turn poop a black color, which is called melena. Your child's doctor can make sure there's no stomach bleeding to worry about.
Solid food baby stool
Once you start introducing your baby to solid foods – infant cereal, pureed bananas, and so on – you'll almost instantly notice a change in their output, especially if your baby is breastfed. Solid-food poop tends to be brown or dark brown and thicker than peanut butter, but still mushy. Get ready: It's also much smellier than exclusively breastfed poop.
Expect the consistency of your baby's poop to change depending on what they've recently eaten. Some bowel movements may look hard and pebble-like, while others can have that runny, mustard-like consistency of breastfed poops. There's nothing to worry about unless your baby seems to be straining or goes more than a few days without going at all.
Baby stool with partially digested food
Occasionally your baby's poop will have identifiable chunks of food in it or be tinged with a surprising hue of the rainbow, like red, orange, or dark blue – this isn't something you need to worry about. Red could mean beets, orange suggests carrots, and dark blue implies blueberries (you may even see tiny pieces of blueberry skin in there, too).
You're likely seeing this because certain foods are only partially digestible or travel so quickly through the intestines that they don't have time to completely break down. It also happens when your baby eats a lot of one food or doesn't chew a mouthful completely before they swallow.
The time to call the doctor is if your baby's poop consistently has undigested food in it. Your baby's doctor will check to make sure their intestines are properly absorbing food and nutrients.
Photo credit: Original Shutter / Shutterstock.com
Newborn diarrhea is very runny and looks like it's made up of more water than solid food. It can be yellow, green, or brown, and often can seep or "explode" out of their diaper.
Diarrhea can be a sign of an infection or allergy. If it lasts for a while without being treated, it can lead to dehydration. Call the doctor if your baby:
Has signs of dehydration, such as crying without tears, dry lips, peeing less often than usual, or excess sleepiness
Has diarrhea that doesn't go away after a few days
Has visible blood or mucus in their diarrhea
Has a fever along with the diarrhea
Photo credit: nutthapol Samjai / Shutterstock.com
Constipated baby poop
If your baby's poop is hard and looks like little pebbles, they're probably constipated. Your baby may look visibly uncomfortable when they're pooping, and the poop may be tinged with blood from irritating the anus on the way out. One or two pebbly diapers isn't a concern, but if the constipation doesn't improve, your baby is irritable, or you see blood in their stool, it's best to call their doctor.
Constipation often happens in babies who are being introduced to solid foods, or it can be a sign that your baby isn't getting enough fiber in their diet. Your doctor may recommend giving your baby water, pear, or prune juice to help move things along.
Baby poop with mucus
Does your baby's diaper look like it's been slimed? Greenish poop streaked with shiny, glistening strings means there's mucus in it. This sometimes happens when a baby is especially drooly, since mucus in saliva often goes undigested. Drooling can be a sign that a tooth is about to pop.
Mucus in poop can also be a telltale sign of an infection or food allergy. Rarely, it could mean your baby isn't absorbing enough nutrients from breast milk or formula. If the mucus is accompanied by any other symptoms (such as diarrhea or a fever) or it shows up in your baby's diaper for two days or more, call their doctor to rule out any problems.
Photo credit: Katarzyna Uroda / Shutterstock.com
Blood in baby's poop
Seeing red in your baby's diaper can be frightening, to say the least. Many of the possible causes of blood in baby stool aren't serious, like small tears in the baby's anus from passing large poops, or a cow's milk allergy. (Despite its name, a cow's milk allergy is more of an intolerance, and most babies grow out of this by age 1. It will require you eliminating cow's milk from your diet, if you're breastfeeding, or switching your baby to a formula without cow's milk.)
Sometimes the blood in infant stool is bright red from bleeding closer to the surface, and sometimes it's black (which means it's been digested). Sometimes, red dye in food or medication can also turn stool slightly red.
