The Truth About Baby's Poop
First Week Poop
During the first few days of life, your baby will have a sticky dark greenish-black stool called meconium. Baby can have their first bowel movement earth-side only moments after birth. The stool is dark because it is breaking down all the fluids that they were ingesting inside the amniotic sac. This stool usually continues for the first 1-4 days of life.
As baby transitions to drinking milk (breast and/or formula), there will be a brief period where their stool is more greenish-brown and loose. This usually happens on days 3-5. It is expected that baby would have at least one stool a day during this time, but it would not be unusual for them to pass more than one stool a day.
For breastfed babies, stool is often described as “yellow and seedy”. The color can range from a yellowish-brown to a brighter-yellow or even orange tinge. This is normal! As breast milk is digested, it leaves behind small “seeds” or “curdles”. Typically, baby will continue to have this type of stool until solid food or formula is introduced. In the first month, baby will poop a few times a day and may even poop with every feeding. After the initial four weeks, babies will begin to have more extended periods between stools.
Formula-fed babies have a tan, “peanut buttery” texture poop. This can be the case for babies that are fed both breastmilk and formula. Yellowish-tan and a light tan-green are normal variations as baby’s digestive system matures. Typically, formula-fed infants will stool every few hours the first month of life; this will change to about once a day as baby gets older.
Solid Food Poop
When you first introduce your baby to solid foods, their stool will initially become thicker and often a bit greenish-brown. As they transition away from the breast and/or bottles and into toddlerhood their stool will continue to look more and more like adult poop. After starting solids, your child might have unusual colored stool from natural and synthetic food dyes. Beets can cause pinkish/red stool, whereas cereals with dye have been known to cause lime and even blueish-colored stool. Quite often, red stool is no reason to panic, but if you have any reason to believe there is blood in your child’s stool, please call their pediatrician.
Things to Watch Out For
Diarrhea in babies looks watery and can be yellow, brown, or green. Occasional diarrhea is not uncommon, but if your baby doesn’t have a normal stool for 24 hours, please check with your pediatrician because diarrhea causes dehydration.
A constipated baby may have pellet-like poop that can be small, dry, brown, and hard. This is more common in formula-fed babies because of iron supplementation in formulas. Constipation that causes pain or lasts more than two days is considered abnormal.
If your child has black stool any time after the first five days of life, please call your pediatrician. While infant stool can vary, it's essential to check it carefully to rule out any bleeding in the stomach when your child’s stool is black. Finally, chalky-grey stool is also abnormal and should be reported to your child’s pediatrician.