Baby Poop - What's Normal & What Isn't? | Huggies® US (2023)

Your newborn baby’s first poops

Meconium is the first poop you will notice in your newborn, and it won’t look like “normal” poop. But it definitely is for a newborn! Meconium is a greenish, sticky, tar-like substance that gradually fills your baby's intestine while they are growing in your uterus. The appearance of meconium following birth is normal and is a good sign that your baby’s bowels are working.

Next is transitional stools. Some 24 hours after giving birth to your child, you will begin to see transitional stools, which are dark greenish-yellow in color—this means most if not all of the meconium has passed. These early poops are loose, and sometimes have a seedy texture, which is more commonly seen in breastfed babies. Within day two to three of your newborn baby’s life, they should have about two transitional poops. By day three to five, you should expect three poops, and their bowel movements will continue on from there.
In those first few poops, you may see traces of mucus and blood due to your baby swallowing some of your blood during birth, especially in baby girls. This could be caused by hormones from the mother. However, if this happens after the first week, save the bloody diaper and call your pediatrician immediately.

Types of baby poop and what they mean

What to expect, depending on food source: Newborns are either formula-fed or breastfed. Here’s what to expect for both where poop is concerned.

Formula-fed babies: Formula-fed babies should have orange or greenish-tan poops, and they might be a little more formed and pasty than a breastfed baby’s poop. Your formula-fed baby will most likely poop once a day, but it could be once every two to three days. If your baby has gone longer than a week without pooping, call your doctor.

Breastfed babies: Breastfed babieshave poop that is either yellow or orange. It is often described as mustard-colored and seedy, or not fully formed. It could be pale yellow or orange, or bright. Your baby’s poop should be about the size of a mandarin orange each time, and a little mucus is normal. Breastfed babies have frequent poops throughout the day, usually after they eat. Be sure to change your baby’s diaper as soon as you see the wetness indicator change colors to prevent diaper rash.

No matter how your newborn is fed, you can expect the number of poops to decrease around two months of age or so as they become more efficient poopers.

Colors of baby poop and what they mean

The color of your baby’s poop is a huge indicator of what’s going on in their little tummies. Seeing a different color poop in your baby’s diaper can be alarming, but many of these colors are normal and ever-changing. If anything appears that you think is not normal, call your child’s doctor and save the dirty diaper.

Colors of poop
The color of your child’s poop can tell you a lot about what’s going on in their body.

Yellow, green, orange, brown or tan: Congrats, your baby is pooping normally! Each time your baby poops it might be a different shade of one of these colors. Your baby’s digestive system is still maturing, so expect a lot of variety.

Thick and brown: As your baby's diet changes with the introduction of solid food, their poop will become soft and mushy. It is considered normal.

Dry, hard and brown: This color bowel movement may be a sign of constipation. Please be sure to contact your baby’s healthcare provider for an official diagnosis and care plan.

Thick and yellow: Formula-fed babies will have this color poop with a soft butter-like consistency. The odor may smell like regular poop but not as strong.

Dark green: If your baby is taking iron supplements—and many do—their poop might be dark green. If your baby is at a solid-feeding stage and is having dark green poops, you most likely introduced a dark green food to them. If your baby’s poop has green streaks with mucus, that could also be a sign of an infection.

Bright green: This color poop with a frothy consistency in breastfed newborns may indicate your baby is changing between breasts too often and getting less of the fatty hindmilk (creamier and more calorie-rich). You may want to consider feeding more frequently and ensuring one breast is fully empty before offering the other breast.

Orange: This color poop may be directly related to something your baby has eaten. Fruits and vegetables with beta carotene such as sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, and oranges may turn your babies poop orange.

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Medication (e.g., some antibiotics and antacids) may also cause your baby's poop to be this color.

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Warning colors of baby poop and what they mean

Some colors could spell an infection. Check with your baby’s healthcare provider if you see any of these colors.

Watery and yellow: Watery poop that lasts more than a day may signify an infection. Please be sure to reach out to your baby’s healthcare provider immediately.

Watery and green: If your baby’s poop is watery and green, it may likely indicate that your baby has diarrhea, especially if greener than usually in color. Make sure to change diapers often to prevent the development of a diaper rash.

Additionally, it is essential to ensure your baby remains hydrated. Liquid electrolytes may be helpful during this time. Please get in touch with your baby’s healthcare provider for proper dosing.

If watery green poop lasts greater than 24 hours, please be sure to contact your baby’s healthcare provider for an official diagnosis and plan of care.

Red: Red is a concerning color for baby poop for a newborn. Your child’s poop might be red from introducing a red-colored food like beets once they reach solids, but red before solid feeding should immediately result in a call to your pediatrician, as it could be blood. Red poop can also indicate a milk protein allergy.