Call your doctor if you notice:
Normal poop tinged with red blood, which is often a sign of a cow's milk allergy
Constipated poop with a hint of red blood, likely a result of tears in the anus or hemorrhoids
Diarrhea mixed with red blood, which can signal a bacterial infection
When black blood appears in a baby's diaper – usually in little flecks that look like black poppy or sesame seeds – it's often because your baby is breastfed and swallowing blood from your cracked and bleeding nipples. While this is a sign that you need some pain relief, it doesn't pose a threat to your baby. Still, it's best to call your baby's doctor to make sure it's not something more serious, like bleeding from their intestines.
Photo credit: Vadi Fuoco / Shutterstock.com
Chalky or white baby poop
Lots of seemingly frightening signs in your newborn's poop are nothing to worry about. Others, like white, grey, or pale-yellow stools, are good reason for concern. Pale stools can be a sign of biliary atresia – a blockage in the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder. Bile is the greenish fluid that helps us digest food and gives poop its brown color.
If your baby's stool looks especially pale, call their doctor right away. Biliary atresia is rare, but babies diagnosed with it need surgery to fix the blockage. The procedure works best when it's done before a baby reaches the 2-month mark.
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Cleveland Clinic. 2020. The color of baby poop and what it means. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-color-of-baby-poop-and-what-it-means-infographic/ [Accessed May 2022]
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Mayo Clinic. 2022. I’m breastfeeding my newborn and her bowel movements are yellow and mushy. Is this normal for baby poop? http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/baby-poop/faq-20057971 [Accessed May 2022]
National Library of Medicine Medline Plus. 2020. Constipation in infants and children. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003125.htm [Accessed May 2022]
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Stephanie Watson is a freelance health and lifestyle writer based in Rhode Island. When she’s not busy writing, Watson loves to travel, try new cuisines, and attend as many concerts, shows, and plays as she can fit into her busy schedule.
How often should a newborn poop?
Yes, it's normal if your baby is pooping after every single feeding. You’ll quickly discover that when it comes to newborns, poop frequency comes in a wide range of normal.
Some babies are just more productive poopers than others. It’s perfectly okay to end every feeding with a diaper change, or to not see a single bowel movement for a few days. Your baby pooping a lot probably isn’t an issue, unless you’re changing three or more extra-watery diapers a day. In that case, it could be diarrhea, which is something to let your baby's doctor know about.
How often should a newborn poop?
It varies. Poop habits differ a lot from baby to baby. The average frequency is one or more bowel movements daily. But some newborns produce five or more dirty diapers a day in their first 2 weeks of life, while others go for days without pooping.
It’s not unusual for newborns to poop a lot, since they spend most of their waking hours eating. In general, breastfed babies poop more than formula-fed ones. In fact, your baby may poop while nursing and again once they’re done – which is why you may want to wait a few minutes after you're finished breastfeeding before swooping in with a clean diaper.
Because breastfed poops contain more liquid, they’ll look more watery than the stools of formula-fed babies. (See real photos of the different kinds of baby poop here.)
When a breastfed newborn poops after every feeding during the first few weeks, take it as a good sign – it means they’re getting plenty of milk. Even though formula-fed babies may have less frequent bowel movements than breastfed babies, it's normal for them to poop after every feeding as well.
The frequency of your baby's bowel movements may start to slow down by the time they're around 6 weeks old, but some babies continue their pattern of pooping after every feeding for much longer. (It’s not uncommon for some 1-year-olds to poop five times a day.)
How long can a baby go without pooping?
If your baby hasn’t had a bowel movement in a few days, there’s no need to immediately fear the big “C” (aka, constipation). Babies can go days, or even a week, without producing a dirty diaper. A breastfed baby can go even longer – as long as two weeks without pooping if they haven’t started on solid foods yet.
If the bowel movements your baby does make are soft, constipation probably isn’t an issue. Exclusively breastfed babies rarely get constipated because breastmilk is an economical food. Your baby gets just what they need, with little waste leftover to poop out.
