Becoming a mom and experiencing some of my first anxieties about motherhood made me realize I care an awful lot about poop. Never in my life did I think I would care about poop, but here I am, four children later, still worried about how often my child is or isn’t pooping, the color of their poop, and wondering if what I am eating is causing digestive issues.
Please tell me I am not alone!
The reality is, as infants grow, their poop patterns change and slow down. Babies can poop many times a day, while some poop a few times a week, both of which are totally normal. What might not be normal is the color of their poop. I was surprised to find out that poop color can be an indicator of our health and not always just a representation of what we’ve eaten. So, what’s the scoop on your baby’s poop?
If your child has red poop, this may indicate blood. Check with your pediatrician if you notice red poop to be certain that there isn’t anything serious going on. Your child may experience red poop due to a small tear in the anus because of hard stool. When checked by a pediatrician, they might recommend stool softeners, prunes, fluids, or dietary changes to see if the blood disappears. If red poop persists, or if your child isn’t acting or eating like they normally would, call your pediatrician again.
Red poop can also be caused by antibiotics, food, or drinks that your child is consuming that bind with iron. This causes the poop to become red. Beets and other foods or drinks can also cause red poop.
Green poop usually means that stool has traveled through your child’s intestines faster than normal. This can be perfectly normal—especially in breastfed babies—as long as your baby is gaining weight and developing properly. Green poop can also be a result of high fiber foods, such as broccoli and other healthy green vegetables. If your child has had a stomach bug, they might have diarrhea that is green. Green poop can also be the result of dyed foods and beverages, especially from blue food dye. If you’re worried about your child not properly gaining weight or having a stomach bug often, consult your pediatrician.
Breastfed babies usually have yellow poop. Sometimes, it can even look like mustard has been squirted into their diaper. Older children also might experience yellow poop, which is perfectly fine. However, if yellow poop persists, or is associated with tummy pain or diarrhea, consult a pediatrician. It can be a sign of irritation, inflammation, or infection in the intestines.
White, chalky poop, even grey poop is okay – as long as it is only one diaper. It’s often from something unusual that your child ate. However, if your child is experiencing white poop for more than one diaper, call your pediatrician. It can be a sign of a liver problem or other serious medical condition that needs attention immediately.
Black poop that doesn’t have blood can be due to your child’s diet, vitamins, or even constipation. It should only be occasional. True black poop that is persistent can be a sign of blood higher up in the intestines that appears black by the time it is passed. If your child is having more than a few black stools in a row, consult your pediatrician. They may test the stool to see if it is true blood or from your child’s diet. If it is blood, your child will need further evaluation.