Black: If you have a newborn, their first poop might be meconium, which is black in color. This is normal. Meconium is a substance that gradually fills in your baby's intestines while in your uterus. It is normal and usually passes within one to two days of life.

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If thick, black poop occurs when your baby is more than 3 days old, it could indicate bleeding in the digestive tract. This is dangerous, and you should contact your baby’s healthcare provider immediately.

Note: iron supplements or iron-fortified formula may sometimes cause stool to turn dark brown or black. In this case, it would be considered normal. Always check with your healthcare provider to ensure it is normal for your baby.

White or gray: If your child is experiencing white poops that are often described as chalky in texture, call your pediatrician immediately, as it can be a sign of a liver problem. Gray poop signifies there might be a digestive concern.

Constipation and diarrhea

It’s very rare for newborns to actually be constipated—oftentimes, they strain to poop because they’re new to the action. Most constipation happens in older infants who are starting to eat solid foods. But constipation can occur in newborns. Signs to look out for include:

  • Infrequent bowel movements
  • Crying, straining or arching their back while trying to poop
  • Hard, pellet-like poop
  • A heavily swollen or bloated belly
  • Any change in bowel movement frequency

You can try bicycling your baby’s legs or doing a light infant massagearound your baby’s tummy to help them get things going. More intense therapies such as suppositories should be discussed with your pediatrician.

Diarrhea in newborns can be caused by a few things, such as:

  • A change in the mother’s diet
  • A virus or bacterial infection
  • Use of antibiotics

If you suspect your baby has diarrhea (and not just typical breastfed newborn seedy poop), you’ll need to take action to prevent dehydration by feeding your baby more often. If it lasts more than a few days, call your pediatrician for help.

Using the right diapers and wipes

The diapersand wipesyou use will go a long way in helping your baby stay comfortable while they learn to poop—in fact, Huggies® relies directly on science to create its diapers, using it to inform everything from its breathable outer covers to absorbent cores. The same applies to Huggies® wipestoo. They are plant-based and pH-balanced, and a triple purified water-based solution is used to create them.

Huggies® Special Delivery™and Huggies® Little Snugglersare diapers specially made with newborns and newborn sensitive skin in mind. The wetness indicator on diapers can help alert parents to a need for a diaper change, reducing irritation and helping keep your baby comfortable.

Make sure your baby is also in the right diaper sizeto help prevent blowouts. Look for fragrance-freeand alcohol-freewipes to help prevent diaper rash, especially when your newborn is pooping many times a day.

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When to call your doctor

If your baby’s poop hasn’t undergone any changes in the first few days, if they’re not pooping enough or if the poop is one of the warning colors, call your child’s pediatrician.

Poop color visual guide

Download visual guide


Baby Poop - What's Normal & What Isn't? | Huggies® US (1)

The information contained on this article should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your health care professional.

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FAQs

When should I worry about my baby's stool? ›

If you're ever concerned about your baby's bowel movements, call your child's pediatrician for advice. You should also take your baby to the pediatrician if they have diarrhea accompanied by a fever. Extremely hard and dry stools are usually a sign of constipation.

What does not normal baby poop look like? ›

There's a rainbow of colors when it comes to baby poop. Some colors are quite normal, including green and everything from yellow to brown. However, certain colors can be warning signs: red, black, white, or gray. In some cases, red-colored and very dark green almost black-colored poop could be from food sources.

What does concerning baby poop look like? ›

If your baby isn't producing bile (which gives your stool its characteristic color), it will look colorless, white or chalky. This can be a sign of a serious liver or gallbladder problem. Black: While tar-like stools are normal in newborns, they are a cause for concern if your child is more than three days old.

What baby poop can tell you? ›

The Bottom Line. Baby poop comes in many colors, and most variations are normal—i.e. it is common for baby poop to be yellow, brown, and green. If you see other colors in your baby's poop—like red, white, black (after the meconium stage), or pale yellow—make an appointment with your doctor to rule out health problems.

What does yellow liquid diarrhea mean in babies? ›

Yellow watery diarrhea in babies

It's usually the result of a short-term illness such as an infection or food poisoning. In some cases, though, an underlying medical condition may cause diarrhea.

What are the seeds in baby poop? ›

These little “seeds” are undigested milk fat, which is entirely normal. Formula-fed babies' stools are usually a little firmer, often the consistency of peanut butter. Extremely loose, watery stools may indicate that the baby is not absorbing nutrients as well as they should.

What does a dehydrated babies poop look like? ›

Very firm or pebble-like stools require a call to the doctor. This can sometimes indicate that the child is dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration might include decreased tears, lack of saliva, and a sunken look in the eyes and the infant's soft spot.

What does cow's milk allergy poop look like? ›

Your baby's stools may be loose and watery. They may also appear bulky or frothy. They can even be acidic, which means you may notice diaper rash from your baby's skin becoming irritated.

