Tips to Decode Baby Poop - What Infant Stools Can Tell You?
Created by Anurima Updated on Jan 21, 2019
As a first time mom, I was told by the midwives to keep an eye on my baby’s poop so as to understand more about her health. It sounded a little silly but nevertheless, I began scanning my daughter’s diaper every time she pooped, every day for weeks and months together. My husband, on the other hand, thought I was being paranoid and getting obsessed with poop! By the time I had my son, almost 3 years later, I knew a lot more about baby poop and how to understand it to assess my child’s health.
Decoding Baby's Poop
Here is a little article to help new parents decode their baby’s poop and know more about how their baby is feeling on a particular day. Check these carefully
Newborn Poop or Meconium: A new baby’s stools also called meconium are usually dark and appear greenish-black. This is perfectly normal. The dark colour is due to the presence of Bilirubin, a yellowish green breakdown of red blood cells. The consistency is quite loose, which is absolutely normal.
What to do?
Meconium is temporary and usually lasts for the first three days after your baby’s birth after which the poop changes to a yellowish color.
Bright Yellow and Seedy: Breastfed babies have loose, yellow seedy poop with a mild smell. It may look like diarrhea, but it is completely normal for babies who are exclusively breastfed to have poop of this consistency.
What to do?
Nothing! Continue breastfeeding your baby without worrying.
Dark and Thick: Babies who are formula fed usually have a darker poop as compared to those babies who are breastfed. The consistency is thick and the color is brown.
What to do?
There is nothing to worry about. You may continue with the normal feeding routine of your baby. If you switch to a new formula, there may be a change in the consistency of your baby’s poop but that should regularize in a couple of days.
Greenish Brown Color: When you introduce solids, your baby’s poop may change to a greenish brown color. This can also happen if your baby is on an iron supplement. This is completely normal.
What to do?
This stool is considered normal. You may consult the doctor if you notice any other symptom in your baby, such as a cold, fever or excessive irritability.
Baby Poop Warning Signs: When to Call the Doctor?
You can tell a lot about your baby’s health by what is in his/her diaper. Your baby’s poop can be of a variety of texture, color, and odor. However, the following signs need a call to the doctor for advice.
Brown, watery or loose: Your baby may occasionally have brownish loose stools and it’s no cause for concern. Keep an eye on your baby’s diaper. If the loose stools continue for two days or more and are coupled with any more signs—discomfort to the child, resistance to feeding, fever, listlessness etc.--it could be diarrhea. Diarrhea could be a sign for infection and could lead to dehydration. Call your baby’s doctor if runny poop persists for more than two days.
Dry, Hard Pebble-like: This consistency signifies that your baby could be constipated. Occasional constipation is normal, just as occasional loose stools are normal. Your baby may be constipated due to a change in formula or when being introduced to solids. To ease your baby’s constipation, give him/her small amounts of extra breast milk or formula to drink. For older babies, little water can be given from time to time. When introducing solids, offer foods with high fiber such as vegetables and fruits to avoid your baby is constipated.
Green, Slimy Streaked: Green streaks with strings indicate a presence of mucus in poop. This could be a sign of an infection and needs to be checked by the doctor.
- White, chalky: Chalky white or greyish poop is a sign that your baby is not properly digesting food. Bile is a digestive fluid made in the liver. If your baby’s liver does not produce bile or if the bile is obstructed, the color of the stool changes to white. This needs immediate attention by the doctor.
- Unusually Smell: Though poop is meant to have a bit of smell, if the smell is very strong, foul, and is different from his normal poop, you may want to get your baby checked by the doctor.
Poop-trouble Symptoms for Your baby
Also, here are some more pointers which may indicate poop-trouble for your baby.
1.) Call the doctor right away if you notice any of the following:
- Blood in stools
- Loss of appetite
- Dark colored urine
- Lethargy or decreased activity
2.) It is normal for babies to pass stools 4-5 times a day to once in two days, but if there is a huge variation in this average, it may indicate trouble.
3.) In case the baby does have loose motions etc., be extra gentle in wiping his bottom clean. Due to frequent pooping and cleaning of the area, the delicate skin is highly prone to a diaper rash. Always ask your doctor a diaper rash cream as well along with the medicines prescribed by the doctor.
4.) Most babies do make strange faces when passing poop as they have to apply pressure. It is normal unless you feel your baby is almost in pain.
Understanding your baby’s health, making informed choices without being worried saves you time to bond better with your baby. Happy diaper scanning!
| Feb 17, 2016
My baby s entering her 7th month. She used to poop immediately while having her solid foods. Is this normal? V just started solid foods like ragi kanji and shall rice like dt only... But she s passing pool once started taking foods three times daily at food times...
| Feb 18, 2016
Hi moms, thanks for your wonderful comments :) Sathya, it is normal for babies to poop several times a day especially when a new food is introduced. Babies' digestive system is still developing and is very delicate so minor changes in food can affect their poop. So dont worry. Hi Sruthi, sounds like your baby is a little constipated which could be due to solids or introduction to new food. Keep giving him water from time to time. He should be fine in a few days time. You may consult the doctor if you notice any of the warning signs as in the blog. Hi Lathika, since your child is older, the foul smell could be from her diet. I dont think there is a need to consult a doctor right away unless you see her unwell with fever, loss of appetite and the like.
