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What do baby poop colors mean?

baby poop color

Key points:
1. Observe and understand your baby’s needs from birth.
2. Normal baby stool colors are yellow, green, or brown.
3. Stool color is influenced by baby’s feeding.
4. Different colors can indicate health issues; consult with the pediatrician for guidance.

Every baby is different and unique. That’s why, from the moment they are born, it’s important to watch your child to get to know them and understand their needs, personality, interests, and even their poop color.

When we talk about feces, there are a variety of colors, smells, and textures, many of which fall into the category of normal ーlike the different shades of brown, yellow, or green. In this article, we’ll talk about babies’ evacuations and what their color says about their health.

What baby poop color should I expect?

The expected colors of a baby’s stool are any earthly tonalities like yellow, green, or brown. A factor that influences the color of the feces is the way your baby is being fed. Usually, the poop of breastfed babies has a mustard or even orange color, a very soft consistency, and has little white bits that seem like seeds. On the other hand, the poop of babies that drink formula is harder, since they ingest less water. Often, the consistency is more like a paste and has a yellow, light or dark brown, or tan color. 

There are times when your baby’s evacuations can be of other colors. The usual causes of different poop colors, in more grown-up babies ーwhen they start solid foodsー are due to the coloring or additives in food, but in younger babies, there are times where it can be a sign of a disease and it is recommended to check with your pediatrician.

Here are some explanations for the different baby poop colors:

  • Orange color can appear if the mom has been on medication or eats artificially colored foods. But don’t worry, usually, this color is not a sign of a problem. 
  • White poop can be a symptom of a liver or gallbladder problem. In some cases, it’s due to a dairy allergy, an antibiotic, or antiacid ーif your baby is taking them. 
  • Red or pink poop may be the result of ingesting blood from the mother’s nipple, or because your baby swallowed blood during birth. It can also be a sign of a milk allergy or a rectal fissure. 
  • There are also some rare cases when there are large volumes of blood in the diaper, which is a sign of an infection or problems near the gastrointestinal tract. If that is the reason for the red blood, probably your baby will develop fever or changes in their behavior. 

Either way, it’s important to consult your pediatrician as soon as possible so they can help you sort out the cause of your baby’s poop color.

Furthermore, it’s normal for a newborn to evacuate a black matter on their first day of life. These are not feces, but a waste known as meconium. It is black and has no smell since this waste doesn’t contain any bacteria; the evacuation of this substance is a sign that your little one’s bowels are functioning, and after a few days, your little one’s poop (either of breast milk or formula) will change color to a dark green and then yellow color.

But if your baby’s poop keeps being black after several days, we recommend you consult with your pediatrician, since it can be a sign of accumulation of old blood in your baby. It is important to mention that with older babies, their poop can have a darker color than usual ーbut not blackー if they are consuming iron.

What about the poop consistency?

The consistency of a newborn’s poop is usually thick, and after a few days becomes similar to an apple sauce. As babies get older, around their first or second year, it changes more into a hummus consistency. Also, the consistency of baby poop changes depending on if they are breastfed or formula-fed since breast milk is more liquid. 

If a baby’s poop is too liquid, it may be a sign of diarrhea. Even if their poop is not as solid as a grown-up’s, usually it is not as watery and loose as when there’s diarrhea. This can lead to dehydration, so check the consistency of your baby’s poop when you change their diapers to see if the consistency is not more liquid or greener than usual ーsince that is a sign of diarrhea too. If your baby’s feces is very liquid for more than 24 hours, try consulting with your pediatrician so they can treat your little one.

If your baby’s poop is too hard, it may be a sign they are constipated since your baby’s digestive tract might be absorbing too much water. In older babies, hard feces can be due to food sensitivities or allergies to something specific, or, in some rare cases, they are a sign of a metabolic disorder or anatomical problems, so try asking your pediatrician for guidance. Usually, when a baby is constipated, their stools form tight packs or come out in hard granules, sometimes causing pain or bleeding.

Almost all the baby poop colors and textures that we’ve mentioned before refer to babies that are less than six months old or that haven’t started eating solids. Once your little one starts ingesting solid foods, the consistency and sometimes their poop color will change depending on what they eat. Even so, it’s important to keep in mind the expected colors and those that require a doctor’s appointment. If your baby’s case is too specific or it doesn’t fall into any of the mentioned categories, always consult with your doctor. They will have more information about your specific case.

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