What does healthy infant poop look like? ›

Breastfed newborns usually have seedy, loose bowel movements that look like light mustard. Yellow or tan. If you feed your newborn formula, your baby's bowel movements might become yellow or tan with hints of green. They will be slightly more firm than breastfed bowel movements, but no firmer than peanut butter.

What does baby diarrhea poop look like? ›

What Does Baby Diarrhea Look Like? Exclusively formula-fed babies tend to have tan-brown poop, while exclusively breastfeeding infants have loose, yellow, and seedy stool.

What causes mucus in baby stool? ›

You may notice mucus in your baby's poop that's stringy; slimy; and yellow, green, or brown in color. The intestines produce mucus during digestion – to help the stool move through the intestine. Some of this may show up in your baby's diaper, and this is perfectly normal, especially for breastfed babies.

What causes green mucus poop in babies? ›

Green mucousy stool is a sign that baby's intestines are irritated. If this lasts a few days and then starts getting better, it's probably a virus or a mild reaction to something in mom's diet.

What does baby poop look like with milk allergy? ›

How does poop change with a milk allergy? The most common sign that a baby is allergic to milk is blood in their stool. A baby's poop may also become more runny and frequent, similar to diarrhea. It may also contain mucus.

What is mustard yellow baby poop? ›

Breastfed baby poop is considered normal when it's a mustard yellow, green or brown color. It is typically seedy and pasty in texture and may be runny enough to resemble diarrhea. Healthy breastfed stools will smell sweet (unlike regular bowel-movement odor).

What virus causes yellow watery diarrhea? ›

Giardiasis. Giardiasis is a disease from a parasite that causes diarrhea. You get it after coming in contact with contaminated water, food, or surfaces and then touching your mouth. It is very contagious and is more common in areas with poor sanitation.

What does mustard yellow diarrhea mean? ›

Yellow stool may indicate a malabsorption disorder caused by a parasite, illness, or disease. Malabsorption of fat can lead to an increased fat content in stools, which can be pale, large, foul-smelling, and loose. This is known as steatorrhea, and complications may include: malnutrition.

What does seedy looking poop mean? ›

This is a normal color of poop from a baby who drinks breast milk. Their poop tends to be dark yellow, and it may have small flecks in it. These flecks come from breast milk and are harmless. People often describe this poop as “seedy.” The so-called seeds may resemble curds in cottage cheese, but they are yellow.

Can formula cause seedy poop? ›

The poop of formula-fed babies is usually more tan or brown and less yellow than breastfed babies. Formula-fed baby poop is also usually a bit thicker than breastfed baby poop and is not typically seedy in appearance.

What kind of infection causes mucus in baby stool? ›

A bacterial or viral infection (stomach flu) can irritate the intestines and lead to inflammation. The result is increased mucus in baby's poop. Additional symptoms that could indicate infection include fever and irritability. Babies with an infection may also have green stool.

What are three common signs of dehydration in infants? ›

Signs of dehydration include:
  • a dry or sticky mouth.
  • few or no tears when crying.
  • eyes that look sunken.
  • in babies, the soft spot (fontanelle) on top of the head looks sunken.
  • peeing less or fewer wet diapers than usual.
  • crankiness.
  • drowsiness or dizziness.

Does green poop in babies mean colic? ›

However, luckily, green poops are usually not a sign of a serious medical concern. Often, they just indicate that your baby ate green food (or the breastfeeding parent did), they have a food intolerance, or a viral or bacterial infection that's causing tummy troubles.

How do I know if my baby has diarrhea or just loose stool? ›

Suspect diarrhea if the stools suddenly increase in number or looseness. If it lasts for 3 or more stools, the baby has diarrhea. If the stools contain mucus, blood, or smells bad, this points to diarrhea. Other clues to diarrhea are poor eating, acting sick or a fever.

What does lactose poop look like? ›

Loose stools

Sometimes your child might pass loose, watery, yellow and green coloured stools after two hours of consuming milk or any other dairy product. This could be a sign of lactose intolerance in the baby.

What are signs of lactose intolerance in babies? ›

Diarrhoea can be a symptom of lactose intolerance in babies.
  • pain and swelling in the tummy.
  • failure to settle at feeding times, coming on and off the breast.
  • failure to gain weight.
  • diarrhoea.
  • bulky, frothy and watery faeces.
  • red bottom with skin worn away in places.
  • passing wind and crying when passing faeces.
  • irritability.

What are signs of milk intolerance in babies? ›

Symptoms of lactose intolerance include:
  • diarrhoea.
  • vomiting.
  • stomach rumbling and pains.
  • wind.

Does formula cause green poop? ›

In some babies, the iron sulfate in a supplement or iron-fortified baby formula can make dark-green​ stools, or sometimes even greenish-black. There is no need to be concerned with the color change, as it has no significance to your baby's digestive system.