True constipation in babies typically happens from a change in diet, a lack of fluids, or an illness. The telltale sign is hard, dry stools. If your baby is constipated, they may get extra fussy and look like they’re straining uncomfortably when they try to go.
Should I ever be worried about my baby pooping a lot?
Generally, if your baby's bowel movements are fairly consistent and they’re acting like their usual self, frequent poops aren't a cause for concern. However, if there's a sudden change in your baby's pooping pattern and their stool becomes watery, check with their doctor. Very watery bowel movements could be a sign of an infection.
Call the doctor if your baby has any of these other poop-related symptoms:
Pulling their legs up to their stomach (a sign that their tummy hurts)
Straining to have a bowel movement
Poop that looks like small, hard pebbles or is extra watery
A swollen belly
Blood in their poop
If my baby is pooping a lot, are they more prone to diaper rash?
Babies who have frequent bowel movements can be more susceptible to diaper rash. Constant contact with stool can irritate the sensitive skin on their bottom.
The best way to prevent diaper rash is to keep your baby’s bottom clean and dry. To start, change their diapers more often. Wash their skin clean with warm water during each change.
You may want to coat the area with a diaper rash cream or a product containing zinc oxide or petroleum jelly to create a barrier. And instead of putting on a new diaper right away, let your baby go diaper-less for a little while each day so their bottom can fully air dry. If these tips don’t relieve the diaper rash, give your baby's doctor a call.
Parenthood changes everyone. Just yesterday, you smugly chuckled at those who write panicky questions about "tight-hearted" and "pokakusiki" on the Internet, and today you are frantically comparing the contents of your baby's diaper with photographs on the Internet. All young parents are worried about the health of their baby - and we will help you save your nerves and time searching.
So here's what's important to know about baby poop in the first months of life. First, the feces of a breastfed infant and a formula fed infant will differ. Secondly, the vast majority of shades that you can find in a diaper are completely normal for a child's immature digestive system. Let's figure out what should not cause you anxiety.
It is called meconium and appears during the first couple of days after childbirth. In appearance and consistency, meconium resembles engine oil and can cause genuine horror in young parents. Don't worry, everything is fine with your baby, he has parted with the last reminder of life in the womb, and is now ready for further development of the digestive system.
Most commonly, healthy breastfed babies will have mustard-like stools, sometimes with a yellowish, orangey, or greenish tinge. All this is perfectly normal. Please note that the consistency of baby stool is more often liquid and heterogeneous - this is also normal. You should not believe those who romantically say that infant stool smells like milk or something else pleasant - its smell is still quite specific, although it differs from the smell of an adult's stool or children who have already switched to adult food.
In artificially fed children, the stool is slightly more formed than in naturalists, but still remains soft. Yellow, yellow-brown, light brown or greenish stools are considered normal. And yes, formula-fed stool smells a lot more like real poop.
Once you start introducing complementary foods into your baby's diet, be prepared for the fact that his stool will change, and become more and more like what you usually see in your toilet bowl. Also, do not forget that children's stool often takes on the color of what was eaten: for example, orange after carrots or pumpkins and a reddish hue after beets. So if you find a poop of a non-standard color, then before you panic, remember what you fed the baby the day before.
If you have several consecutive stools in the diaper that look greener and thinner than usual, this most likely indicates that the child has diarrhea. In babies, it can occur in case of drastic changes in the diet (of a child or mother if she is breastfeeding), and sometimes it can indicate food allergies or intolerances. Severe and frequent diarrhea (and also if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain and abdominal pain, vomiting and fever) may indicate food poisoning or infection and requires the attention of a doctor.
Sometimes the baby's stools may turn yellowish or greenish and the texture may become more mucus. Often this indicates increased salivation in a child - for example, when teething. Mucus from saliva is not digested in the children's stomach and comes out in its original form. However, if the mucous stool persists for a long time, and the child does not feel very well, it may indicate an intestinal virus, and in this case it is better to consult a doctor.
