The normal poop of a healthy breastfed baby is brownish yellow or green, seedy, and sometimes slightly runny.
In the early weeks of a baby’s life, it is common for parents and caregivers to worry about whether the infant is healthy, getting enough food, and sensitive to formula or breast milk.
In the first few days after delivery, the baby may pass thick, blackish stools with a tar-like consistency. Doctors call this stool meconium, and it usually disappears within a few days.
Learn more about breastfed baby poop, including what is normal, what is not, and how the poop will change when introducing solids.
In the early weeks of life, the baby is still establishing their eating and pooping habits. Monitoring their poop during this time can help parents and caregivers decide whether a baby is healthy and getting enough food.
Every baby is different. To monitor a baby’s poop, pay close attention to their usual pattern. A change in this pattern might signal a problem, although it could also just be a sign of a change in the baby’s diet or the diet of the person breastfeeding.
Normal breastfed baby poop should be light-to-medium brown, green, or yellow. Some babies have whitish or yellow seed-like crumbs in their poop. The color tends to be fairly bright, causing some parents and caregivers to worry that the baby has diarrhea, especially when the transition from meconium to normal baby poop occurs.
It is abnormal for breastfed baby poop to be very dark after the meconium has passed. Blackish poop can, therefore, signal an issue.
Breastfed baby poop is soft and occasionally runny. Runny poop is not a problem as long as the baby is feeding well and does not have other issues, such as blood in the stool.
Some breastfed baby poop looks like seeds or grains floating in water or fluid. This is normal. Formula-fed babies typically have thicker poop. If a baby has both breast milk and formula, their poop may be thicker and resemble peanut butter.
A breastfeeding baby may sometimes appear to have mucus in their poop. This is not a cause for concern. Learn more here.
It is not normal for the poop to be very hard or even the consistency of adult poop. This type of poop may indicate constipation. Conversely, very watery poop might be a sign of diarrhea.
The smell of breastfed baby poop is very mild. Some parents and caregivers do not notice an odor at all or say that the poop smells like milk or cheese. If a baby has formula along with breast milk, the scent may be stronger.
When a baby transitions to solids, the smell of poop may become stronger and more unpleasant.
During the first 6 weeks of a baby’s life, frequent bowel movements show that they are getting enough food. Most babies poop two to five times per day, or even after every feeding.
A baby who poops significantly less than this or does not poop most days may not be getting enough breast milk. It may be necessary to try breastfeeding more frequently or to consult with a lactation counselor to assess milk supply.
After 6 weeks, babies’ pooping habits vary more. Some babies poop daily, often right after feeding. Others only poop a couple of times a week.
Parents and caregivers may wish to pay attention to the baby’s normal pooping schedule. A sudden, unexplained change may warn of a problem such as constipation, though this is rare in exclusively breastfed babies.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend introducing solid foods once a baby shows all signs of readiness for solids and is about 6 months old. Breastfeeding should continue after the introduction of solids.
When a baby begins eating solids, their poop may change. Many parents and caregivers find that the poop resembles the food that the baby recently ate. Some unusual but harmless colors that they might see are:
- orange, when a baby eats foods that are rich in beta carotene, such as carrots
- green, when a baby eats large quantities of vegetables or other green foods
- blue, when a baby eats foods with blue food coloring or naturally blue foods, such as blueberries
A baby’s poop can also contain streaks of different colors.
The following chart shows what different baby poop colors can mean. This chart applies in particular to babies eating solids alongside breastfeeding.
It is normal for a baby’s poop to change from day to day. These small variations do not usually mean that there is a problem.
However, it is advisable to call a doctor if:
- the baby’s poop is black, and the baby is too old for meconium
- the baby’s poop is very pale, which may signal a problem with the pancreas or liver
- a baby stops pooping according to their regular schedule and appears to be constipated or in pain
- the baby has diarrhea for longer than a day, especially if they are not feeding well
- a baby’s poop is consistently very hard, even with frequent breast milk or formula
Parents and caregivers should call the baby’s doctor right away if the baby poops blood or has bright red streaks in their poop.
Breastfed baby poop changes with time. Sometimes, the changes appear to be random. What the breastfeeding person eats may also affect the baby’s poop. For example, a small shift in their diet might trigger a sudden swing in the texture or color of the baby’s poop.
People should not panic if a baby’s poop changes, as babies produce a much wider variety of poops than adults. Even very strange-looking poop can be healthy.
However, a change in the baby’s usual pattern may sometimes mean that something is wrong. In this case, it is best to take pictures of the poop and consult a doctor to get the most useful advice.