| Feb 19, 2016
hi my baby boy is now nine and half months old and he is having problem of constipation from starting as he is mainly feed with formula milk. As he turned eight month old he had problem of lactose intolerance caused diarrhea but within month he recovered meanwhile for a month doctor suggested to feed him with soyamilk because he is not able to digest any kind of milk. When we stared giving soyamilk his constipation problem solved and his stool was with yellow color and normal consistency. With milk i am giving him dal rice, ghee, fruits like papaya, apple, banana, grapes, vegetables like potato, carrot, suji khir, and cerelac stage 2 khichadi. But after this lactose intolerance problem i started giving him mother dairy's double toned milk once in a day (200 ml) but his constipation problem started again and its very much painful for my child. please suggest me what i can do for this problem. Currently i am giving him soyamilk. once i have given him parle G biscuits that also contributed for constipation.
| Feb 25, 2016
Hi Asharani, your baby's constipation could be due to the Mother dairy milk. Babies under the age of 1 year cannot easily digest normal milk. You may try stopping the milk for a week or so to see if there is any change. If his poop is back to normal, then you know for sure that Mother dairy milk was causing it. You may also dilute the milk a little as it will be easier on his tummy. The best thing to do is wait until you baby is closer to turning one and then re-introducing normal milk. It may be easier for him to digest then.
| Feb 25, 2016
Hi, my baby poop color is greenish and sometimes brown with full odour. If i feed him green beans or green peas then his poop color will be like green same as beams and peas vegtables. Why it is coming like that. I feed him carrot, then his poop color is like same as carrot with mixed green and brownish. He is on solid food , he is soon will be in 8 months old. Can you pls tell why his poop is changing ?
| Feb 25, 2016
Hi Madhavi, breastfed babies have a greenish tinge in their poop. You are right in that your baby's poop will be of the colour of the food he is given. Strong odour is also normal and I dont think there is anything to worry about as his poop will change with his diet. Watch out for the warning signs though.
| Mar 10, 2016
Hello ladies My baby poops at a frequent rate of 6 to 10 time a day from past 4 to 5 days. Called my paediatric also she told that it happens as baby has started crolling on the floor and it is normal as far as the baby is active and taking feed. But still I m so worried what to do. Please help ladies
| Jul 21, 2016
hi.. ma baby is 6 and half month old.. he is suffering from chronic diahorea from last 2 and half months.. !his stool is greenish, mucous and more watery.. sometimes he even got blood in the stool.. docs says its a bacterial infection, after doing repeated stool examination.. he also completed 2 doses of antibiotis.. !still his stool is greenish! mucous and almost watery.. But before he used to change 8-10 dirty diapers a day, now thankfully it reduced to 2-5 dirty diapers a day.. but consisteny is almost same(greenish, mucous and almost watery)! docs says bacterial infections takes time to cure by itself and ter are no much medicines to treat it.. if anybody hav idea about tis pbm, plz help.. !!also 2 days back I started feeding him wit little amount of banana, is tat ok?
| Aug 23, 2016
hi pavitra is ur baby fine now. we had this same problem when my baby was 7 months. his condition was very bad he was pooping every 5 minutes and dehyderating. our docter was good but the guy who runs the test was not good he diagnosed the test wrOng n because of that results came different and docter started wrong medicines. so maybe u should go for second opinion also.
| Aug 23, 2016
Hi Anjali, Abhilasha and Nitin.. Thank u very much for the suggestions.. Thankfully ma baby has stopped the diahorea and he is totally fine nw.. Few docs advised me to cut down the diary products in ma diet as it might be the cows milk allergy.. !After doing so and after introducing few semi-solid foods to him, the diahorrea got reduced and stopped completely after certain time.. But still it remained as mystery! We didnt get to know the exact reason why it took four months to get stopped!!!
| Sep 09, 2016
my baby z 3 months old... He generally passes stool every alternate day but since last 3 days he is passing 3ce a day that too lil loose... He is completely on breastfeed.... is it normal or is it a sign of some infection... and there is some change in his activity too ...He is full
| Sep 09, 2016
Hi my baby girl is 6month old and v have stared her banana puree from the last few days. She used to have poop in two days one and rarely two days once but from last month am noticing tat she is having a poop in five days once and v kept a medicine. And now it is the third time she gets the same pblm and again kept the medicine. Is this bz of constipation? How can I cure my babies pblm.
| Sep 20, 2016
my baby girl is 8 month n she hv long time stool problm n still it is. n because of again n again poop she hv cold. i consult to doctor also. but she is ok only 3 4 days only. nw she hv lot of rashesh on head n back. plz plz tel me what i do. she hv green bubble little couf in poop. n i think rashesh is because of medicine's reaction
| Oct 29, 2016
my daughter is 22days old. i was advised to eat a lot of greens and leafy vegetables. now since then i have noticed that her pottyvhas been mehendi green colour along with yellow flaky stools.. now i am unable to understand whether she has any infection!?.. bec even after now having greens for two days.. she continues to pass greenish stools.. with ? mucous. she has however shown no irritation, no change in her activity level, no change in feeding. kindly advice.
| Apr 26, 2017
My baby is not passing stool. She is 10 months old. One day she is another day she is not. As she is not doing potty, she is not hungry... My mother in law is force feeding her. I don't know what to do?? They also starting giving her cold water from matki as its hot. My baby is constipated and i don't know how to relief her. Please help.