If there are hard dark balls in the baby's diaper (to be fair, the chances of you seeing them increase significantly after the introduction of complementary foods), then this indicates constipation. Sometimes there may still be traces of blood on them - this is due to the fact that they hardly pass through the anus. Constipation suggests that you need to increase the child's drinking regimen and, possibly, consult a pediatrician.
All the listed colors of the baby chair should not cause you much anxiety (especially if they are not accompanied by any other problems and ailments). However, there are several varieties of poop that are very likely to say that something went wrong.
When red or pinkish streaks are found in a baby's stool, it may be blood. Blood appears in the stool for various reasons: for example, if there are cracks or wounds somewhere in the child's rectum or anus, or if the child has an intestinal infection. Also, sometimes mothers with cracked nipples can detect blood in the baby's stool - a baby with milk eats some blood, and then it comes out the other end.
If your child has very dark and thick stools (and by age it is no longer meconium), then it may indicate intestinal bleeding, and the child should definitely be shown to the doctor. But first, remember if your child is taking iron supplements (or a formula fortified with iron), they also usually make the stool darker and thicker.
White or very light stools are rare in children and almost always indicate a problem. Sometimes light stools indicate problems with the liver, in other cases - about an allergy or an intestinal virus. It is also not uncommon for stools to become lighter from taking antibiotics or antacids. However, in any case, if your child has a light stool (and is also accompanied by other restless symptoms), this is a reason to consult a doctor.
Read more on the topic
12 types of baby poop and what they mean
Types of baby poop
Newborn stool In the first days of a baby's life, his stool is significantly different from that of an adult. Newborn poop has a green-black, sticky consistency, reminiscent of motor oil. This is meconium or original feces. It is made up of amniotic fluid, mucus, skin cells, water, and bile.
Feces of a breastfed baby If a baby is breastfed, a few days after birth, the poop will turn mustard yellow, green or brown. This is considered the norm. The consistency of the feces of a healthy baby is granular and pasty, sometimes liquid. In breastfeeding babies, normal stools have a sweet smell.
Formula-fed baby stool Healthy formula-fed babies should have yellowish or brown stool with a pasty consistency similar to peanut butter. Artificial babies usually poop less often, but their stools are larger and less pleasant-smelling than those of breastfed babies.
Food particles in baby poop During the first months of life, the baby's digestive system continues to develop. The intestines do not always have time to completely digest the food entering it. Therefore, in the feces of infants, food remains can be found. Sometimes because of this, the color of the baby's poop acquires an unusual shade. And this is absolutely normal.
Types of baby poop by color
Green feces Suitable for babies from 4 to 6 months. During this period, complementary feeding with "green" foods, such as broccoli, spinach or peas, usually begins. Such food leads to a change in the color of the poop. Also, green feces are found in babies who are given iron supplements.
Yellow, orange and brown stools Orange, yellow and brown poop is considered normal for breastfed and formula-fed babies. In a healthy baby, on different days, feces can acquire one of these shades. It depends on the digestive process and the nutrients that enter the child's body.
Black blood in baby's stool You may notice small droplets of black blood in baby's stool. This means that during feeding, the baby swallowed the mother's blood, which appeared through the cracks in the nipples.
Although this is not a danger to the baby, you should still see a doctor to make sure it is not a symptom of something more serious.
Call your pediatrician right away if your baby has any of these symptoms:
Baby's loose stools If the baby's poop becomes thin (watery) with a greenish, yellow or brown tint, he has diarrhea. This is a signal of a possible infection or food allergy. Diarrhea must be treated from the very first day, because loose stools can quickly lead to dehydration in a child's body.
Hard poop If your baby goes to the toilet with hard and round poop, he may be constipated. Most often this happens with babies who have begun to feed "adult" food. Constipation may indicate hypersensitivity to milk, soy, specific foods, or one of the ingredients in formula or mother's milk.
Red blood in the baby's stool
If there are streaks of red blood in the baby's poop, this may be one of the symptoms of a food allergy to cow's milk protein or inflammatory processes in the intestines.