Share your location for a better experience

Please enter your city or town so we can help you find the right care at the right place.

Click the X to continue without setting your location

Get care nowSign in

Health news and blog

    DOODOO GAGA: Your Guide to Baby Poop

    DOODOO GAGA: Your Guide to Baby Poop

    DOODOO GAGA: Your Guide to Baby Poop

    Learn more about SCL Health's Pregnancy and Baby Services.

    Checking your baby's diaper is kind of like checking your car's oil, and it can tell you a lot about the health of your baby. But just because their poop is an abnormal color isn't always a cause of concern.

    "Some of the most common questions that I receive from new parents involve their baby's stools, "says Collette Chorney, MD, a pediatrician at SCL Health Medical Group - Butte. "There are so many changes that happen over the first few days to months of life. Baby's first stools are meconium stools and are sticky and black-colored. They gradually transition as the baby gets established with breast or bottle feeding to more of a brown/green color, then eventually to a mustard yellow color with a seedy appearance."

    Now it's time to take a peek behind the diaper curtain. Here's a guide for reading your baby's poop.

    Baby Poop Infographic Inline 400

    Meconium movements

    The first deuces your baby drops won't look like what you know as poop. These early bowel movements are gooey, black, tar-like, and don't smell. It's a particular newborn poop that mainly consists of cells and hairs swallowed in the womb. Don't fret.

    "For the first weeks to months of life, babies have very frequent bowel movements, sometimes with every feeding," adds Dr. Chorney. "This gradually stretches out until they settle into a pattern of a couple of bowel movements per day. The exception to this is some breastfed babies may only have a bowel movement every couple of days to once a week, which is completely normal."

    Breastfed baby poop

    Your baby's early brownies won't be so brown. They'll look a little like Dijon mustard, with a runny consistency.

    Formula-fed baby poop

    Formula-fed babies poop too. Theirs look a little different, and it's a shade of yellow or brown with a peanut butter-like consistency.

    What does the color mean?

    It's normal for a baby's poop to change colors. Here are some of the colors you might see and what that might mean.

    Green poop

    Often, if a baby is given an iron-rich food such as spinach, beans, peas, etc., you'll see green in their poop, and it's normal and healthy.

    Orange poop

    Orange in the diaper might take you by surprise, but this is normal for both bottle-fed and breastfed babies.

    Black poop

    While this sounds alarming, it might come from the mother's cracked or bleeding nipples. It's likely not to be a problem (for the baby at least), but it's a good idea to check with a doctor to make sure it's not more severe.

    Diaper Warning Signs

    "There are a few warning signs that I always share with parents. If your baby has tarry black stools (beyond the first few days of life), bright red stools, or white/clay-colored stools, please have your child see their pediatrician," says Dr. Chorney. "Also, see your baby's pediatrician if they are having very hard, formed stools as this can be a sign of constipation."

    Here are some more signs that there could be something wrong.

    Bright Red

    Red, bloody poop is a cause for concern. There are many usual, harmless reasons for it to happen, but it's worth bringing up to your pediatrician.


    While we said before, a black stool can happen for totally harmless reasons, and it can also be a sign that there's something wrong. If it's meconium, that's normal.

    White or Grey

    White-colored poop is rare and is a definite sign that there could be something wrong. Call your healthcare provider and talk to them about it, as it could be a sign that your little one has a liver condition.

    Your baby will poop a lot and while you'll likely want to get it out of your face as quickly as possible, always take a minute to inspect the diaper before tossing it in the bin.