Baby health

Baby poop colour guide

Newborn poop is crazy. But what's normal and when should you worry? This colour-coded guide will save you from scary Google image searches.

By Today's Parent

Baby poop colour guide

Mustard yellow

Why: Mustard yellow is a very standard colour for breastfed babies. The "seed" texture is from partially digested fat and calcium (entirely common). What to do: Keep doing what you're doing!

Baby poop colour guideIllustration by Dave Quiggle

Yellow-brown

Why: Formula-fed babies commonly have pasty yellow-brown poos. "Seed" texture is common here, too. What to do: Keep doing what you're doing!

Baby poop colour guideIllustration by Dave Quiggle

Black

Why: Sticky, tar-like newborn poops are meconium. Though alarming, black stool could also be dried or digested blood from mom's cracked nipples. What to do: Meconium will pass. For new breastfeeders, heal your nipples (check your latch, use your own milk to soothe and give the ladies plenty of air time). If you're concerned, your doctor can perform a quick test to see who the dried blood belongs to. 

Baby poop colour guideIllustration by Dave Quiggle

White

Why: Poo gets its colour from bile, so an absence of colour—chalky white poo—means there isn't enough bile. This may signal a problem with the liver or gallbladder. What to do: If it's a one-off, don't worry. But if it's more than one bowel movement in a row, chalky poo should send you to the doctor.

Baby poop colour guideIllustration by Dave Quiggle

Red

Why: Unless your baby has been gorging on beets, the red in your baby's poo may be blood. Red specks or streaks may be a sign of a reaction or allergy, which affects both breastfed and formula-fed babies. It may also indicate an intestinal problem. If your baby is constipated–passing hard, pellet-like stools–blood could be coming from small anal tears. What to do: See your doctor if you've ruled out constipation as a source of blood in your baby's stool. 

Baby poop colour guideIllustration by Dave Quiggle

Green

Why: A very common colour, green means stool is passing through the gut more quickly than usual. What to do: If your baby is feeding well and happy, and shows no signs of discomfort, don't sweat the green stuff. 

Baby poop colour guideIllustration by Dave Quiggle

Read more:
Baby poop: Guide to texture, smell and frequency 
How to clean meconium

This article was originally published on Jan 11, 2017
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