What color is teething diarrhea? ›

You might also notice changes with: Color. Diarrhea may turn poop into something green or darker than usual.

Is it OK if baby poop is watery? ›

An occasional loose poop is not usually a problem. However, if you see two or more watery bowel movements, your baby may have diarrhea. Call your baby's doctor right away if: You have a newborn.

How do you stop yellow watery diarrhea in babies? ›

Treatments at home
  1. Keep your baby hydrated. Keep breastfeeding if you're nursing. ...
  2. Ask your pediatrician about electrolyte drinks for babies like Pedialyte. ...
  3. Change your baby's diaper often. ...
  4. If your little one is eating solid foods, give them bits of foods that may help soothe diarrhea.
30 Jul 2020

What causes yellow mucus in stool? ›

Mucus in stool is normal but when you see a lot of white or yellowish mucus, it means you may have a GI problem, like a stomach bug, IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac, or other issue. It's important to make sure something in your diet isn't causing it and see a doctor to look for an underlying intestinal issue.

How much mucus is too much in baby poop? ›

They should be seen by a doctor if the mucus keeps showing up for two days or more. In rare cases, baby poop with mucus can be a sign of intussusception, a medical emergency. This means the baby's intestines have slid into each other, blocking blood flow to the intestines.

Does milk allergy cause mucus in stool? ›

While constipation is less common than diarrhea, it could also be a sign of cow's milk allergy. Blood resulting from irritation in the gut can also be a sign of cow's milk allergy in infants. Sticky mucus in their stools could resemble the mucus you see when you have a cold or runny nose.

Does green poop mean diarrhea in babies? ›

Most often, green stools are caused by bile. Green stools are more common in formula fed than breastfed infants. But, they can be normal with both. Green stools are more common with diarrhea.

What color is milk allergy poop? ›

Many babies with gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) suffer from a cow's milk protein allergy, as well. Babies with this type of allergy often have weight gain issues, and tend to have green, watery, frothy bowel movements.

Does mucus in baby poop always mean allergy? ›

A small amount of mucus in a baby's poop is likely no cause for concern if there are no other symptoms. However, large quantities of mucus, mucus that appears in several stools in a row, or accompanying signs of diarrhea could each point to an allergy, a gastrointestinal infection, or another problem.

What are the symptoms of a milk protein allergy? ›

Immediate signs and symptoms of milk allergy might include:
  • Hives.
  • Wheezing.
  • Itching or tingling feeling around the lips or mouth.
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat.
  • Coughing or shortness of breath.
  • Vomiting.
16 Jun 2022

How can you tell a baby is dehydrated? ›

Signs of dehydration include:
  • a dry or sticky mouth.
  • few or no tears when crying.
  • eyes that look sunken.
  • in babies, the soft spot (fontanelle) on top of the head looks sunken.
  • peeing less or fewer wet diapers than usual.
  • crankiness.
  • drowsiness or dizziness.

How many times a healthy baby should poop? ›

Expect at least 3 bowel movements per day, but may be up to 4-12 for some babies. After this, baby may only poop every few days. Baby will usually pass more stool after starting solids. Newborn will pass meconium by 24-48 hours after birth.

What does dehydrated baby poop look like? ›

Also check what your baby's poop looks like. Very watery or explosive poops might mean your baby has diarrhea and is losing water. Dry, hard poops might mean your baby is a bit dehydrated. Both kinds of poops mean it's time to give your little one an extra feed or more.

How do you rehydrate a baby? ›

Keeping your child hydrated
  1. carry on breastfeeding your baby or using formula – try to give small amounts more often than usual.
  2. give your baby small sips of extra water if they're on formula or solid foods.
  3. give regular small sips of rehydration solution to replace lost fluids – ask your pharmacist to recommend one.

What are the 5 signs of dehydration? ›

Symptoms
  • Dry mouth and tongue.
  • No tears when crying.
  • No wet diapers for three hours.
  • Sunken eyes, cheeks.
  • Sunken soft spot on top of skull.
  • Listlessness or irritability.
14 Oct 2021

Why is baby's poop green? ›

Green Baby Poop: Babies taking an iron-supplement will often have green baby poop. Green baby poop can also occur at 4 to 6 months when they start eating solid, green foods, such as pureed peas, spinach and beans. Orange, Yellow and Brown Stools: These colors are normal in breastfed and bottle fed babies.

Why is my baby so gassy? ›

Common causes for baby gas

If your baby is flatulent, there could be many culprits for it. Some of the most common causes of increased gassiness include feeding issues, formula or food intolerance, crying and constipation.

How many poops a day is considered diarrhea for baby? ›

Diarrhea isn't just a loose stool; it's a watery stool that occurs up to 12 times a day.

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