Poop (Frequency, Color, Consistency)

New Moms and Dads often know a lot about “what to expect.” But one of the places they don’t always know what to expect is in the diaper.

What’s normal baby poop? How often should my baby go to the bathroom? Is that color normal?

All new parents have asked themselves those questions at least once. And probably more. Since every baby is different, what’s “normal” can vary. A lot. But here’s some info to help answer those questions…

Frequency

Baby Diaper

Some babies stool after every feeding, some once a day, and some once every other day. Breastfeeding babies can even go as long as 10 days in between!

It’s important to remember that babies can change the way they poop as they get older. A breastfed baby can stool 6-10 times a day in the first several weeks, and then slow down and have less frequent stools.

Color/Consistency

For the first 2-3 Days: MeconiumThese first stools are thick, black, tarry, and sticky. This stool is everything that baby ingested while inside mom (in utero).

Days 2-5: Transitional Stool It’s lighter than meconium (not as black in color; it looks more green) and is less sticky, so it’ easier to clean up!. This stool lets us know that babies are getting the hang of digesting breast milk or formula.

By Day 6: Breastfed Poop

Breastfed babies usually have soft, mushy stools that are a bit runny and look “seedy.”  The color of breastfed poop is usually a yellow/golden color but can be anywhere from orange to green. The color can even change depending on what mom has had to eat!

By Day 6: Formula-Fed Poop

Formula-fed babies usually have thicker stool than breastfed babies. It’s generally pasty, and usually a variation of the color brown (for ex., greenish brown or yellowish brown)

As a general rule for all poop, any shade of brown, tan, yellow, or green is normal.

Solid Food & Stool

The introduction of solid foods (around 4 to 6 months of age) will likely change the color, consistency, and frequency of stools. The color usually becomes darker brown — though what baby eats can affect the color. Carrots and sweet potatoes, for example, can make the stool look orange; green veggies can make the stool look very green! The stool becomes thicker and more formed. You can even see undigested food in the diaper in its original form.

When to Call the Office

  • If the stool is black after the meconium period is over. (This stool will look like meconium, but be firmer and stickier.)
  • If the stool is red/bloody. (Normal poop with a red tinge may mean a milk protein allergy or intolerance. If the stool is hard with a smear of red blood, it may mean irritation to the anus.)
  • If there is mucous in the stool. (This may be a sign of infection or allergy.)
  • If the stool is white or gray. (This may be a problem with liver or gallbladder.)
  • If the stool is large and hard, difficult to pass, or like hard, dry pebbles. (For more information, see Dr. Maddalena’s Note on Constipation in Infants.
  • If you have any questions or concerns. (That’s why we’re here!)

Jonette McClelland, a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner, joined Kids Plus in 2012.