It may not be the best subject at the dinner table, but it is certainly something that parents are concerned about! In fact, it is quite normal to inspect your baby’s nappies, especially since you are so frequently changing them. We tend to worry that our baby’s poo is the ‘wrong’ colour or texture, or that the consistency isn’t right. Well the good news is that you don’t have to start an embarrassing conversation with your peers, as hopefully our guide will answer your questions!
A baby’s first poo may be greeny-black in colour and perhaps difficult to wipe away. This is normal and will likely last for a few days at least. It is because your baby will pass meconium which is made up of mucus, amniotic fluid, and everything your baby has ingested while they were in the uterus (womb). After that, baby poo can vary depending on your feeding method.
What Affects Babies’ Poo?
The main factors that affect your baby are age, whether they are breastfed or bottle fed, or whether they have started eating solids. The biggest difference will be that bottle fed baby poo will most likely be bulkier than breastfed baby poo as it is more difficult to digest. Compared to breastfed baby poo, bottle fed baby poo is also a paler yellow or yellowish brown and stronger smelling. In addition, starting your baby on solids will have a dramatic effect on their poos. As they move on to a wide variety of foods, your baby's poos will become thicker, darker and a lot smellier.
Typical Range of colours
Black to Green-Black: This is a normal colour for a baby's first poo as it is a collection of fluid, bile and cells that they have ingested while inside of the womb.
Green-Brown: Your baby's poop may turn to green-brown as they begin to digest breast milk or formula.
Yellow to Yellow-Green: Sometimes containing tiny white 'seeds', breastfed babies will produce runny, mustard-coloured stools. This is perfectly normal after the first week.
Yellow-Green to Tan: For formula-fed babies this colour is to be expected as they have bowel movements that tend toward a tan colour. However, a yellow-green colour is normal too.
Brown: A baby's stool will become a darker brown when they are first introduced to solid foods. Don't worry though as this means that all systems are functioning normally.
Other Colours: Depending upon what food your baby is eating, they may produce brown poop that tends to be another colour on the spectrum. Overall, green, orange and yellow stools are rarely signs of any problems.
Colours for Concern
Lime Green: A lime green stool can mean an imbalance of foremilk, a virus, or an allergy to dairy. In both cases, you should consult your paediatrician.
Dark Green: Iron is necessary for a baby’s growth and development, but if they are showing signs of constipation, talk to your doctor.
Red: Elements of red in your child’s stool isn’t necessarily cause for concern. A constipated baby might produce harder poops with reddish streaks which may be caused by straining. Check with your paediatrician about what to do. Watery, red streaked poop might signify a bacterial infection. In which case, consult a doctor.
White or Grey: Contact your doctor immediately as this may indicate a lack of bile being produced.
Black: Black poop is a definite cause for concern so contact a doctor immediately. Beyond the meconium stage, it may mean blood in the digestive system.