A Guide to Your Newborn or Infant's Poop

Mother changing baby's poopy diaper
Ridofranz / Getty Images
In This Article

Baby poop can cause stress and anxiety for parents. From the color and consistency to the amount of poop your child produces, it can be hard to tell what's normal. Whether you're breastfeeding, formula feeding, or a combination of both, here's a guide to what's normal and what isn't when it comes to your baby's poop.

Newborn Poop

The number of times your newborn has a bowel movement will vary, but most have at least one or two bowel movements a day in the first month. However, this is not true for all newborns. In the first week of life, a breastfed baby may have a bowel movement with almost every feeding. A formula-fed newborn, on the other hand, will have fewer poopy diapers. Both are normal.

Baby's First Poop

The first type of poop or stool your baby will have is called meconium. Meconium is black or dark green, and it looks a little bit like tar. It is thick, sticky, and difficult to clean off of your baby's bottom. Meconium stools last for 24 to 48 hours.

Breastfeeding can help the meconium pass out of your baby’s body, since the first breast milk, colostrum, is a natural laxative. But formula-fed babies should have no trouble passing meconium either. If your baby does not have a bowel movement in the first 24 hours after birth, however, let your healthcare provider know.

Transitional Poop 

Between the third and sixth day of life, the thick black meconium will begin to change into a thinner, looser greenish-brown or greenish-yellow transitional stool. The transitional stool is a combination of meconium and the next phase of poop called milk stools. 

Milk Stools

After the sixth day, your child should no longer have meconium in their body, and they will begin having milk stools. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, the poop will often be a golden, mustard yellow color, but the color can be a variety of shades from orange to green. These bowel movements tend to be loose and unformed with a mild odor. They may or may not contain curds of milk, called seeds. 

If you are using infant formula, your child's poop will be firmer and have a stronger odor. The color of the formula poop appears in shades of tan to brown. If you are combining breastfeeding and formula feeding, you will get a combination of breast milk stools and formula stools.

Baby Poop After One Month

After the first month, it's normal for a baby to have poop in every diaper, but it's also normal for a baby to have a bowel movement once every few days or even longer. The consistency of the poop is more important than the frequency. If your baby's poop looks like pebbles or is any stiffer or thicker than peanut butter, this could be a sign of constipation.

Some breastfed infants will not have a bowel movement for several days. The lack of poop is not constipation. Since newborns can digest breast milk easily, there is often very little waste. Less waste means fewer bowel movements. It's not something you have to worry about. Nor do you need to be concerned about frequent loose stools; breastfeeding actually helps prevent diarrhea.

Baby Poop Colors

Baby poop can be a variety of colors, and it can be shocking to open a diaper and see something you weren't expecting. Most colors are normal.

  • Black or dark green: The first baby poop your newborn will have after birth and for the first day (meconium)
  • Green: A mix of meconium and breast milk or formula poop in the first few days of life
  • Green-brown, yellow-brown, or tan: Poop in a baby who is formula fed or consumes both breast milk and formula
  • Mustard yellow, yellow-orange, or yellow-green: Breast milk poop 
  • Brown, yellow-brown: Poop after the introduction of solid foods

In a few cases, an unusual color of poop can be a sign of a medical problem. Contact your baby's doctor if you see these colors in your baby's diaper:

  • Blackish-green: Tar-like, blackish meconium poop is no longer normal after the fifth day of life.
  • Black: After the meconium period is over, black poop could indicate bleeding from inside the digestive tract.
  • White, gray, or colorless: Although rare, this could be a sign of a problem with the liver or gallbladder.

Baby Poop After Starting Solid Foods

The color, frequency, and consistency of your baby's poop will change again once you introduce solid foods at approximately 4 to 6 months of age. At this point, the bowel movements will be thicker and more formed.

The foods that you feed your baby will change the color of the stool, too. For example, carrots and sweet potatoes can turn poop orange, while green beans and peas may turn it green. You may also see foods that do not get digested at all and end up in the diaper in their original form. The introduction of solid foods can increase the chances of constipation.

Baby Poop Concerns

When it comes to baby poop, there is a wide range of normal colors and consistencies. But if you are ever concerned about a change in your child's bowel movements, don't hesitate to contact your pediatrician.

Constipation

Constipation is when a baby has trouble passing the poop from their body or when the stool is hard and dry. If your little one is constipated, they will show signs of difficulty or pain while trying to move their bowels. Blood in your baby's stool could be a sign of a fissure or a small tear in the baby’s anus from straining while trying to pass a bowel movement.

Since it is not a normal poop pattern for babies, call your child's pediatrician if you notice signs of constipation. Do not give a constipated baby water or juice unless your doctor tells you to.

Diarrhea

True diarrhea will usually appear as a frequent watery stool, often green or brown in color, with a foul odor. Diarrhea in infants can be very dangerous because of the risk of dehydration. If your child has diarrhea for longer than 24 hours, notify the pediatrician. Continue to offer your baby breast milk and/or formula as often as possible to keep them hydrated.

Infection

You should also call the doctor if you notice mucus (slimy, greenish streaks) in your baby's poop. Sometimes this is a result of a baby drooling, but it could also be a sign of infection.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Baby's first bowel movements. Updated May 21, 2012.

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Baby's first days: Bowel movements and urination. Updated August 1, 2009.