In the first few days and weeks of your baby’s life, the color, texture, and smell of their bowel movements will change rapidly. With so much variation (and some dramatic colors), it can be hard to know what’s normal and what might be cause for concern.
Black poop at first is not unusual
Your baby’s first few poops will be thick, dark green or close to black, and tar-like. This sight can be a little alarming, but it’s perfectly normal. It’s meconium, or waste that accumulated in your baby’s intestines in utero. After meconium passes, your newborn’s poop will start to change. During this transition time, you’ll likely see loose, grainy, lighter-colored stools that may contain mucus.
What’s typical in the first month of life
Once your baby’s digestive system adjusts to milk or formula, their poop will likely become more consistent.
- Seedy and mustard-yellow bowl movements are typical for breastfed babies. They can be lumpy and have varying texture. They smell vaguely sweet, nothing at all like adult poop.
- If your baby drinks formula, their poop will typically have a fairly uniform texture and vary from yellow to brown to green. It may smell slightly sweet.
When to call the pediatrician
- You may sometimes see watery poop that’s greener and looser than usual. If this happens a few times in a row, your baby may have diarrhea.
- Green poop can be normal, but if you see frothy, foamy green poop often—and your baby is gaining weight but is frequently gassy and upset—it may be a sign of “lactose overload.” This kind of poop is caused by your baby’s inability to digest the amount of lactose they’re taking in. A deeper latch, different positions or more frequent feedings may help.
- At the other end of the hydration spectrum, unusually hard poops can be a sign of constipation. Don’t use a home treatment without talking to your child’s doctor.
- Pink poop may mean there’s blood. There are lots of causes of pink poop, including harmless ones, but it needs to be checked out. Hang on to a diaper for help with diagnosis.
When your baby starts solid foods around 6 months, poop will change all over again. For now, know that color, smell, and texture changes are normal—and always check with your child’s pediatrician if you have concerns.
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